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authorilinca
10-21-2010, 04:01 AM
I'm curious.
A couple weeks ago, I came across a pretty popular author's blog. I was excited to read that she was agented by a HUGE agent that many an author have, are and will be submitting to. A couple days later, I read on an older post of hers that she got the agent because her friend, a world-renown author, personally handed the manuscript to the agent.
From then on, I saw that much-loved book through changed eyes.
I'm curious how often a big agent picks up a new author. This hasn't deterred me from submitting to the agents I initially planned on, but I will admit that I feel like my chances have dropped. I'm not pitying myself or anything. I'm just going to work harder, but I'd still like to know.

Here's another thing:
I got my first novel accepted by Champagne Books, which, shoot, I'm happy for that. But say I want to try to get my second novel agented; do my chances to get noticed change? One editor said no. But that was just one. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks everyone!

-Diana

Toothpaste
10-21-2010, 07:16 AM
Happens all the time. Happened to me, happened to many of my friends. Also don't forget that just because the agent got her hands on the MS via a client, doesn't mean the agent will automatically represent the work. The agent still has to think the work will sell. So no matter how it got to the agent, this is still a case of a new author landing a top agent.

But anyway, yes, new authors get big agents all the time. I know many many such authors personally. And am one myself.

suki
10-21-2010, 07:43 AM
Agents who are accepting queries sign new clients all the time - not necessarily at the rate of newer agents actively building their lists, but it happens. But there are those agents who are not accepting queries - and for them, you would need a referral. But if the big agent you saw is accepting queries, that means he/she is still looking at possible new clients.

As for the second part, I don't think I understand your questions. I think you're asking if you might have a better chance of getting an agent with your second book, if your first is published by Champagne Books. I have to admit, I've never heard of that publisher. But I think that the first published book will only help you get an agent if the publisher is seen as legitimate or you have monster sales.

So, if the publisher is very small or lesser known, it will only help if you have huge first book sales.

~suki

Stacia Kane
10-21-2010, 08:51 AM
What Toothpaste said. My agent is pretty big (though I wouldn't call myself "successful," as you say in the title of this thread), and he signed me from a query. It happens all the time.

And while I've referred him to a couple of people who ended up signed with him, I've also referred him to a few people he didn't end up offering to. It's not about connections, not unless you're the kind of author who can literally say, "Represent my friend's book too or I walk," and have that be a genuine threat. It's not about credits; I had several small-press credits when my agent signed me, but those didn't matter to him one bit.

It's just about the story and the writing. If you have those, you will probably get an agent fairly easily. If you don't, you won't. So that's really the main thing to focus on. :)

authorilinca
10-21-2010, 03:28 PM
Thanks for your reply, everyone :) I know that a writer is only accepted according to their manuscript but I think I was just disapointed in that one writer in particular for having it so easy lol the cold and jealous part of me, I s'pose. We all get that sometimes, right? *blushing!*
Suki, I was asking that part because I had a lot of people saying that being published by a real publisher will make things a little easier on my part when submitting my next book to agents. Champagne Books is a small agency in Canada who does mainly ebooks. Around since 2005 but not quite famous or anything.

Stacia, I should change the name to "successfully accepted authors" lol thanks for replying and congrats on a good agent!

Toothpaste, thanks :) slapping myself in the face for this one, ha!

Irysangel
10-21-2010, 06:27 PM
I got my second agent because a friend personally connected us and the agent read my work and offered representation. My first and third(current) agents I got on my own. So connections work, but all they do is get you read a little faster.

I've referred crit-partners to my current agent as well, if I loved their writing and felt it was something she would like. She offered to represent one, but others have been turned away with only a partial read.

A referral can open the door for you, but that doesn't mean that it will seal the deal. And it doesn't mean that you can't open the door on your own. :)

authorilinca
10-21-2010, 09:20 PM
Thank Irysangel ^_^ I just have to keep reminding myself lol it's harder when you're trudging through query hell, though! But, no matter! I'm more confident in this book than I've ever been, so, I shall survive lol Thank you!

Jamesaritchie
10-22-2010, 07:45 PM
I'm curious.
A couple weeks ago, I came across a pretty popular author's blog. I was excited to read that she was agented by a HUGE agent that many an author have, are and will be submitting to. A couple days later, I read on an older post of hers that she got the agent because her friend, a world-renown author, personally handed the manuscript to the agent.
From then on, I saw that much-loved book through changed eyes.
I'm curious how often a big agent picks up a new author. This hasn't deterred me from submitting to the agents I initially planned on, but I will admit that I feel like my chances have dropped. I'm not pitying myself or anything. I'm just going to work harder, but I'd still like to know.

Here's another thing:
I got my first novel accepted by Champagne Books, which, shoot, I'm happy for that. But say I want to try to get my second novel agented; do my chances to get noticed change? One editor said no. But that was just one. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks everyone!

-Diana

She got the agent purely and simply because she had a manuscript that agent thought she could sell to a large publisher.

And remember that the writer would not have passed the manuscript along without believing fully that it was good enough for the agent to represent.

