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cate townsend
03-23-2012, 10:16 PM
Not an uncommon situation, I'm sure, but I'd like to hear feedback on what you would do or what you'd advise...

My agent subbed my first book to a handful of big presses and although there was some decent feedback, no offer. He didn't think it was worthwhile to submit to small presses, so it was not. I sent my next project, and while he loved the book, he doesn't think he's the right person to sell it. He suggested trying to sell book 1 to a small publisher myself, then go from there, or try and self-pub it to build a reputation.

I'm interested in hearing what you'd do? I'm leaning toward finding a different agent for book 2 (which was never subbed), and starting over.

quicklime
03-23-2012, 10:19 PM
god, people with more experience can chime in too, but I'm inclined to go with your thoughts as well.....mostly from his suggestion you self-pub instead. Nothing against self-pubbing, but it is a much different model and I'm not convinced that his idea of doing that instead to start building a reputation sounds encouraging.

Drachen Jager
03-23-2012, 10:33 PM
Find a new agent.

Pretty much the same thing happened to me. I know it sucks, I thought I was done with querying, but there you have it.

I'll let you know how it worked out in a few months.

You are absolutely not alone though, I know of one author on here who wrote three follow-ups to the one her agent represented, the agent refused to represent ANY of them, and had only done a half-hearted effort on the first. She found a new agent, sold one book straight away and they're working on the others now.

You need an agent who fits you.

FabricatedParadise
03-23-2012, 10:38 PM
I'm not agented, so take this for what it's worth (not a whole lot). But, the part where you state he suggested you sub to small presses yourself threw me. Personally, it sounds like he's after the quick bucks and not looking out for your best interests. From what I understand, smaller presses don't usually pay advances. Could this be why he didn't want to sub to them himself?

Cyia
03-23-2012, 10:39 PM
If it were me, I'd take the suggestion of self-pubbing to mean "I can't do anything for you that you can't do for yourself / you don't need me" and go looking for someone better suited to selling your novels.

RKLipman
03-23-2012, 10:40 PM
Agreed with the above.

Fire him. Find a new agent.

Sage
03-23-2012, 10:42 PM
If he had sold book 1, I would say wait for book 3 and see what happens (letting him know your plans for that book, to see if he even sounds interested). Lots of authors have agents who say no to their second book. Part of this seems to be that authors go through so many revisions before the agent even sees book 1 that when they get the less-revised book 2, they're surprised by the difference. But this sounds like your agent isn't even interested in book 2's concept and hasn't done any good for book 1 (which is still sub-able, btw). If your next book ends up more like book 2, he's holding you up in limbo for no reason.

(If he was going forward with book 1 or you had a deal in the works, I would ask if book 2 is a genre he doesn't represent, because that's usually the only time it's okay to have two agents)

As a matter of curiosity, can you rep me the agent?

kaitie
03-23-2012, 11:01 PM
I'm curious to know the agent as well.

I second (or fifteenth) what everyone else is saying. In your shoes, I'd search for a new agent with book 2.

cate townsend
03-24-2012, 12:05 AM
Thanks everyone, for chiming in with some very helpful suggestions.


Personally, it sounds like he's after the quick bucks and not looking out for your best interests. From what I understand, smaller presses don't usually pay advances. Could this be why he didn't want to sub to them himself?

In answer to this, I can't say for sure, but that would make sense, business wise.

gothicangel
03-24-2012, 12:31 AM
I would find out exactly who he subbed book 1 to. If it really is all the big houses, then the book is dead in the water [unless you are happy to try the independents or e-publishers.]

Otherwise, sub book 2 to agents, and maybe if it sells, then they might pick up the first one too.

stormie
03-24-2012, 12:54 AM
cate--what you describe happened to me about four years ago. Agent couldn't sell the book--only subbed it to about 9 large publishers and wouldn't sub it to smaller ones. Said I could do it on my own. Meanwhile I worked on my second book (not a series). He didn't want to see the next one until it was polished--no input, nothing. Finally I submitted the book to him. He didn't like it.

After almost two years, we parted amicably. Have I gotten a new agent? Not yet. But then, my ex-agent and I weren't on the same page anyway so parting was okay.

Colossus
03-24-2012, 01:02 AM
Depends on what you want to do with this book. Most large publishing houses pretty much look the other way without an agent subbing it (know this from experience). Self-publishing hasn't brought me any rep, but I'm still young.

thothguard51
03-24-2012, 03:46 AM
I have to agree with Gothicangel...

Find out what publishers the agent submitted to. He/she owes you any rejection notices. And if the big six has already rejected the book, then another agent is not going to help. If book two is not a stand alone, then I wouldn't sub that one to any agent either.

Self publishing should only be considered if you are ready to take all the criticism if the big boys were correct. Of course, if they were wrong, and this does happen, then you get all the glory and can stick your tongue out at them. Self publishing is a tough road to find success because of the sheer numbers...

Gillhoughly
03-24-2012, 04:46 AM
He's an idiot.


Thank him for the help, tell him to delete your files, and find a better agent.

Contact writers with work similar to yours and ask if they would recommend an agent.

Al Stevens
03-24-2012, 04:57 AM
I sent my next project, and while he loved the book, he doesn't think he's the right person to sell it.We keep hearing that. Don't let it encourage you. He doesn't love it. If he did, he'd be out there selling it. Unless he specializes in selling books he doesn't love. Who wants an agent like that?

