PDA

View Full Version : Lightly Subbed MS Advertise or Not?



Drachen Jager
04-07-2012, 10:26 PM
My ex agent submitted my manuscript to four publishers in the fall. I believe they'd all be considered second-tier publishers. Good, well known, but not at the very top.

All four passed, but one editor read the whole manuscript and sent some positive notes "really intriguing premise", and she "enjoyed reading the manuscript", but she "didn't fall in love with it".

She also sent two pages of notes which I feel I've addressed pretty effectively.

So, the question is, do I include this information in a query, or should I bring it up with a prospective agent at a later stage, such as "the call"?

heyjude
04-07-2012, 10:45 PM
More experienced people will answer, but I'd say bring it up when you get the call.

leahzero
04-07-2012, 11:11 PM
Bring it up during The Call. Four editors isn't a lot. Also, assuming you and your ex-agent parted on good terms, the fact that you were previously represented could be in your favor.

Drachen Jager
04-08-2012, 12:10 AM
Well, I'm certainly obliged to let the agent know during the call. I don't think it would be ethical to accept an offer without coming clean on the submission history of a manuscript and it could potentially sour the relationship.

As you say leah, it could be an advantage. That's why I'm pondering whether to include it in the query or not. An editor saying nice things, even if she passed, ought to count for something. The fact that she even read the manuscript beginning to end should indicate it's worth careful consideration to a prospective agent.

kellion92
04-08-2012, 12:37 AM
Drachen, I'd include it in the call, but not in the query. A pass (even a nice one) isn't something to advertise, but I'd share the notes with your next agent for sure.

Renee Collins
04-08-2012, 12:49 AM
I think it can't hurt to mention in the query letter. Something along the lines of: "I recently parted amicably with my agent. She submitted COOL NOVEL to four publishers total."

Did this editor who gave you notes say she'd be interested in seeing a revised version? Because two pages of notes sure looks like interest to me. If she gave any indication of that, you could add a line in the query for that as well. Something like, "I recently parted amicably with my agent. She submitted COOL NOVEL to four publishers total. Judy Jones of Cool Publishing House expressed interest in seeing revisions, which I have completed."

Good luck!

KalenO
04-08-2012, 03:23 AM
Eh, I wouldn't do that last bit. Even if that editor was open to seeing revisions, the MS was originally brought to her attention by the previous agent, who could then feasibly have a claim to any future commission off it. So any new agent might see that and not want to risk entangling herself with a shared commission/deal.

Drachen, I'd honestly recommend not mentioning it in the query. It's hard to sum up both a MS and a previous agent relationship in a short query letter, and short changing either risks them being taken the wrong way by any agent you query now. I know it must be frustrating to be 'back to square one' and have to query again and you're looking for any edge that will shorten your time back in the query trenches, but the same advice we give to first time queriers holds true here too I think. Don't look for shortcuts. Just trust in your writing and your MS. The original, unvarnished version got you an agent in the first place, and now you're out there again with a more polished version thanks to notes from your former agent and that editor. You can find an agent again, without adding bells and whistles. Save any complexities for the Call.

jclarkdawe
04-08-2012, 06:30 AM
Why don't you want to put it in the query?

Because the agent will reject you? H'mmm. Doesn't this imply that you think it's an important factor for the agent in making a decision? How would you feel if you were on the other side of this deal and someone kept an important piece of information from you until 'later?'

While working like hell on my next book, I'd put this information in my query. Because I figure it's something that would affect an agent's decision on whether or not to spend any time looking at my manuscript.

I have a standing rule regarding new clients. If you don't tell me you've seen other attorneys until the end of the initial interview, I'm not going to represent you. If you keep something like this from me, what else are you going to 'forget' to disclose?

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Drachen Jager
04-08-2012, 07:07 AM
Whoa there JCD, I never said I didn't want to put it into my query. Don't read people's responses into my question.