Regardless of how a manuscript reaches an agent, the agent always takes on the ones she believes she can sell, and always rejects the ones she believes will not sell.

suki
10-22-2010, 08:10 PM
Suki, I was asking that part because I had a lot of people saying that being published by a real publisher will make things a little easier on my part when submitting my next book to agents. Champagne Books is a small agency in Canada who does mainly ebooks. Around since 2005 but not quite famous or anything.


While it's true that prior, impressive publishing credits can get your query read more carefully maybe, that's really all it can do. The agent will still decide based on the strength of the manuscript at issue.

However, a small e-book publication is unlikely to get you any more careful reads unless it is a major, extraordinary sales hit. Then, mention it and the sales numbers. But if it doesn't sell more than expected for an ebook from a small e-press, it's unlikely to make a difference.

~suki

Gokstad
11-30-2010, 10:56 AM
Here's another thing:
I got my first novel accepted by Champagne Books, which, shoot, I'm happy for that. But say I want to try to get my second novel agented; do my chances to get noticed change? One editor said no. But that was just one. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks everyone!


Some agents will only look at queries from published authors, so having your first novel published allows you to put 'Published Author' in the subject line of your query, which may get you through some doors that you wouldn't otherwise get through.

Wayne K
11-30-2010, 12:37 PM
I got two books repped by two different agents in the past year by working the query, proposal, and sample chapters with beta readers and SYW.

I didn't have a clue when I got here.

If its gonna happen for ya, AW is your best bet

ChaosTitan
11-30-2010, 06:43 PM
Some agents will only look at queries from published authors, so having your first novel published allows you to put 'Published Author' in the subject line of your query, which may get you through some doors that you wouldn't otherwise get through.

While that can be true in some cases, not all "Published Author" credits are created equals. An author who was picked out of the slush at Tor and landed a two-book deal is going to carry more weight than an author who's picked up by XYZ E-Publisher who doesn't even offer an advance.

CheyElizabeth
11-30-2010, 06:57 PM
I also know of a mega-famous author (might be the one you're thinking of) who had every single agent say no to their MS until another super mega famous author friend handed over the MS to their agent.

The book isn't that good and I will always feel a degree of jealously for this author's tremendous luck. But I am happy for them regardless.

profen4
11-30-2010, 07:24 PM
I also know of a mega-famous author (might be the one you're thinking of) who had every single agent say no to their MS until another super mega famous author friend handed over the MS to their agent.

The book isn't that good and I will always feel a degree of jealously for this author's tremendous luck. But I am happy for them regardless.

Nice. you're going to just leave me hanging here? At least tell me this, is the book about ferries?

Jamesaritchie
11-30-2010, 08:19 PM
I also know of a mega-famous author (might be the one you're thinking of) who had every single agent say no to their MS until another super mega famous author friend handed over the MS to their agent.

The book isn't that good and I will always feel a degree of jealously for this author's tremendous luck. But I am happy for them regardless.

Of course the book is that good. Or, at the very least, a big group of people thought it was. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's a bad book.

Forget the agent. Do you really believe for a second that a publisher is going to risk thousands of dollars, plus promotion money, plus their reputation, on a book they don't think is good enough to sell well?

The fact that an agent takes on a book means nothing. Editors reject books each and every day, even when those books come from major agents. Hundreds of them. The best agent out there can't sell an editor a book that the marketing department thinks won't sell. Editors and acquisition boards do not buy books because an agent sends it to them. They buy books solely because they think the book is good enough to sell in large numbers.

Luck simply had nothing to do with it. That book sold because an editor, maybe several editors, and an acquisition board that has some squint-eyed, bean counting, bottom line is everything people on it all believed the book was good enough to risk a lot of money on.

CheyElizabeth
11-30-2010, 08:49 PM
Jamesartichie, all of your points are valid and absolutely true. And of course, it is only my opinion that the book wasn't good because thousands of people did love it.

I just expected more from a book that was hyped up so much by its big publisher.. Which leads me to believe that publishers take on books that are not only good, but also books they know they can make popular and sell due to current trends, regardless of its literary "goodness."

In the same way that MTV can't possibly think Jersey Shore is a quality show, but they air it anyway.

rainsmom
11-30-2010, 10:48 PM
Which leads me to believe that publishers take on books that are not only good, but also books they know they can make popular and sell due to current trends, regardless of its literary "goodness."

Publishers take on books that will make them money???? REALLY??? Okay, I'm sorry that was snarky, but they are NOT in business to benefit the literary world. They're in business to make money. Period. Amen.

That is not a bad thing. Those products -- while they may not live up to your standard -- clearly make a lot of other people happy. What's wrong with that? Different people have different tastes and interests and reasons for reading. It's called diversity.

aekap
11-30-2010, 11:59 PM
Also, having a "HUGE" agent may not be the best bet for everyone. I have a friend who is pretty successful, but her stuff is not in the best-seller category by a long shot. Over the years, she's gone through three agents and the second one was a "huge" one. She ended up leaving her because she was so slow to respond, and took forever to negotiate contracts because she was much too busy with her "A list" clients. So she switched to a smaller agency and it's been a much better fit for her.