Kasey Mackenzie
04-04-2012, 12:19 AM
I am just chiming in that I agree it's likely time for a new agent. Okay, not likely - definitely. You need--and deserve--an agent who is passionate about your writing. Good luck!

Cyia
04-04-2012, 12:29 AM
He doesn't love it. If he did, he'd be out there selling it.

This isn't always true.

An agent specializing in gritty crime fiction may love a client's sweet Christian romance, but have no contacts in the market.

That's not the case in this instance, but it can happen.

cate townsend
04-04-2012, 01:00 AM
This isn't always true.

An agent specializing in gritty crime fiction may love a client's sweet Christian romance, but have no contacts in the market.

That's not the case in this instance, but it can happen.

He did say I'd have better luck placing it with an agent who had better contacts in the genre (he specializes in YA, and my book isn't), but it doesn't matter at this point whether he really did love it or not. The fact remains the same: it's back in my hands now. Thanks everyone, for your feedback!

ios
04-05-2012, 03:52 AM
I'm not agented, so take this for what it's worth (not a whole lot). But, the part where you state he suggested you sub to small presses yourself threw me. Personally, it sounds like he's after the quick bucks and not looking out for your best interests. From what I understand, smaller presses don't usually pay advances. Could this be why he didn't want to sub to them himself?

That threw me too. He took it on right? If he does not deal with small presses and felt it was one meant for small press, he should not have taken it on, period. He should know just by looking at your submission whom to market it to.

I'd be leery of this agent. Others suggested looking for a new one, and I think that might be wise--but look at your contract first to see how you can separate. Hopefully he was professional in that regard.

Jodi

Mr. Anonymous
04-05-2012, 05:29 AM
I don't understand why some agents do this, personally. Give up after a handful of submissions. My agent and I are on our 15th or so rejection at this point. But we're not done yet and even after that many passes, there's still hope on the horizon. There's still a decent number of editors we've yet to hear from. Lots of books wouldn't have gotten published if the agents repping them had given up after a handful of rejections.

This agent doesn't sound like he's invested enough in your first book, and we know he isn't invested in your second/can't sell it, sooo... As hard as it may be, I'm going to echo everyone else and say find a new agent. :/

triceretops
04-05-2012, 05:49 AM
Agreed with the others--I just don't like your agent and his work ethic. He sounds like a wall-sticker and gave up entirely too early. There are independents out there that pay advances, and I'm not talking about token advances. I've often helped my agents track down good/new/reputable publishing houses, and I was always thanked and praised for my initiative. In nearly every case, my agents responded to my submission requests. Bless their hearts.

tri

lauralam
04-05-2012, 02:29 PM
I'd disagree that if the big six reject it's dead in the water. There are plenty of other reputable publishers that aren't big six, but still pay decent advances and give decent royalties.

cate townsend
04-05-2012, 07:53 PM
There are independents out there that pay advances, and I'm not talking about token advances. I've often helped my agents track down good/new/reputable publishing houses, and I was always thanked and praised for my initiative.
tri

Maybe I didn't do enough, then. Maybe I should have done some of my own research into smaller pubs and indies and provided some insight to my agent. But in the spirit of my goal to be prolific, I just dove into my next project.

Thanks again to everyone, for weighing in with some good advice.

RKLipman
04-05-2012, 07:59 PM
Maybe I didn't do enough, then. Maybe I should have done some of my own research into smaller pubs and indies and provided some insight to my agent. But in the spirit of my goal to be prolific, I just dove into my next project.

Thanks again to everyone, for weighing in with some good advice.

Cate -

I'm sympathetic to this, because I think there's a time and a place where this is appropriate. An author is part of the agent/author partnership, and sometimes you may have leads or hear of things the agent hasn't.

However. In this case, I'm inclined to say "that's really not your job". I don't think you did anything wrong here. It sounds like you just pulled the short straw on this particular agent.

I hope things turn around for you soon (whatever that may entail).

kaitie
04-05-2012, 09:02 PM
I agree. Good luck!

rac
04-06-2012, 11:29 PM
I agree with everyone. An agent who truly believes in you and your work will have staying power and will keep submitting your manuscript. Get a new agent. You need this one like you need a headache!

elindsen
04-13-2012, 05:32 PM
All right so keep in mind I don't know for sure, but I have a very good idea who your agent is. His track record is not good. If it iss the agent I'm thinking, his one client sold their own book to St. Martins and he did the dealings. If it is the same agent he has a full time job elsewhere. Very sceevy. I think he is only in this buis for the dollars. Fire him after fidning out where he subbed to and move on. You don't want to deal with the agent I think it is.

Deb Kinnard
04-13-2012, 09:02 PM
I've no idea which agent you're discussing, but I might feel a bit restive about an agent who has a full time job outside the agency. I'd be in doubt as to whether s/he could author a good cover letter, pitch my projects competently, and follow up with the publishers on a timely basis. I'd wonder if s/he was giving more to the full time job than to agenting work.

RKLipman
04-13-2012, 09:36 PM
It's not uncommon - or unethical - for agents to have jobs aside from agenting. They operated strictly on commission, and standard rule of thumb for new agents is that it can take 5 years before they make enough to agent full-time. (Some less, some more, obviously.)

This is a scenario that should sound pretty familiar to writers.

Lots of quite good agents have part- or full-time jobs. You may just not know about all of them because they don't advertise it.

That said, I still think Cate's agent is bad news. But this ain't the reason.