I DO want to put it in my query. Of course I'd tell prospective agents about it before signing, I'm just asking whether the query stage is the appropriate time. Given the circumstances I think it might actually give me an advantage in the query, so I was gathering opinions.

Try not to jump to conclusions quite so quickly.

jclarkdawe
04-08-2012, 07:38 AM
I'm sorry if you think I jumped to a conclusion. Only reason most people don't include something in the query is because they think it's a detriment. Because of course you include everything in your query that might get an agent's interest.

And favorable agent comments or not, in my opinion, this is a detriment. I have no idea how many publishers might possibly be interested in your book, so the question is whether four is a minimal number or a significant number, but either way, you've burned through four possible publishers. Four publishers who might have been more receptive to your book with the new agent's editing suggestions before submission.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Deb Kinnard
04-10-2012, 12:24 AM
Since these weren't top-tier houses that COOL NOVEL got a "no-thanks" on, I'd vote in favor of mentioning this only with offer of representation. Ideally you and Dream Agent would get mildly acquainted during the phone call. "My previous agent did send this novel out, but the only four pubs who have seen it are not on my short-list. I'm in favor of having it presented to the top tier. Is this a deal breaker for you?"

Then go with what he or she says. If it's a deal-breaker, and these are minor houses, methinks that agent might be a tad bit too persnickety.

My take (after two agents).

Drachen Jager
04-10-2012, 01:49 AM
Well, they're not minor. They're just not the ones I'd have picked in the first round (presuming you start at the top and work down), probably second-fourth round, but IMO they aren't a very good fit anyhow. At least one would reject it out of hand, no matter how well written it was, because they tend towards the tame end of things, and it's a pretty edgy YA manuscript. I think it would fit better with an adult press that also prints YA, rather than kids presses that also print YA (which is what all four are).

I've submitted to five good agents with the submission history at the top of the query letter. I'll wait a few weeks for the response before deciding how to proceed.

JCD, I thought about it, and I think your theory holds no water. You wouldn't put 'alcoholic' or 'ADD' in your resume, so why would you put it in a query letter? If it helps me get reads I'll use it, if not I'll mention it if an when agents show interest. I don't think that's being unfair to them in any way.

twright
04-10-2012, 01:24 PM
My ex agent submitted my manuscript to four publishers in the fall. I believe they'd all be considered second-tier publishers. Good, well known, but not at the very top.

All four passed, but one editor read the whole manuscript and sent some positive notes "really intriguing premise", and she "enjoyed reading the manuscript", but she "didn't fall in love with it".

She also sent two pages of notes which I feel I've addressed pretty effectively.

So, the question is, do I include this information in a query, or should I bring it up with a prospective agent at a later stage, such as "the call"?

I find this question very interesting, because I've read posts in the Agents forum that indicated if a mss has been genuinely re-written...not just changing a few words but actually significantly revised...then a lot of agents are open to being re-queried.

Wouldn't the same apply to editors? In which case the agent would just need to know that when approaching those four specific places, that the work would need to be pitched differently.

Or is it really different with editors and publishers?

popmuze
04-10-2012, 06:38 PM
One thing I've always wondered is why if an agent sends the book to a specific editor and that editor rejects it, why another agent can't submit it to a different editor at the house. Apparently this is a hard and fast rule. But I don't get it. Maybe the first editor didn't even read it and an intern rejected it. Maybe the first editor was the wrong editor for it. But I guess that's a problem for agents and editors to figure out.
To the OP: often agents specifically ask if you've ever had another agent and if the book has been shopped anywhere. If they don't ask, then don't tell, at least not until the agent falls in love with the book.

RKLipman
04-10-2012, 07:15 PM
One thing I've always wondered is why if an agent sends the book to a specific editor and that editor rejects it, why another agent can't submit it to a different editor at the house. Apparently this is a hard and fast rule. But I don't get it. Maybe the first editor didn't even read it and an intern rejected it. Maybe the first editor was the wrong editor for it. But I guess that's a problem for agents and editors to figure out.

