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The_Burning_Quill
05-27-2013, 02:24 PM
Hello,

I've just had the mind-exploding joy of having an agent ask for a the full MS...

So before I send it off and sacrifice virgins on the alter hope that they like it I was wondering if people think I should tell the agency about the fact that the MS is currently sat with a contact at a 'big six' publisher?

The reason I ask is that I managed to smuggle the MS to this publisher through the nefarious back-channels and through friend of a friend skulduggery.

I have no idea if this person likes it or is interested in it at all, but part of me feels like this might be useful information for a agent?

To a meaningless unknown the fact that someone in a massive publishing house was reading (or about to read) the MS seemed like a big deal, even if they were doing it as a favour - but will the agent care? I don't want to do anything to scare off this easily startled beast.

Many thanks.

Old Hack
05-27-2013, 02:40 PM
Yep, tell them who it's with. Also let them know where else you've sent it. They won't be able to submit to those same editors again.

rainsmom
05-27-2013, 07:05 PM
Yes. When agents consider taking on a client, they do so because they believe they can sell it. It's likely they have a list of names in their heads of editors who they think will like that particular manuscript.

If you've sent the manuscript to an editor, that person has to come off their list, and they need to know that. They would be really upset if that editor was the person they really, really wanted to send it to, and now they can't because you jumped the gun.

So, yes, give them the name, and don't shoot yourself in the foot by sending to more editors.

Jamesaritchie
05-27-2013, 08:32 PM
Always tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

The_Burning_Quill
05-28-2013, 07:45 AM
Thanks for the responses.

I've only sent it off to one editor and in fairness they have some interest as they emailed me back to ask for the full manuscript.

Is this then a bad thing?

I would have thought that I've actually increased my chances as I've got my foot in the door for a potential publishing deal before the agent has even started.

I am a hopeless newbie but from my reading on the industry I gathered that even once you have an agent getting it on a major editors desk can be a bit of a struggle.

Euuurgh. Totally conflicted now on whether I should mention this when I submit my full or when/if they offer representation.

I thought that this might be something that helped my case and give the agent an extra reason to give me a favourable reading but seems like it might in fact have done the opposite.

<Rude words and swearing as I bash my head against desk>

amschilling
05-28-2013, 08:44 AM
If you get an offer from the publisher, then yes, it's a plus. You'd put that at the very top of your letter, as well as possibly in the subject line. If they reject it, then you tell the agent you sub'd to them and it was turned down.

One publisher being out of the picture isn't a huge deal-breaker, unless they happen to be the only publisher that does your genre. So...deep breath. You're okay. Just don't send out to more publishers if you want an agent. :)

juliesondra
05-28-2013, 08:49 AM
I'm no expert but I think the problem an agent might have with you having taken it into your own hands is that you do not "need" them for that contact anymore. Most of the time, writers who look for agents do it partially because so many big publishers don't accept unagented submissions and partially because they want contract navigation/expertise on their side once the book sells. If you've gotten it into a big publisher's hands without that agent, and then they make an offer, that's a sale they did NOT secure and you wouldn't owe them anything. (Unless you negotiated your contract after the sale to hire them on, but I don't know how those negotiations look at all.) Plus, as others said, agents are forming a list when they think about taking you on.

I'm not sure, however, how it works after the fact--if you make a sale and then try to get an agent. I think if it were me I'd let the agent know at this stage and not leave it for a surprise if they were to offer. I don't think it will "startle" the agent OR impress them (especially if they agreed to look at it because of personal connections only). If you don't tell and they end up offering and THEN you have to tell, that could be irritating, so I think laying all your cards on the table is a good idea. (I did that at the nonfiction proposal stage myself, but that's a little different, plus it was a smaller publisher, not a big house, that was already considering the book when the agent offered. I figured it's always best to declare, and if it bothers them they can drop you earlier rather than getting your hopes up and dropping you later and wasting both of your time.)

Old Hack
05-28-2013, 10:15 AM
I've only sent it off to one editor and in fairness they have some interest as they emailed me back to ask for the full manuscript.

Is this then a bad thing?

I would have thought that I've actually increased my chances as I've got my foot in the door for a potential publishing deal before the agent has even started.

I am a hopeless newbie but from my reading on the industry I gathered that even once you have an agent getting it on a major editors desk can be a bit of a struggle.

Good agents have no problem getting good editors to look at your work.

The problem with approaching publishers alone is that they're going to take longer to get around to your work, and you don't know for sure that you're sending your book to the most appropriate editors or imprints within each publisher. An agent is far better placed to know this. And once a publisher has rejected your work, they're unlikely to be willing to take a second look when you find an agent.


Euuurgh. Totally conflicted now on whether I should mention this when I submit my full or when/if they offer representation.

Yes, you really should. Your agent has to be able to trust you; this is important information that you can't conceal from her.


I thought that this might be something that helped my case and give the agent an extra reason to give me a favourable reading but seems like it might in fact have done the opposite.

<Rude words and swearing as I bash my head against desk>

Don't worry. One submission isn't going to kill your chances. Just be open about it, so you all know where you stand.


I'm no expert but I think the problem an agent might have with you having taken it into your own hands is that you do not "need" them for that contact anymore.

No, this isn't the reason. The reason is that it gives the agent fewer options to help find you the best deal for your book, if they decide to take you on.


Most of the time, writers who look for agents do it partially because so many big publishers don't accept unagented submissions and partially because they want contract navigation/expertise on their side once the book sells.

Do most writers really think this is all a literary agent can do for them? Wow.

Where did you find this statistic? I'm interested in reading the source.

