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jcdelatorre
11-12-2005, 02:45 AM
Well, after getting my book published through my own label (Luna Brillante Publishing via Lulu Press) to test the waters and see if the public liked my work I was bouyed by several great reviews of my novel, great response from readers, and suprisingly decent sales considering my shoe string marketing budget.

I decided it was time to see what this book could really do - so I was off to find an agent. I've been studying the process for awhile and I understood that finding an agent would be a very tall order but I hoped I could entice them with tales of my reviews and sales.

I received the standard rejections from a few, "Not for us", "Not the right fit" - the standard garbage.

But one caught me a bit by surpise...

This was from the Grayson Agency -

Sorry to bring you bad news, but I can do nothing with this.

The publishing industry cannot be influenced, tricked or schoozed into doing what you
want.

Ultimately, the book is not so well written that it could command the power of a big
house.

You should try to attend Clarion, the sf writer's intensive course. If you want to hire
an editor or writing coach, to make a better draft of this, I can send you some names.

-Grayson Agent

The rub of it is, he never received an ms. from me. It was just a query, I provided a brief synopsis (very brief), a listing of the most recent reviews, info on my sales and a little bit about what I was looking for. In all, a little over a page of information.

He never read my book (unless he bought it himself at some point).

But hey, whatever. I expected a few of these.

I found it interesting though.

Celia Cyanide
11-12-2005, 03:02 AM
The publishing industry cannot be influenced, tricked or schoozed into doing what you
want.

It IS interesting!

It reminds me of "The Prisoner," when Number 6 says, "I will not be pushed, stamped, filed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered."

If I received that, I would wonder why my synopsis made it seem that I thought I was going to do any of those things.

blacbird
11-12-2005, 03:38 AM
Preditors & Editors says this about the Ashley Grayson Agency:

Ashley Grayson Literary Agency: a literary agency. (Ashley Grayson: Literary, Adult, Children's) A writer reports they "can no longer guarantee to respond to unsolicited queries. Include a SASE only if you have no phone or email address at which you may be contacted if we should wish to see more of your material." P&E finds this disturbing.

Jamesaritchie
11-12-2005, 04:06 AM
Preditors & Editors says this about the Ashley Grayson Agency:

Ashley Grayson Literary Agency: a literary agency. (Ashley Grayson: Literary, Adult, Children's) A writer reports they "can no longer guarantee to respond to unsolicited queries. Include a SASE only if you have no phone or email address at which you may be contacted if we should wish to see more of your material." P&E finds this disturbing.

I wonder why this bothers P&E? A fairly large number of top agents only respond to unsolicited queries if they want to see more. If it does bother P&E that much, they'd better get ready to list some of the best agencies out there because more and more agents and editors, top ones, are going this route. I'm not sure what there is to complain about? A non-response just means "No thanks." you wait until teh suggested response time has passed, and then you move on.

Soem of the top magazines in the country also work this way, and have for ten years or more.

Celia Cyanide
11-12-2005, 04:12 AM
I think what bothered P&E was that they would tell people not to include a SASE, rather than the non-response. I wouldn't expect a response to every unsoliticed anything I sent out, but I don't see why they couldn't send a piece of paper if someone is willing to pay for postage.

jcdelatorre, did you get that that as an email?

Jamesaritchie
11-12-2005, 04:12 AM
Well, after getting my book published through my own label (Luna Brillante Publishing via Lulu Press) to test the waters and see if the public liked my work I was bouyed by several great reviews of my novel, great response from readers, and suprisingly decent sales considering my shoe string marketing budget.

I decided it was time to see what this book could really do - so I was off to find an agent. I've been studying the process for awhile and I understood that finding an agent would be a very tall order but I hoped I could entice them with tales of my reviews and sales.

I received the standard rejections from a few, "Not for us", "Not the right fit" - the standard garbage.

But one caught me a bit by surpise...

This was from the Grayson Agency -

Sorry to bring you bad news, but I can do nothing with this.

The publishing industry cannot be influenced, tricked or schoozed into doing what you
want.

Ultimately, the book is not so well written that it could command the power of a big
house.

You should try to attend Clarion, the sf writer's intensive course. If you want to hire
an editor or writing coach, to make a better draft of this, I can send you some names.

-Grayson Agent

The rub of it is, he never received an ms. from me. It was just a query, I provided a brief synopsis (very brief), a listing of the most recent reviews, info on my sales and a little bit about what I was looking for. In all, a little over a page of information.