I am not the Expert In All Things Publishing, but... this doesn't sound quite right to me. I'd expect the ms can be subbed to other imprints within the same house, you just have to take care to track folks because editors move around quite quickly and you don't want to hit the same person twice without even realizing.

But if it were to the same imprint, I'd imagine that's a solid "gtfo" from the editor.

kellion92
04-10-2012, 08:03 PM
Different imprints and publishers take different views on whether more than one editor can be subbed within an organizational structure, and that's where a well-connected agent's knowledge can help.

There's also a difference between subbing and pitching. I believe many agents will pitch more than one editor, either sequentially or simultaneously in a group meeting, but they can only sub to one (and if it's rejected, done).

Drachen Jager
04-10-2012, 08:21 PM
Agents forum that indicated if a mss has been genuinely re-written...not just changing a few words but actually significantly revised...then a lot of agents are open to being re-queried.

Wouldn't the same apply to editors? In which case the agent would just need to know that when approaching those four specific places, that the work would need to be pitched differently.

Having looked into it a bit.

Yes, sometimes an editor will have another look at a manuscript. I think that may be the case here, since she read all the way through on the previous draft and said she enjoyed it. The new version really has gone under a massive change. It was 80k, I deleted about 10k and wrote about 20k of new material, added a whole new plotline and really deepened and strengthened the main character and most of the supporting characters.


To the OP: often agents specifically ask if you've ever had another agent and if the book has been shopped anywhere. If they don't ask, then don't tell, at least not until the agent falls in love with the book.

That's what I'm wrestling with. Having had an agent and an editor read through and enjoy the manuscript ought to put me in the top 1% of manuscripts agents see.

Having a relationship with an agent fall through, and being rejected four times from publishers is a downside, but I just don't know if it negates the advantage of the above.

I think if agents had a process where they could instantly see that a project had commercial appeal, or at least enough appeal to hold an editor's interest from beginning to end they'd jump at the chance. So, fingers crossed, I'll see how the five agents I sent it to receive it.

One has already rejected, but that's okay, it's an odd genre, and not every agent knows the ground (a big part of why my previous agent lost interest I believe).

kellion92
04-10-2012, 09:01 PM
That's what I'm wrestling with. Having had an agent and an editor read through and enjoy the manuscript ought to put me in the top 1% of manuscripts agents see.


I agree. Your manuscript is probably in the top 1%, but on its own merits, not based on what another agent or editor has said. Having had an agent or an editor read (and reject, however glowingly) isn't a credential.

Let the book speak for itself. Trust it to find its right reader.

Corinne Duyvis
04-10-2012, 09:24 PM
I think mentioning a previous agent should be fine, assuming you parted amicably. Mentioning that an editor read and liked it falls into the "positive rejection" category that lots of agents have said they don't want authors to mention. If your book is that good, I agree with kellion92--you don't have to reach.

popmuze
04-10-2012, 09:25 PM
I agree. If your original query landed you an agent once, I wouldn't necessarily change it. Sometimes editors sugar coat their feelings about a manuscript in their notes to an agent, so as not to alienate the agent for future submissions. One editor at one house reading it all the way through isn't going to make another agent suddenly want a manuscript they wouldn't otherwise want. Once you find an agent who loves it on its own merits, then I'm sure the discussion will come up about previous agents, previous submissions and previous editorial comments.

cate townsend
04-12-2012, 11:42 PM
My ex agent submitted my manuscript to four publishers in the fall. I believe they'd all be considered second-tier publishers. Good, well known, but not at the very top.

So, the question is, do I include this information in a query, or should I bring it up with a prospective agent at a later stage, such as "the call"?

I think you should put the fact you were previously represented, and mention the names of the four houses where your MS went (at the end of the letter). That's all for the query letter. Details of those submissions can wait.

Most agents will likely want to know this info right away, so why leave it out?