Oh, and I'm guessing that the book you are talking about probably made the publisher enough money to subsidize several smaller, less profitable projects. Don't hate the blockbusters; they keep the wheels turning for the little guys.

Axler
12-01-2010, 12:15 AM
Just out of curiiosity...what in your minds constitutes a "HUGE" agent?

Gokstad
12-01-2010, 12:58 AM
While that can be true in some cases, not all "Published Author" credits are created equals. An author who was picked out of the slush at Tor and landed a two-book deal is going to carry more weight than an author who's picked up by XYZ E-Publisher who doesn't even offer an advance.

Absolutely true. But if we're talking about the magical element that causes your query to NOT be deleted without ever being read, then having 'Published Author' in the query line may help.

Clearly, once the assistant reads far enough to find out that your publication is in the Upper Michigan Journal of Quilting and Canning, you may be in trouble. Or maybe not. If your query is sufficiently 'grabby,' you may be asked for a partial, or even a full -- and it was the magic words that got the query read (instead of auto-deleted) in the first place.

ChaosTitan
12-01-2010, 06:40 PM
Absolutely true. But if we're talking about the magical element that causes your query to NOT be deleted without ever being read, then having 'Published Author' in the query line may help.

Clearly, once the assistant reads far enough to find out that your publication is in the Upper Michigan Journal of Quilting and Canning, you may be in trouble. Or maybe not. If your query is sufficiently 'grabby,' you may be asked for a partial, or even a full -- and it was the magic words that got the query read (instead of auto-deleted) in the first place.

I'm not trying to derail the thread, but I'm curious what you mean by "the query line."

rmgil04
12-01-2010, 08:00 PM
Happens all the time. Happened to me, happened to many of my friends. Also don't forget that just because the agent got her hands on the MS via a client, doesn't mean the agent will automatically represent the work.

And it certainly doesn't mean people will buy/read the book.

Truth and Fiction
12-02-2010, 01:13 AM
Why should it change your opinion of this author's book? This is a very normal and natural thing to happen (though I understand why the rest of us would despair a little, especially if we don't have similar connections). What's the agent supposed to do, say, "While I think this manuscript is fabulous and I could sell it, repping you wouldn't be fair since I have a personal connection to you"?

I understand your initial surprise or even disappointment at learning this, but it happens all the time. And it also doesn't really have anything to do with you, even though you feel like your chances just decreased. Rack it up to one more thing you shouldn't be worrying yourself about and keep working. Good luck.

Gokstad
04-04-2011, 01:24 AM
I'm not trying to derail the thread, but I'm curious what you mean by "the query line."
Sorry for the slow reply. Alligators got loose. For the words 'query line' in the post, read 'subject line.' I was trying to refer to the subject line of an e-mail and suffered a brain hiccup and it came out 'query line.' Didn't mean to be confusing

Cyia
04-04-2011, 01:48 AM
I'm not sure if the people talking about her realize this, but if it's the author I'm thinking about, she's a member here.

Yes, her friend liked her book, and yes said friend passed that book along, BUT, the mega-popular, about-to-be-a-movie-with-Miley-Cyrus novel ISN'T the one that landed her representation.

The book the sparkly-bloodsucker-writing best buddy liked so well was an adult novel, not YA, and it never sold. The YA novel was written at her agent's urging.

And, even with a mega-author's backing, it still took nearly a FULL YEAR for said agent to get to that MS, which was put into the slush-to-be-read along with the others. Said agent now has an assistant, which has cut her response time to about a month. (Except for her latest debut author, who landed representation in 24 hours, got a major deal, and has already sold movie rights -- no famous author friend needed, just an awesome book.)

Procrastinista
04-04-2011, 09:22 AM
Lots of intriguing little mentions in this thread...

In my agent search, I had about fifteen partial or full-ms requests via pitches, references from author-friends, and cold queries. Of those fifteen requests, three agents have seriously considered my work. In fact, two have asked me to revise and resend (the other declined). What's interesting is that all three agents had responded to cold-call queries. The four agents whose clients had referred me all declined in a flash. This suggests that recommendations only do what others have said: they allow your work to be read.

I expected the rejections from agents contacted by way of referral would be more detailed, but not all were. Some cold-call rejections had more content.

I really do believe that finding an agent has little to do with connections. It almost all comes down to writing a great novel, crafting a great query letter, and being diligent about querying a good number of agents.

But there is one form of connection that does work. If an agent struggles with the decision of taking you on as a client but passes, they will likely ask to see your next work. Now that's a real connection. If you build up a number of those contacts, it's only a matter of time until you land an agent, and probably one who will really understand and appreciate your style of writing.

IceCreamEmpress
04-04-2011, 02:03 PM
For every new author whose opportunities came in part from friends or family helping out, there are dozens or hundreds of new authors taken on by every agency--from the smallest to the biggest--and every publisher--from the smallest to the biggest--every single year on the basis of their query and their manuscript.

You already know whether or not you have an influential friend or family member to pass on your manuscript to their tippy-top agent; if you don't, you can't manufacture one. And there's no point worrying about it, so focus on what you can control--making your manuscript and query the best they can be.