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MaryQ
07-06-2010, 11:46 PM
I've published three contemporary romance books with a small press on the west coast. (I live in Michigan). I think the time has come for me to find an agent to represent me and my career.

Years ago, I was represented by Sedgeband Literary Agency and was taken for a nasty/costly ride. I found the publisher myself through submissions. I'm at a point where I'm looking to grow, perhaps to a larger press and reach out to the east coast.

The catch... the three published books are a series. The forth in the series is almost done. I am also working on a new series and several single titles. I am no longer under contract with the publisher.

How do I approach an agent since I'm not a "newbie" in the market? Or should I try to market myself/my books without an agent?

suki
07-06-2010, 11:55 PM
I've published three contemporary romance books with a small press on the west coast. (I live in Michigan). I think the time has come for me to find an agent to represent me and my career.

Years ago, I was represented by Sedgeband Literary Agency and was taken for a nasty/costly ride. I found the publisher myself through submissions. I'm at a point where I'm looking to grow, perhaps to a larger press and reach out to the east coast.

The catch... the three published books are a series. The forth in the series is almost done. I am also working on a new series and several single titles. I am no longer under contract with the publisher.

How do I approach an agent since I'm not a "newbie" in the market? Or should I try to market myself/my books without an agent?


If you want an agent, simply query agents - but lead with the fact that you've already published and name the books/publisher in your query so that the agents can see you are legit.

The reality is that if the publishing credits are from a respected and legitimate publisher, they should gte your query and pages read, or read more carefully.

But you still have to query.

I'd probably query with something new, but mention that the fourth book in the series is ready but not yet under contract.

good luck.

~suki

Ryan_Sullivan
07-06-2010, 11:57 PM
I've published three contemporary romance books with a small press on the west coast. (I live in Michigan). I think the time has come for me to find an agent to represent me and my career.

Years ago, I was represented by Sedgeband Literary Agency and was taken for a nasty/costly ride. I found the publisher myself through submissions. I'm at a point where I'm looking to grow, perhaps to a larger press and reach out to the east coast.

The catch... the three published books are a series. The forth in the series is almost done. I am also working on a new series and several single titles. I am no longer under contract with the publisher.

How do I approach an agent since I'm not a "newbie" in the market? Or should I try to market myself/my books without an agent?

No harm in trying for an agent. Unfortunately, small press publishing won't give you much of an advantage. You'll have to query, and mention it in your credentials.

Chris P
07-07-2010, 12:08 AM
Maybe I'm reading your post wrong (you might already know all this), but an agent represents the book and not you or your career. This will make a difference in your approach to the query. I've not heard anyone say this directly, but if you have multiple books on sub you might have multiple agents. Am I wrong on this? You approach an agent with your book and not you.

MaryQ
07-07-2010, 12:23 AM
"an agent represents the book and not you or your career" - true. I just feel like I'm missing something in the industry and would rather have an agent do alot of the business footwork and give me time to concentrate on writing/promoting... whatever it takes.

I've been playing with a query and will certainly mention my publisher and published books.

suki
07-07-2010, 12:26 AM
"an agent represents the book and not you or your career" - true. I just feel like I'm missing something in the industry and would rather have an agent do alot of the business footwork and give me time to concentrate on writing/promoting... whatever it takes.

I've been playing with a query and will certainly mention my publisher and published books.

And while an agent represents the book, my goal is for a long term relationship with my agent to help me foster a more effective career as a writer - and it sounds like that is what you meant. So, I get what you are saying.

And it's possible to have multiple agents, for multiple genres, for instance. But I'd suggest trying to find an agent who represents more of the areas you'd like to write in, if possible. But if the book you want to query is for a genre other than romance, andyou want to query an agent who doesn't rep romance, for example, there's no problem doing that. Might just mean down the road you end up with multiple agents or an agent that only reps some of what you write.

~suki

Ryan_Sullivan
07-07-2010, 12:32 AM
Right, like Suki said. Agents do represent the book, but their contracts (well, mine at least) is open-ended. They'll represent you until one of you decides to split. Some agents are looking for simple sale projects, but many do look for career writers who will work with them for the long term. It's a great relationship to have. I don't know what I'd do without one (well, I'd go crazy).

MaryQ
07-07-2010, 12:39 AM
Yes! You both "get me". My brain is a bit addled these days. My relationship with my very first agent was amazing. We'd discuss story plot as well as ideas for marketing. We were definitely looking long term. Unfortunately, he left the business. But a long term relationship is what I would love to have.

I'm beginning to feel excited about the search for an agent. I hope my prolific writing ability and my previous published works will help me.

Thanks!

Danthia
07-07-2010, 12:44 AM
You'd query agents by writing a great hook about book four, and tell them about your published books and history. There's nothing wrong with saying you're looking for an agent to take the next step of your career (though I'd probably say that at the end of the query, not the beginning).

