PDA

View Full Version : Two finished MS, now what?



Flur
06-14-2011, 07:33 PM
I have two completed picture book manuscripts.

The first one may be a slightly harder sell because it's more conventional--but it's aimed at a large target audience.

The second ms, although it's a more regional story, could potentially have broad appeal. I'm thinking it might also be an easier sell because the idea is more original.

I've only queried one agent on the first ms. I'm not sure where to go from here.

Do I send multiple queries to my dream agent(s)? Do I consider putting ms#1 on hold, looking at local agents and publishers in hopes of ms#2 being published and then return to ms1 at a later time?

Any advice, suggestions, recommendations are appreciated.

Jamiekswriter
06-14-2011, 07:35 PM
Query everybody for both projects. However, I'd wait about a month in between querying the same agent for project 1 and 2.

Cyia
06-14-2011, 07:43 PM
You query ONE project at a time. Start with whichever one you feel is strongest, but understand that most agents don't rep PB's. They aren't profitable enough in most cases.

PinkAmy
06-14-2011, 07:52 PM
You query ONE project at a time. Start with whichever one you feel is strongest, but understand that most agents don't rep PB's. They aren't profitable enough in most cases.

This.

Flur
06-14-2011, 08:36 PM
You query ONE project at a time. Start with whichever one you feel is strongest, but understand that most agents don't rep PB's. They aren't profitable enough in most cases.


Well, I've done my research and will only be querying agents who state that they represent PBs and specialize in children's writing. :)

Ok, so one manuscript at a time?

Would it not be better to go with the more local MS (local agent and likely a smaller publisher as well) in hopes of getting a credit to my name and then a year or so from now approaching a larger agency?

suki
06-14-2011, 08:45 PM
Well, I've done my research and will only be querying agents who state that they represent PBs and specialize in children's writing. :)

Ok, so one manuscript at a time?

Would it not be better to go with the more local MS (local agent and likely a smaller publisher as well) in hopes of getting a credit to my name and then a year or so from now approaching a larger agency?

Why wait? Query both projects, to different agents. then if you get a request an offer of representation on one, you can notify all the agents reading either manuscript.

Having said that, it's best to query your stronger, more commerical work first, if there are agents who might be interested in both.

And yes, at least a month between queries if you are going to query any single agent for both projects. (ie, query one project, and if it is rejected, then try the agent on the otehr - but wait a month or more to query the second after a pass).

~suki

Flur
06-14-2011, 08:48 PM
Why wait? Query both projects, to different agents. then if you get a request on one, you can notify all the agents reading either manuscript.

Having said that, it's best to query your stronger, more commerical work first, if there are agents who might be interested in both.

And yes, at least a month between queries if you are going to query any single agent for both projects. (ie, query one project, and if it is rejected, then try the agent on the otehr - but wait a month or more to query the second after a pass).

~suki

This is very helpful. Thanks :)

Cyia
06-14-2011, 08:49 PM
Would it not be better to go with the more local MS (local agent and likely a smaller publisher as well) in hopes of getting a credit to my name and then a year or so from now approaching a larger agency?


Well, sure, if you've got a local agent. Go for it! Though, I'm not sure switching agencies for something "bigger" is the best rep to get yourself. Many agents are in it for career, not book by book.

Flur
06-14-2011, 08:57 PM
Well, sure, if you've got a local agent. Go for it! Though, I'm not sure switching agencies for something "bigger" is the best rep to get yourself. Many agents are in it for career, not book by book.


Thanks for the input. I wondered if that was acceptable or bad business or just the way the industry worked.

Flur
06-14-2011, 09:00 PM
I apologize if these are dumb questions. I'm very new and want to make sure I'm approaching things the right way.

Cyia
06-14-2011, 09:10 PM
They aren't dumb questions. They're just things you need to ask an agent before you sign.

You don't have to mention that you're wanting to move to a larger agency, but asking if a given contract is for a specific book or for your career (until dissolved by one side or the other) is perfectly acceptable. Not all agents or agencies have the same policy.

Chris P
06-14-2011, 09:16 PM
Many agents are in it for career, not book by book.

For real? I guess the specific question never came up, so I had assumed a writer might have as many agents for however many books they have. I did figure it would be professional to give your current agent first crack at a new MS before querying elsewhere, though. Thanks for that tidbit of info.