He never read my book (unless he bought it himself at some point).

But hey, whatever. I expected a few of these.

I found it interesting though.

Maybe he did read it, and you told him you had already published it. This really and truly bothers some agents and editors. My guess would be that this is the cause, especially if the reviews weren't from top review sites. And sales numbers that aren't stellar will return an almost automatic rejection, though I'd bet this agent is ticked at you publishing the book and sending reviews. I'd bet that's where the tricked or schoozed came from.

It does sound like he read the book, or at least part of it. I would have, under similar circumstances.

Or maybe there was something in the synopsis that rubbed him the wrong way thourgh his own bias.

Cathy C
11-12-2005, 06:21 AM
I have to agree with James. I think the problem here is that you tried to slide by the system. An agent's ONLY job in the world is to sell a manuscript to a publisher. You published the manuscript. What then is the agent supposed to do? Sell it to ANOTHER publisher? Nope. It doesn't work that way. The book has a unique ISBN and is for sale to the general public. This is what a publisher does. Very seldom will you find a publisher who is willing to publish a book already available for sale (unless it's in another format, like electronic or braille.)

You didn't send a DIFFERENT manuscript, that the agent might be able to sell. You sent the one already unavailable.


Sorry to bring you the bad news, but I can do nothing with this.

So what were you asking from the agent (in the agent's mind?) "Read this, validate my worth as an author." The agent didn't want to play, I fear.

Sorry. But that's how I read the reply.

jcdelatorre
11-12-2005, 09:46 PM
Yes, I can see how that could be interpreted.

My query essentially consisted of letting them know that while the book was published by my label and is available for sale, I wanted to still be able to sell it to a major publisher. If a publisher bought the book, I would have production and sales stopped immediately on the "first edition" and provide NA rights to the new house.

Its been done before (Chris Paolini's Eragon) so I didn't see it as "slighting the system" or what have you. I felt that rather than send in a billion manuscripts hoping someone takes a look I should put it together, get it edited, get a pro cover done, than see how it does. Then, after I've somewhat proven myself as marketable, approach the big boys to take it to the next level.

I figured it would be an easier road (albeit a risky one) because the agent could look and see what I've done. There would be less risk.

At least that is the plan...whether it works out that way we'll see.

Thanks for the thoughts, I appreciate it!

Honey Nut Loop
11-13-2005, 06:38 PM
I think Christopher Paolini had quite high sales though. He did a lot of marketting work and a son of a publisher also took the book home and showed his dad.

Julie Worth
11-13-2005, 07:04 PM
Did you perhaps mention lulu in the query? That would be a mistake. Once you've done that, you can probably forget getting an agent for that book, unless you've sold several thousand copies.

The response I got from AG was:

Thanks for thinking of our agency, but we will pass.
It looks better than a lot of things we see, but we can't take on everything.

Here's a link to our conspiracy novel of the season. You might enjoy this: [Link to one of their represented books]

I might enjoy it!!!! I think not!

jcdelatorre
11-13-2005, 07:26 PM
Julie, no mention of Lulu, I used my imprint name of Luna Brillante Publishing. Of course, a little research here or there and he could easily find that out.

At this point I just wanted to get them to read it. If they read it and then say, "ya know, its not for us", I could live with that.

He's been the only really negative response I've received. The others were the typical "Sounds interesting, but we have too many clients" type b.s.

As I stated in my other post, Larsen-Posada actually wants to read the book....which is very cool. Its all I could ask for. So I think my query is somewhat effective.

I'm wondering if maybe Ashley had been wronged by a Lulu author at some point and decided to take it out on me.

Its not a big deal though, like I said, I expected some negative stuff. It was just interesting in knowing that unless he had indeed purchased my book at some point he decided to say it wasn't good enough for a major house. That very well could be true but at least read it before you say it.


I think Christopher Paolini had quite high sales though. He did a lot of marketting work and a son of a publisher also took the book home and showed his dad.

Honey, Paolini did fairly well but in relative terms it wasn't breathtaking. As you said, he did have some connections and honestly, that's what got him in the door. But in doing so, it opened doors for those who independently publish and achieve success in doing so. I've sold pretty well for having a shoe-string marketing budget. I've had great reviews with more coming. I've done interviews with genre related websites. So I think I'm starting to get my name out there. I haven't been sitting on behind expecting everything to come to me, like many independently published authors. I've been out there doing what I can and I think its translated well.

