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turningpoint
05-14-2013, 05:16 PM
I think there have been questions like this before, but I couldn't find them. Please feel free to re-direct me if you know where I should be.

Should you look for an agent after you have serious interest from a publisher? Would doing so offend the publisher or is it professional and smart? Just talking small press here.

thanks in advance

Phaeal
05-14-2013, 05:42 PM
You're free to seek an agent, and any publisher that would take offense isn't a publisher you want to deal with.

However, unless there's a chance this press will offer you a substantial advance and a decent print run and support, what's there to tempt the agent?

Answer: There's the same thing that would have tempted the agent if you'd subbed to him with no offer in the background -- he loves your work and wants to be your career partner. It can take a lot of time and effort to find a sympatico agent -- do you have that time right now? Do you have query letters and synopses prepared? How long with the press wait for your decision? If the agent is as enthusiastic as he should be about your book and wants to take it to other publishers, how will you feel about turning down the small press?

Lots to consider.

turningpoint
05-14-2013, 05:46 PM
great considerations, Phaeal, in fact, given your remarks, and that I would love this particular publisher to do my book, I won't look for an agent right now. If this venture succeeds, I'll look for an agent then.

sheadakota
05-14-2013, 06:09 PM
great considerations, Phaeal, in fact, given your remarks, and that I would love this particular publisher to do my book, I won't look for an agent right now. If this venture succeeds, I'll look for an agent then.

One more thing to consider, an agent is not likely to be interested in repping a book that is already published. If you look for an agent after a small press publishes your book, it would most likely be for another book.

turningpoint
05-14-2013, 06:24 PM
hi sheadakota,

great name.

I think if I get a book published I'll be in abetter position to get an agent for the next one. thanks.

quicklime
05-14-2013, 07:02 PM
hi sheadakota,

great name.

I think if I get a book published I'll be in abetter position to get an agent for the next one. thanks.


I'm not sure.

Yes, if it does well. If it does poorly, they will notice that, too. And then a query and manuscript they may like but not love has an additiona hill to climb--you have a small but tangible track record of doing poorly.

so there is no clear-cut answer.

turningpoint
05-14-2013, 07:31 PM
Hi quicklime,

If it doesn't do well, I don't think I'll look for an agent. I am content with self-publishing if necessary. I've had articles and poetry published frequently, so that's fine. I write on an unusual topic, so my audience is specialized anyway, as is the publisher.

Debbie V
05-20-2013, 10:24 PM
If your topic is that specialized, you'll need an agent who knows all of the markets in the specialty. My guess is that you know it better than any of them.

veinglory
05-20-2013, 11:14 PM
In terms of the current book: would 15% of what this publishers' books generally make be enough for an agent to get out of bed for?

turningpoint
05-20-2013, 11:37 PM
ha, ha! I don't know what an agent gets out of bed for!! I had one briefly for an earlier version of this book, but we parted company amicably after the big guys said no. Otherwise I have been publishing essays and poetry online and in print journals. Don't know that much. What does it take for an agent to get out of bed, vainglory? Hi Debbie V. yes, I may be in that category- pretty specialized.

Donna Pudick
06-13-2013, 07:22 PM
If you have a small publisher and no obligation to that company for your next book, why not seek out an agent for your next one? It's a selling point both for you and for him. If it doesn't work out with the agent, you can always go back to your small publisher, who may be happy to deal with you, especially if the first book is successful.

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 04:12 AM
However, unless there's a chance this press will offer you a substantial advance and a decent print run and support, what's there to tempt the agent?

What do you consider a substantial advance? What do you consider a decent print run? These are very subjective matters, and every situation is unique. The point of getting an agent, is to negotiate these things for you. There are many ways to sweeten a deal.

If you have a decent platform and marketing plan, a small advance won't matter; you'll earn it out quickly. The most important factor in this equation is you, not the agent or publisher.

turningpoint
08-24-2013, 06:27 AM
I haven't back here for a while and I see that I missed a few good comments. Steven- I don't really have an opinion about advances or print runs. I guess I should. I think I would feel more comfortable with an agent, but I'm not sure I am up for the search.

Donna, you sound right, it seems simple enough. I guess I'm sorta stage fright. Self publishing ebooks is working out well for me, and I seem to feel fine with that. I'm just not sure how I would feel turning my work over to a publisher.

Thanks for your remarks.

Tromboli
08-24-2013, 10:36 PM
I just read this yesterday and I think it gives an interesting perspective. Not exactly what you're talking about but does hit some of the points (its about seeking agents and publishers simultaneously) http://brenleedrake.blogspot.com/2013/08/on-querying-and-submitting.html?m=0

turningpoint
08-24-2013, 10:58 PM
Thanks, Tromboli,
a good article. I like the point about what is best for this book. In my case, I think the small publisher is perfect for this particular book. As I've thought about it, I've gotten clearer on my interests and concerns. I could use an agent to help me with the contract, but since there won't be money to me up front, only royalties, I don't see how I can attract one. TP

Tromboli
08-25-2013, 12:10 AM
You could consider a new agent, one who's looking for experience. But of course finding the good middle ground of a new agent with little experience that won't screw you over because they don't know enough, is important there. Becareful who you choose if you go that route. I believe some agents will look over a contract for a flat fee (hopefully others will chime in here about that one, is that legit? Or stay away?) Or just pay a lawyer, one who's familar with publishing contracts.

veinglory
08-25-2013, 12:16 AM
The advance and sales matter to the agent because that is how they make their living. So if the press has never sold a title into three figures and there is a good reason for that (I.e. their packaging and distributions sucks) that is salient to an agent.

Tromboli
08-25-2013, 12:24 AM
I've heard of agents offering to negotiate small press deals before. An established sucessful agent? Maybe not. But one who's only ever made one or two sales? Why not. They need to get their feet wet. But theres a little risk there, I think, by going with an unexperienced agent.

And advance isnt nessesarily an indication of low distribution etc. Some small presses do great at selling books (some with wide distribution) but don't give much, if any, in the way of advances (but that may be the exception). I don't think all agents would refuse a small press deal.

turningpoint
08-25-2013, 04:01 AM
Well I'm getting clearer, anyway. I guess I could search for an agent who is new just in case they would want to help me. I am feeling a bit better about my unexpected reaction to the prospect of publishing "traditionally" if it is fair to say publishing with a small press is traditional. I appreciate the thoughts people have shared.

gingerwoman
08-25-2013, 12:11 PM
In terms of the current book: would 15% of what this publishers' books generally make be enough for an agent to get out of bed for?
Turn it the other way, would anything the agent do for you with this small press be worth losing 15% to the agent?

Tromboli
08-25-2013, 04:16 PM
Turn it the other way, would anything the agent do for you with this small press be worth losing 15% to the agent?

I guess this is true. Probably better off paying a flatt fee for a publishing lawyer.

Old Hack
08-25-2013, 05:27 PM
An agent would not only negotiate a better contract here, she'd also do her best to find you foreign and subsidiary rights deals too. The potential earnings there make an agent a much better choice than an IP lawyer.