Flur
06-14-2011, 09:23 PM
That makes sense. I hope I don't sound too presumptuous as though I expect agents will be jumping to accept my manuscripts. I would love for that to be the case but I know the reality and expect rejections.

For a book with a more regional audience, is it even necessary to have an agent rep it? I know most publishers won't even consider submissions that aren't from an agent, but is this also the case when it's a localized subject and small publisher?

I suppose I'll have to research that more and see what each individual local publisher's guidelines are.

Chris P
06-14-2011, 09:35 PM
For a book with a more regional audience, is it even necessary to have an agent rep it? I know most publishers won't even consider submissions that aren't from an agent, but is this also the case when it's a localized subject and small publisher?

I suppose I'll have to research that more and see what each individual local publisher's guidelines are.

Smaller, regional presses are usually more open to unagented submissions, but be sure to read their guidelines. There is also the option to self-publish, although this will require you to do all the marketing, etc. yourself. I'm not an expert (and some AWers are), but it seems that self-publishing works well for regional or specialty titles where the author has the contacts he/she needs at hand. There are whole forums here devoted to self-publishing and the folks there will be thrilled to help you decide if this is a good option for you.

Flur
06-14-2011, 09:57 PM
You query ONE project at a time. Start with whichever one you feel is strongest, but understand that most agents don't rep PB's. They aren't profitable enough in most cases.

Even if an agency states that they accept multiple submissions, is it still best to wait a month or so between queries?

Cyia
06-14-2011, 10:09 PM
Multiple submissions means that you can sub to more than one agent, not more than one MS.

Flur
06-14-2011, 10:16 PM
Multiple submissions means that you can sub to more than one agent, not more than one MS.

Mm.. I was under the impression that multiple submissions meant you can submit more than one query whereas simultaneous submissions meant you were querying to other agents.

suki
06-14-2011, 10:22 PM
This is very helpful. Thanks :)

Check out my revised post. Don't want to steer you wrong, so I clarified one key point.

~suki

suki
06-14-2011, 10:25 PM
Mm.. I was under the impression that multiple submissions meant you can submit more than one query whereas simultaneous submissions meant you were querying to other agents.

Nope, you never query more than one project to the same agent at the same time. Even ifthe guidelines allowed it, it would look amatuerish and like you aren't serious, because you are supposed to query your strongest project and to specific agents.

Few to no agents want you to query multiple projects to them at the same time.

~suki

Flur
06-14-2011, 10:32 PM
Nope, you never query more than one project to the same agent at the same time. Even ifthe guidelines allowed it, it would look amatuerish and like you aren't serious, because you are supposed to query your strongest project and to specific agents.

Few to no agents want you to query multiple projects to them at the same time.

~suki

I checked your revised post, thanks for the clarification.

Ok, that's very handy to know. I've seen a small handful of agencies listed in the 2011 edition of Guide to Literary Agents who specified that they would accept multiple submissions. Unless I call to clarify, I'll assume they meant simultaneous.

Now I need to decide which of the two manuscripts I really feel is stronger all-around. :D

Jamiekswriter
06-15-2011, 12:29 AM
Just want to drop a note to clarify what I meant. I'd query both projects at the same time, but query different agents for each. For example get two lists of 10 agents that accept picture books. Query list A with book A. Query list B with book B. Once an agent on list A rejects, then send them book B and vice versa. Only I would wait a month after the rejection before sending in the other book.

I agree with Suki, in when you send an agent more than one project at a time, it looks like you're a bit desperate, throwing stuff at a wall to see what will stick.

However, maybe with picture books it's different because they generally have small word counts. I think I read that when you query a picture book, you put the whole book in the query letter . . . . ?? This isn't my area though, so please don't take my word as fact on that.

I clicked around the innerwebs to see if I could get a feel for multiple submission policy. Here's one author that said it's OK if the agent wants it:

http://childrenspicturebookreview.blogspot.com/2009/06/simultaneous-submissions-part-2.html

Although make sure you're talking about the same thing with multiple and simultaneous submissions. I found our own CaoPaux specifying:

"Data point: The same ms to different agents/pubs is a simultaneous submission. A multiple submission is different mss. to the same agent/pub."

in this thread: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=145302

I think as long as you follow the agent's guidelines on their site you should be fine. (Don't call them for clarification, though.) Most agents are all open to simultaneous submissions. If the picture books agents are OK with multiple submissions per their guidelines -- send 'em both.

