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View Full Version : Simultaneous submission BY an agent?



rchastain
12-10-2005, 08:11 PM
A very close friend of mine----and it really is my friend, I only wish I was being coy about myself----recently sent her first novel ms. to her agent (reputable, powerful, has represented her non-fiction in the past) who liked it, had a colleague also read it and just sent it to ten prospective publishers.

I had the impression that agents usually approach one editor at a time. Is multiple submission by agent customary now?

RC

Susan Gable
12-14-2005, 12:49 AM
A very close friend of mine----and it really is my friend, I only wish I was being coy about myself----recently sent her first novel ms. to her agent (reputable, powerful, has represented her non-fiction in the past) who liked it, had a colleague also read it and just sent it to ten prospective publishers.

I had the impression that agents usually approach one editor at a time. Is multiple submission by agent customary now?

RC

How do you think they get a bidding war if they don't send it to more than one house at a time? <G>

Time is money. Having more than one publisher interested in the same ms is ALSO money. More money for the author means more money for the agent. So I'd bet that it's S.O.P. to send a ms out to more than one house at a time.

Susan G.

triceretops
12-14-2005, 12:59 AM
Agents have been sending multiples for years--it's common practice rather than uncommon. What the difference is, is the amount of submissions each agency sends out. Some will send no more than three out at a time, while others find it convienent to send out 12. Agents are actually the only ones who are not thwacked on the hands for doing this--while this practice, if done by a writer, can confuse and derail things.

Tri

Cathy C
12-14-2005, 03:23 AM
Very true. Funny story about this -- our agent submitted our first book to multiple publishers. Tor was the first one to respond and we signed with them. Fast forward to three months ago. The book has now been on the shelf for nearly a year (and was sent to the publishers nearly TWO years ago.) One of the editors FINALLY read the book and called our agent to express interest. The agent didn't laugh. Instead, she simply said it was sold but would the editor like to see a NEW proposal? The editor said yes... ;) So, shopping pays, even if long after the fact.

triceretops
12-14-2005, 04:14 AM
One of the biggest advantages to agents is the fact that they can send out multiple submissions, which completely frees up the writer's time to get back to work on future projects. I don't mind that copying expenses, postage and such come out of my advance or royalty either.

Tri

dantem42
12-14-2005, 10:59 AM
One of the biggest advantages to agents is the fact that they can send out multiple submissions, which completely frees up the writer's time to get back to work on future projects. I don't mind that copying expenses, postage and such come out of my advance or royalty either.

Tri

There's probably no hard and fast rule as to what's best, may depend upon the individual agent. I have heard stories of some tenderfoot agents who fire off manuscripts to five or ten publishers in the hopes that something will stick to the wall. On the other hand, a high-powered agent doing this can have several publishers salivating over the book.

On the other hand, there's also nothing wrong with an agent who has very close ties to one or two major publishers (often places he or she has worked) and works those first before going farther afield. While it's probably optimal to have a big-name agent flogging your stuff to ten publishers, many of the biggest-name agents pay only lip service to working with an unpublished author anyway, so someone focusing on a preferred couple of publishers may be the best you can get.

Cathy C
12-14-2005, 07:15 PM
many of the biggest-name agents pay only lip service to working with an unpublished author anyway,


I don't know that I agree with this. I think if a big-name agent sees a manuscript in the slush that can earn them lots of money quickly, they don't care one whit about whether the author is previously unpublished. Our agent is a case in point, and we're thrilled that she thinks we can earn her lots of money (since 85% of the "lots of money" will be OURS!) :D

waylander
12-15-2005, 03:03 AM
I disagree with the suggestion that big time agents pay lip service to working with first time authors. I'm a first time author, and Don Maass read my full manuscript this time last year. Is he big time enough?

rchastain
12-15-2005, 04:45 AM
Donald Maas read your full ms? Good for him. Good for you.

Question: Did you query by email or snail? I'm wondering if anyone has had a postive response to an email query or if agents who accept queries by email do it so they can be conveniently batch deleted.

smallthunder
12-15-2005, 07:20 AM
Add me to the list of people who do not agree with that "lip service" remark. I am an unknown/unpublished writer, and my manuscript (my first) is being represented by William Clark -- I don't know how to rank him, so I'll let you:

"WILLIAM CLARK REPRESENTS A DIVERSE RANGE of commercial and literary fiction and quality non-fiction to the book publishing, motion picture, television, and new media fields. Based in New York, he has worked alongside industry leaders since 1992, including five years at William Morris Agency.

The agency works on a reciprocal basis with Ed Victor Ltd. (UK) (http://www.wmclark.com/Colleagues.html) in representing select properties to the US market and vice versa. Translation rights are sold directly in the German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American, French, Dutch, and Scandinavian territories in association with Andrew Nurnberg Associates Ltd. (UK) (http://www.wmclark.com/Colleagues.html); through offices in China, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Latvia, Poland, Hungary, and Russia; and through corresponding agents in Japan, Greece, Israel, Turkey, Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand."

OK, rather than list all the authors he represents, let me just throw out the most eye-catching (if not most literary) and the related publishers: Björk (Bloomsbury USA); Tony Bennet (Pocket Books); Snoop Dogg (William Morrow)

Is he one of the "biggest" agents? I don't know. I certainly would not consider him "small potatoes" -- and I would definitely consider myself at this point, as a writer, "very small potatoes."

He has sent my manuscript to ten houses/imprints; 8 have declined (usually with very nice letters about me/my novel), and 2 are apparently still considering it (3 months and counting).

Finally, YES -- I initiated contact with William Clark via an e-mail query. In fact, he only accepts e-mail requests for representation (check his website at http://www.wmclark.com/).

I don't know if William Clark will succeed with my manuscript -- but I definitely feel that if anybody can, he will.

aruna
12-15-2005, 12:15 PM
While it's probably optimal to have a big-name agent flogging your stuff to ten publishers, many of the biggest-name agents pay only lip service to working with an unpublished author anyway, so someone focusing on a preferred couple of publishers may be the best you can get.

I also disagree. In fact, first-time novelists are often the ones agents go ga-ga for. They are all eager to discover the next big thing; and that next big thing will come from the ranks of unknowns.

waylander
12-15-2005, 01:09 PM
My contact with Don Maass was initiated by a snail mail query of query letter plus writing samples. However my initial query of Kristin Nelson was by e-mail and she subsequently took my full manuscript by e-mail.

Further comment on this could be make by Dragonjax who has just sold her first novel via a big name agent.

dragonjax
12-18-2005, 07:05 AM
Further comment on this could be make by Dragonjax who has just sold her first novel via a big name agent.
My agent, Ethan Ellenberg, submitted a package to 11 editors simultaneously--his cover letter, the first three chapters of my novel, and a brief synopsis (5 pages). We got a three-book offer, on a pre-empt, eight days later.

This is my debut novel; although I've had short stories published before, this is my first full-length manuscript. (I've actually written two other novels prior to this one, but they never scored me agent representation.) So I, too, disagree with the suggestion that "many of the biggest-name agents pay only lip service to working with an unpublished author."

As for the exclusive versus simultaneous approach to editors, I've heard that some agents will give certain editors an exclusive for a short time, depending on the manuscript and the market.