Putputt
05-28-2013, 02:07 PM
I'm no expert but I think the problem an agent might have with you having taken it into your own hands is that you do not "need" them for that contact anymore. Most of the time, writers who look for agents do it partially because so many big publishers don't accept unagented submissions and partially because they want contract navigation/expertise on their side once the book sells.

I think many writers look for agents for a lot more than those reasons. :D

Agent Chip McGregor lists a few reasons why an author may/may not need an agent
here. (http://www.chipmacgregor.com/blog/questions-from-beginners/when-does-an-author-need-an-agent/)

Article about the role of agents today here. (http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/international/london-book-fair/article/56862-london-book-fair-2013-defining-the-new-role-for-literary-agents.html)

If you google "role of literary agents" there are plenty of sources that tell you exactly why writers may/may not need agents.

Little Ming
05-28-2013, 11:13 PM
I'm no expert but I think the problem an agent might have with you having taken it into your own hands is that you do not "need" them for that contact anymore. Most of the time, writers who look for agents do it partially because so many big publishers don't accept unagented submissions and partially because they want contract navigation/expertise on their side once the book sells. If you've gotten it into a big publisher's hands without that agent, and then they make an offer, that's a sale they did NOT secure and you wouldn't owe them anything. (Unless you negotiated your contract after the sale to hire them on, but I don't know how those negotiations look at all.) Plus, as others said, agents are forming a list when they think about taking you on.

I'm not sure, however, how it works after the fact--if you make a sale and then try to get an agent. I think if it were me I'd let the agent know at this stage and not leave it for a surprise if they were to offer. I don't think it will "startle" the agent OR impress them (especially if they agreed to look at it because of personal connections only). If you don't tell and they end up offering and THEN you have to tell, that could be irritating, so I think laying all your cards on the table is a good idea. (I did that at the nonfiction proposal stage myself, but that's a little different, plus it was a smaller publisher, not a big house, that was already considering the book when the agent offered. I figured it's always best to declare, and if it bothers them they can drop you earlier rather than getting your hopes up and dropping you later and wasting both of your time.)

I don't think you understand what agents really do.

Here's (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=270290) a recent decision we've had on the topic. Not everyone needs an agent, but it's better to understand what they actually do for the author before making that decision.

J.Reid
06-02-2013, 06:59 PM
Hello,

I have no idea if this person likes it or is interested in it at all, but part of me feels like this might be useful information for a agent?

.

It's not useful, it's essential.
If an agent likes your ms and plans to make an offer, one of the things s/he will consider is the number of editors this book will appeal to.

If you've already sent it to Agent Knuckledragger at Cave And Hearth Publisher, that's important to know.

It's important because Knuckledragger might be famous for requesting things cause s/he has not learned how to say no (yes, those people exist.)

Knuckledragger might be an assistant trying to find the next Twilight, but have no ability to make an offer.

Knuckledragger might be an editor so awful at his/her job that no one in her (agent's) right mind would do a deal with him/her, and you'll never know cause that information is never put in writing and shared with cronies only under the cone of silence.

So, yes, DO TELL.

I really really hate it when authors employ skullduggery like this. Authors are delightful woodland creatures who should be home typing. Leave the skullduggery to the sharques who do this for fun AND profit.

The_Burning_Quill
06-03-2013, 09:57 AM
It's not useful, it's essential.
If an agent likes your ms and plans to make an offer, one of the things s/he will consider is the number of editors this book will appeal to.

If you've already sent it to Agent Knuckledragger at Cave And Hearth Publisher, that's important to know.

It's important because Knuckledragger might be famous for requesting things cause s/he has not learned how to say no (yes, those people exist.)

Knuckledragger might be an assistant trying to find the next Twilight, but have no ability to make an offer.

Knuckledragger might be an editor so awful at his/her job that no one in her (agent's) right mind would do a deal with him/her, and you'll never know cause that information is never put in writing and shared with cronies only under the cone of silence.

So, yes, DO TELL.

I really really hate it when authors employ skullduggery like this. Authors are delightful woodland creatures who should be home typing. Leave the skullduggery to the sharques who do this for fun AND profit.

Knuckles wrapped, I shall sit in the naughty chair.

I only committed the heinous crime as I was getting nothing but form rejections from every and all agents - and in my mind it was not going to Knuckledragger but to Knightinshiningarmourwithsuitcasefullofmoney

Anyway, I have confessed and hopefully Agent Wonderful will ring Knightinshiningarmourwithsuitcasefullofmoney and all will be well.

mccardey
06-03-2013, 10:02 AM
Knuckles wrapped, I shall sit in the naughty chair.

Are there going to be spankings? Because I was about to log off, but you know - if there's going to be spankings.... :evil

juliesondra
06-03-2013, 12:05 PM
I don't think you understand what agents really do. [ . . . ] Not everyone needs an agent, but it's better to understand what they actually do for the author before making that decision.

Sure, contact with editors isn't the entirety of what agents do. But since many publishers don't take unagented submissions, those who want to approach those publishers are usually advised to look for representation. I'm not implying that getting your foot in the door through an agent is the only reason an author would want to have one, but I do know none of the publishers my agent approached on my behalf would have considered my work without her. I'm aware they certainly wear many other hats in this industry--some more than others.

Phaeal
06-04-2013, 10:21 PM
This is very unlikely to be a big deal.

There's no reason why the agent couldn't rep you for the already subbed book, should you get an offer. Agents can come in to negotiate contracts and handle business matters on a book you've sold.

Which is why the only really big block I can see you stumbling over is NOT TELLING the agent the whole truth about your submission status.

And I see you've already avoided that one block.

Axordil
06-05-2013, 05:38 PM
Authors are delightful woodland creatures who should be home typing.

I've always aspired to being delightful.

Wait, don't tygers live in forests? That's what Blake said, anyway. Maybe he meant editors.