Good luck!

suki
06-15-2011, 01:33 AM
Ok, that's very handy to know. I've seen a small handful of agencies listed in the 2011 edition of Guide to Literary Agents who specified that they would accept multiple submissions. Unless I call to clarify, I'll assume they meant simultaneous.

Now I need to decide which of the two manuscripts I really feel is stronger all-around. :D

Do NOT call to clarify. Never call to clarify submission guidelines. Make your best effort at complying, but do not call or email to clairfy the submission guidelines.

And the only time I'd query more than one project to the same agency at a time was if the agency specifically stated that for PBs you could include up to a certain number in one query. Otherwise, just query one at a time.




However, maybe with picture books it's different because they generally have small word counts. I think I read that when you query a picture book, you put the whole book in the query letter . . . . ??

You still follow the agent's/agency's guidelines and a few will say you can include up to x number of PBs in one query. Then that is fine. But otherwise, one PB per query.

And when an agent/agency accepts pages pasted into a query, then usuall it's going to be the entire picture book, yes. But, again, follow the agent's/agency's guidelines on whether pages are included with the query.

~suki

Flur
06-15-2011, 02:23 AM
You are all awesome. Thanks for the words of wisdom.

Regarding picture book ms and agents. It still varies from one agency to another. I've seen submission guidelines request the full ms along with the query while others want only the query letter initially.


Just want to drop a note to clarify what I meant. I'd query both projects at the same time, but query different agents for each. For example get two lists of 10 agents that accept picture books. Query list A with book A. Query list B with book B. Once an agent on list A rejects, then send them book B and vice versa. Only I would wait a month after the rejection before sending in the other book.

Excellent idea. Thanks so much for the suggestion. I think this is what I'll wind up doing.

Kasey Mackenzie
06-15-2011, 04:31 AM
For real? I guess the specific question never came up, so I had assumed a writer might have as many agents for however many books they have. I did figure it would be professional to give your current agent first crack at a new MS before querying elsewhere, though. Thanks for that tidbit of info.

I just wanted to chime in that agents DEFINITELY want to rep their clients for their careers, meaning all books they write, rather than just one book. In some instances, an author might write something the agent declines to represent, at which point one of three things typically happens: 1. the author gives up on that project and writes something else the agent will rep, 2. the agent agrees that the author can get another agent to rep that project (usually this only happens if the agent doesn't rep that specific genre and is fairly rare from what I understand) or 3. the author and agent part ways (but this usually only happens if the two had decided they weren't quite meshing anyway, or the author is steering his or her career in a new direction). I suppose that even more rarely the agent might agree to submit the project anyway, but I would be super leery of letting my agent submit something she wasn't excited to be submitting.

Lucy
06-15-2011, 10:07 AM
I'm not sure why you're concerned about being "regional" or not. An agent probably isn't going to be in your neighborhood (unless you live in NYC, with few exceptions). Really, it has absolutely no bearing on whether or not your book will be acquired by a publisher.

In any case, one at a time is the norm. So write a query letter for whichever project you feel is more polished, and query widely.

kellion92
06-15-2011, 03:56 PM
I'm not aware of regional agents, but there are regional presses, most of which would not require an agent for PB submissions. Since the market for that book is limited, why not sub that one directly to appropriate presses, and query the other book to agents?

Flur
06-15-2011, 08:48 PM
I'm not aware of regional agents, but there are regional presses, most of which would not require an agent for PB submissions. Since the market for that book is limited, why not sub that one directly to appropriate presses, and query the other book to agents?


The book is definitely local interest, but with a very universal theme. And that's where I'm struggling in deciding whether to go to local publishers or to query agents. I don't want to assume it would have a smaller audience because the backdrop is regionally-based.

If I sent it out to agents, would they tell me if they thought I might do better to send it to local publishers? I'm just unsure where the line is between regional setting making it local and universal theme allowing for a larger audience. Any advice?

I know I need to just make up my mind and start the process, but arrrrggghhhh.

kellion92
06-15-2011, 10:29 PM
Without reading the book, Flur, I couldn't tell you. Every book happens somewhere, but if the locale is very specific, then it might be best sold through a regional small press that sells primarily to local schools, libraries, and museum shops.

Might as well query it to agents first, and if you don't get one, try regional press.