Thanks for all the responses guys, it's greatly appreciated!

Julie Worth
11-13-2005, 07:37 PM
The problem is that many people will realize you’ve self-published, and that may be why AG responded in the way he did, because he felt you weren’t being honest. Another problem is that he can’t offer first rights.

Your webpage is nice, by the way, but clicking on bookstore gives it away. Have you considered going thru booksurge to get your title on Amazon? ($99) That way it would look far more impressive.

jcdelatorre
11-13-2005, 07:49 PM
The problem is that many people will realize you’ve self-published, and that may be why AG responded in the way he did, because he felt you weren’t being honest. Another problem is that he can’t offer first rights.

Your webpage is nice, by the way, but clicking on bookstore gives it away. Have you considered going thru booksurge to get your title on Amazon? ($99) That way it would look far more impressive.



Julie, I researched it thoroughly. While Booksurge was nice, it only got me on Amazon. Through Lulu I was able to get on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Borders, pretty much every major bookseller in NA (as well as the amazons in the UK) for $30 more. I didn't want to limit myself.

Booksurge was definitely my #2 choice if I decided against going with Lulu. My Lulu experience has been great though, I have nothing but great things to say about them.

Besides, I know you're supposed to be ashamed for doing the self publishing thing but I'm not. It was a means to an end. And the good part? If I can't sell my book to an agent or a publisher, at least its still out there and I'm earning a modest royalty.

First NA is probably the biggest hurdle to overcome, without question.

Julie Worth
11-13-2005, 08:08 PM
Julie, I researched it thoroughly. While Booksurge was nice, it only got me on Amazon. Through Lulu I was able to get on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Borders, pretty much every major bookseller in NA (as well as the amazons in the UK) for $30 more. I didn't want to limit myself.

Booksurge was definitely my #2 choice if I decided against going with Lulu. My Lulu experience has been great though, I have nothing but great things to say about them.

Besides, I know you're supposed to be ashamed for doing the self publishing thing but I'm not. It was a means to an end. And the good part? If I can't sell my book to an agent or a publisher, at least its still out there and I'm earning a modest royalty.

First NA is probably the biggest hurdle to overcome, without question.

I think lulu is terrific—with the exception of their new software, which has been a disaster—but I would not want to see my book on Amazon with lulu listed as the publisher. That automatically says self-published, while you've gone through the trouble to create your own publishing company, to hide that very fact!

(BTW, how did you get Klausner to review it?)

victoriastrauss
11-13-2005, 08:53 PM
Honey, Paolini did fairly well but in relative terms it wasn't breathtaking. As you said, he did have some connections and honestly, that's what got him in the door. But in doing so, it opened doors for those who independently publish and achieve success in doing so.The kind of self-publishing success that will interest an agent or publisher is on the order of around 5,000 copies sold within the first year or so of release. Unless you can show those kinds of numbers, you're really better off querying with an unpublished manuscript.

It's my understanding that Paolini sold something like 10,000 copies on his own. In self-publishing terms (or more accurately, micro-publishing terms, since he didn't really self-publish), that is breathtaking. But it required an almost full-time promotional effort, involving a grueling travel schedule and the dedicated support (financial and otherwise) of his family.

- Victoria

Cathy C
11-13-2005, 09:19 PM
involving a grueling travel schedule and the dedicated support (financial and otherwise) of his family.



I'm acquainted with the owner of an indie book store in Houston, TX, where he did one of his first signing tours. They said that he was in the store for over six hours, approaching every single person who walked in the shop. He never sat down once. He'd sign the book standing up after he convinced them to buy it. At the time, he was sixteen and his parents drove him down to Texas. He hit ALL of the stores in the city, day after day, not just on weekends. Then he would move on to another state. That's a massive amount of dedication that most other authors can't manage.

Sassenach
11-13-2005, 10:23 PM
I'm acquainted with the owner of an indie book store in Houston, TX, where he did one of his first signing tours. They said that he was in the store for over six hours, approaching every single person who walked in the shop. He never sat down once. He'd sign the book standing up after he convinced them to buy it. At the time, he was sixteen and his parents drove him down to Texas. He hit ALL of the stores in the city, day after day, not just on weekends. Then he would move on to another state. That's a massive amount of dedication that most other authors can't manage.

If an unknown writer approached me in a bookstore, shilling his book, I'd run away. If I'm interested, I'll walk over to where the writer is signing.