However, from what I understand, getting an agent for the fourth book of a series not yet under contract is a difficult sell. If your current publisher is interested, it would likely make it easier and you could query agents like any other writer with a nibble. If your publisher isn't interested in the fourth, trying to get a new publisher to buy an existing series without the rights to the others is very hard to do. I doubt you'd get an agent to take that on unless you A) had the rights to the rest of the series reverted back to you so they could sell the set, or B) your sales were enough that a new publisher would be impressed.

But you lose nothing by trying, and if they love the book they love the book. Uncommon stuff happens all the time in publishing :) If book four doesn't attract an agent's attention, you can always write something stand alone and query that next.

MaryQ
07-07-2010, 01:30 AM
According to my contract... that is now expired as of May... I believe the rights of the published books are reverted back to me.

The publisher is actually willing to do the 4th book... but I'm not willing to give it to them. I haven't received any royalty payments since 2008 for my books despite the proof I have of sales. (That's another issue all together.)

eqb
07-07-2010, 01:35 AM
...an agent represents the book and not you or your career.

Wrong. A good agent represents the author. A good agent cares about their client's career. Why? Simple. It's their income stream, too.

suki
07-07-2010, 01:36 AM
According to my contract... that is now expired as of May... I believe the rights of the published books are reverted back to me.

The publisher is actually willing to do the 4th book... but I'm not willing to give it to them. I haven't received any royalty payments since 2008 for my books despite the proof I have of sales. (That's another issue all together.)

If this is a small/micro press, without fantastic sales, then I'd suggest querying with a new project, without the baggage of the series, and merely use the published books as credits.

Then you can tell the agent the fourth book is ready, too.

But I think you'd have better luck with something new.

~suki

Cathy C
07-07-2010, 01:49 AM
I'll have to agree with suki on this one about letting the series go and moving on. After reading the thread on B&BC about Vanilla Heart Publishing (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=85674), I don't think that an agent will consider the books published for the purpose of using them as sell points to another publisher. On the plus side, that means they might be willing to accept the books as unpublished and try to sell them to a larger house. It all depends on the book. Once your contract term is up with VHP and you've officially ended the contract according to its terms (many of the small/subsidy houses require direct action on the part of the author to end the contract. It never actually "expires" without a certified letter from the author.)

But you'll have to go backwards a bit, if that's your choice. You'll need to submit the manuscripts AS manuscripts---not by sending the bound book. That would get you a quick negative reply. But if you indicate it was with a small house with little or no distribution and you have the rights reverted, you might have some luck getting at least a full ms. read.

I know, because it happened to me. We got the book repped and it sold to a large print house. :)

MaryQ
07-07-2010, 01:55 AM
The funny thing is that I would love to rework the books that were published. I grew as a writer and by the time the 3rd was written, I was stronger.

Should I prepare those manuscripts with the changes I want? I've already edited the 1st book with a red pen. LOL.

Also... I have the outlines for another series of 4 books. Should I mention that?

Should I finish one of the single titles I've been working on and use that?

I would love to see the series redone.

Ryan_Sullivan
07-07-2010, 03:35 AM
The funny thing is that I would love to rework the books that were published. I grew as a writer and by the time the 3rd was written, I was stronger.

Should I prepare those manuscripts with the changes I want? I've already edited the 1st book with a red pen. LOL.

Also... I have the outlines for another series of 4 books. Should I mention that?

Should I finish one of the single titles I've been working on and use that?

I would love to see the series redone.

I think your best bet here would be to start with something new and work on getting an agent. Once you have that agent, you can consider and discuss with them the possibility of going back into those other books. Generally, I think it wouldn't be a good idea to go back to those older projects at this point because in all likelihood, they'd only hurt you. But, once you had an agent and moved forward, you'd be in a better position to work with them, and your agent could be your advisor. I would suggest working on your non-related project and querying with that.

MaryQ
07-07-2010, 06:47 AM
I feel like all the characters in my head are jumping up and down, waving their hands, yelling, "Pick me! Pick me!"

Thanks everyone for the advice!

Terie
07-07-2010, 11:02 AM
Wrong. A good agent represents the author. A good agent cares about their client's career. Why? Simple. It's their income stream, too.

Yep. This.

It's true that some authors have multiple agents, but those are cases where the author is working in multiple genres. For example, a romance author repped by a romance agent might decide to start writing kids' books, too, and if the agent doesn't rep kids' books, the author would get a different agent to rep the new stuff. Or fiction/non-fiction. Or literary/screenplays. Or mainstream fiction/Christian self-help. That sort of thing.

Also, an agent might grab an author with a single book if they think that book will make it worth their while. In these cases (particularly in the miz-lit sub-genre), they know that there isn't going to be another book.

But...agents represent authors, not books.

Brenda Hill
11-08-2010, 12:09 AM
Mary, good luck with your queries. I'm doing the same thing with my latest mystery novel, and currently it's under consideration with another house. I requested my three prior contracts with VH be terminated, and they'll end 12/31/10. All rights revert back to me at that time.

Jamesaritchie
11-09-2010, 01:46 AM
It's rare to have multiple agents, and there's very seldom a need to do so. And while agents do represent books, it's representing careers that make agents rich. Agents and publishers both want writers who are there for the long haul, through many books, and, hopefully, many decades.