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cate townsend
04-25-2013, 09:30 PM
This is one of those "what would you do if you were in my situation" questions.

I have a novel that was with an agent for a while. The agent submitted to a handful of large publishers (5) in 2011. I have since parted ways with this agent and am wondering if I should try to pitch the book to small publishers who consider un-agented material or try and find another agent for it, even though it's already been submitted.

I am also sending queries to agents for a new book, so it's possible I could wait until I get another agent for the new book and then consider the possibilities for the previous book then?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Undercover
04-25-2013, 09:37 PM
Hey Cate, all good questions and I'd say all of the above. You can try to pitch it again to new agents, along with your new book pitch. To me, the agents that are interested will have an added bonus to consider too. You can try that for a while first and if you think you're not getting anywhere, you can try small independent publishers. There's a lot of great small pubs out there. If you have a YA, feel free to PM me and I can direct you to some great ones, including Belle Books (small advances) and Sourcebooks (also advances.) There's nothing wrong with pursuing that. You might find a more personal touch with them dealing with them directly instead of an agent.

Whatever road you choose, there's definately other avenues you can take to get published. Good luck with it.

Drachen Jager
04-25-2013, 09:46 PM
I have a novel that was with an agent for a while. The agent submitted to a handful of large publishers (5) in 2011. I have since parted ways with this agent and am wondering if I should try to pitch the book to small publishers who consider un-agented material or try and find another agent for it, even though it's already been submitted.

I feel for you. The exact same thing happened to me last year. Four publishers, one of whom passed with compliments and a list of recommended fixes. I spent three months trying to address the fixes without guidance (even though my agent promised to read it as I worked through it, then passed that job to an intern who disappeared without ever giving feedback). When I was done, my agent took two months and said she didn't want to handle that manuscript any more (I suspect she never even read it).

Anyhow. I think subbing to small publishers is fine. Query Tracker has a pretty good list of publishers that accept non-agented submissions.

It's up to you though. If you feel confident your new manuscript will net you a good agent this time, that might be the better bet.

cate townsend
04-25-2013, 09:56 PM
Thanks for the sound advice. That's terrible DJ, about your agent. Why do agents take on books that they aren't going to champion through? It doesn't make sense.

Undercover, it's not YA. I agree with you on the small press treatment. A friend of mine is getting her mystery published by Poisoned Pen without using an agent, and she has been happy thus far in her dealings with them.

Undercover
04-25-2013, 10:03 PM
Oh, wow, my latest acceptance is with the Poisoned Pencil (their new YA imprint) and they've been marvelous so far. I am very pleased. They pay good advances too, but either to the Pen or the Pencil, it would have to be mystery.

Drachen Jager
04-25-2013, 10:14 PM
Thanks for the sound advice. That's terrible DJ, about your agent. Why do agents take on books that they aren't going to champion through? It doesn't make sense.

She makes a habit of it. I've been in touch with another client of hers with very similar experiences. I think of it as a sort of shotgun approach to agenting. Next time I'm looking for a sniper.

As to why she took it on. It was a genre she hadn't dealt with but was interested in and her assistant at the time loved it. He sent me an e-mail in the evening of July 4th to say he would be reading the full soon, and early in the morning of July 5th to say he was recommending it to her and praising the manuscript (and I know what a big deal July 4th is down south-ways).

He left, I'm not entirely clear when, and without him championing it she just kind of pushed it off to the side.

In the end, I think she was too busy to look for more markets than the four she knew of for that genre, so she gave me the brush-off.

cate townsend
04-25-2013, 10:42 PM
What a roller coaster, DJ! It's too bad that the assistant wasn't moving up to agent, because it sounds like he would have been the one to go to bat for your book.What did you end up doing with the manuscript?

Drachen Jager
04-25-2013, 10:56 PM
What a roller coaster, DJ! It's too bad that the assistant wasn't moving up to agent, because it sounds like he would have been the one to go to bat for your book.What did you end up doing with the manuscript?

It's trunked for now, along with another I was in the middle of writing when my agent asked for the revisions. Both of them are sour for me right now.

I switched to a more mainstream genre and I'm just working on my first round of edits before I go beta-hunting. I'm very happy with it so far (when I'm not hating everything that's still wrong with it) and I think it stands a real chance of landing me a good agent this time. I won't do the other kind again.

cate townsend
04-25-2013, 11:04 PM
It's trunked for now, along with another I was in the middle of writing when my agent asked for the revisions. Both of them are sour for me right now.

Well, maybe the "sourness" will wear off over time and you will revisit later, or when you do land a great agent they will advise you. I took my first "trunked" novel and in contractor speak, basically gutted it and have been remodeling it from the ground up into a totally different book. You did have that interest from publishers on that one agented book, so it has promise despite your feelings toward it. Time heals!

Old Hack
04-25-2013, 11:10 PM
Five submissions isn't much. If you're interested in finding an agent I'd consider querying it again, with a note that your previous agent, from whom you are now divorced, submitted it to [these five publishers] a couple of years ago.

Fuchsia Groan
04-26-2013, 08:41 AM
I'm in a similar situation, except the ms. was submitted to 10 publishers (possibly more; I'm going to have to ask for the agent's list). That may be too many, I realize. At the same time, I've radically revised the ms. since it was submitted; it has a new protagonist and an unrecognizable first 50 pages, and I think it's a better fit for the market now. I'm going to get some betas and try small publishers after revisions. I may also try agents just for the hell of it, but assume the ms. won't be attractive considering the history.

What I'm wondering is: Should I say it was radically revised, something like "a previous, very different version of this book was submitted to x publishers"? Or does that sound like special pleading and unlikely to change anyone's mind?

gingerwoman
04-26-2013, 11:52 AM
Just make sure your manuscript is an appropriate fit for the small publishers you submit to, and make sure you research to be sure the publishers you submit to are good ones. Also don't tell them about your rejections from the big publishers they don't need to know that stuff.

Fuchsia Groan
04-26-2013, 06:17 PM
Also don't tell them about your rejections from the big publishers they don't need to know that stuff.

That's what I figured: You must tell agents about subs, but you don't tell publishers, any more than you would tell an agent you queried X agents before them. I hope I'm right on that; someone please let me know if I'm not!

My first rule for choosing small publishers is that they have to be producing covers at least as professional looking as the one I'd insist on if I self-published. :) And, preferably, getting their books into stores.

Old Hack
04-26-2013, 08:50 PM
If presses aren't getting their books into bookshops then you have to ask yourself what they can do for you that you can't do yourself. Very few small presses without bookshop presence will sell many more copies of your books than you could sell yourself: you might be better off self-publishing than publishing with one of them.