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cappyskippy
03-03-2010, 02:27 AM
Once a novel is done and the agent is happy with revisions, what steps does an experienced agent usually take before sending a MS out on a wide submission? Anyone have any experience with an agent holding on to a finished novel until the market is better?

Jamesaritchie
03-03-2010, 08:03 PM
An agent who holds onto a novel is not an agent you want. There's no way on earth of knowing whether the market will get better, and no reason to ever refrain from submitting a novel to editors.

suki
03-03-2010, 08:22 PM
Once a novel is done and the agent is happy with revisions, what steps does an experienced agent usually take before sending a MS out on a wide submission? Anyone have any experience with an agent holding on to a finished novel until the market is better?

I think this is a tough question to answer without context.

I'll generally agree with part of Jamesaritchie's response, in that if the agent is refusing to shop anything until the "market improves," that would make me uncomfortable. I'd carefully consider all the circumstances and make an informed decision about whether to continue with the agent.

But, if the agent believes that a specific book will be unsellable because the current market is flooded and wants to shop something else first, then that might make sense. For example, the YA market for certain kinds of paranormal novels is just glutted right now. If I was an agent, and had a client with a YA paranormal romance with a love triangle between a clumsy, human teen girl and two boys - one a vampire and one a werewolf... well, I wouldn't want to shop that right now. I might be suggesting changes or I might be saying lets shop something else, get you a fan base, and then shop that.

So, it's a tough call, and one only you can make. But if the agent has good, specific reasons, it might be worth considering whether you agree or not. But I'm not sure I'd stick with an agent afraid to shop anything.

~suki

Hedgetrimmer
03-03-2010, 08:41 PM
If I was an agent, and had a client with a YA paranormal romance with a love triangle between a clumsy, human teen girl and two boys - one a vampire and one a werewolf... well, I wouldn't want to shop that right now. I might be suggesting changes or I might be saying lets shop something else, get you a fan base, and then shop that.
~suki

I've never read any of the Twilight books or seen the movies, but are you telling me there's both a werewolf and a vampire in them?

To the OP: I only recently signed with an agent, and I know different agents work different ways, but this has been my short-lived experience. I accepted the offer on Monday and spoke via phone with him on Tuesday. He asked me to send him an electronic copy of my manuscript (he only had a snail-mailed hard copy). I sent that on Wednesday. Later that day, he emailed me with a list of houses he was pitching the book to. Basically, he wrote a cover letter to see where the interest was. On Thursday, a few houses requested to take a look. He then submitted the book and pitched more houses. On Friday, he updated me with a list of where else the book had gone.

But both James and Suki are right. If he's simply waiting around to see how the market turns instead of getting out there trying to make something happen, I would certainly be concerned.

IceCreamEmpress
03-03-2010, 09:42 PM
I've never read any of the Twilight books or seen the movies, but are you telling me there's both a werewolf and a vampire in them?

There are lots of vampires and lots of werewolves (actually they're shape-shifters or something and not technically werewolves but wevs.)

Kasey Mackenzie
03-03-2010, 11:00 PM
An agent who holds onto a novel is not an agent you want. There's no way on earth of knowing whether the market will get better, and no reason to ever refrain from submitting a novel to editors.

While I agree with this in general, I do have to qualify that with sometimes agents hold onto a book because they know that it is a particularly slow time in publishing (i.e. summer, especially August), and they want to hit the editors at a time they know they will be eagerly seeking out new material. I signed with my agent at a particularly busy time for her, we went through a couple rounds of revisions, and by then it was late July. She told me she wanted to wait until September to start submitting it, and while I was super antsy since I'd signed with her in March, I trusted her judgment and instincts. And seeing as how she took that book to auction 5 weeks after she sent it out with 3 publishers bidding in multiple rounds, I'm so glad I did!

That said, this is all assuming you have an experienced agent with reputable sales, etc. And that the agent gives you a specific timeline for submitting. I would not personally be comfortable in a situation where the agent says they want to wait to submit until the "market gets better" because who's to say when that is, or that the agent will ever get back to that project?

kellion92
03-04-2010, 12:51 AM
Cappyskippy, I haven't seen many debuts selling on AW in the past six months, and there have been many submissions. I'm sure a lot of good stuff is getting rejected or tabled now that would have sold two years ago. So I don't know what the best strategy is... submitting now may not be. That said, I'm eager to get my book out on submission again after an unsuccessful round. It sure isn't going to sell sitting in a drawer.

IceCreamEmpress
03-04-2010, 12:52 AM
"Holding on" to a book for a month or two or three to respond to publishing-industry cycles makes good sense.

"Holding on" to a book for six months or more rarely makes sense (unless the idea is to publish in conjunction with some big event or anniversary that will throw a spotlight on the topic--a book about the sport of curling, for instance, would be best published in an Olympic year; a book about a famous person would be better published in the bicentenary year of their birth rather than the year before that, all things being equal).

cappyskippy
03-04-2010, 01:56 AM
These are great responses. Thanks for helping out.

colealpaugh
03-04-2010, 09:35 AM
An agent who holds onto a novel is not an agent you want. There's no way on earth of knowing whether the market will get better, and no reason to ever refrain from submitting a novel to editors.

My broker recommends stocks when they are low because he has a pretty good feel for when they'll go up. He has a decent sense of when on earth the market will be better.

I've read contradictory stories about just how tight money is at publishing houses, but I'm a pretty conservative person. Given a choice, I'd rather hold off on burning through the top publishers at this time. If half the stories are gloom and doom, then why would advice to hold off a few months be so horrible? It's not as if the agent is saying to stop writing.

Now, if a whole bunch of agents and writers put off submitting, then maybe right now would be a great opportunity...

But what do I know?:Shrug: