PDA

View Full Version : Nonfiction: Publisher has given me an offer - do I need an agent?



eddmo
01-22-2014, 03:33 AM
Hi all,

To cut a long story short, I submitted a non-fiction proposal directly to a US publisher (I'm from the UK and the proposal is related to English history).

I'm excited that the publisher has given me an offer with a reasonable advance.

To be honest, I wasn't really expecting this and I'm a bit taken aback.

Should I find myself an agent? In the UK or US? As I already have the offer, I wonder if it's time sensitive to respond to the publisher.... can you find an agent in a hurry?!

Any help very much appreciated.

Siri Kirpal
01-22-2014, 07:17 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

If your publisher is largish and you expect that translations of your book would do well, then getting an agent would be wise.

If you decide to go that route, tell your publisher, then email agents and say in the first line (and possibly also in the subject heading) that you have a publisher and want an agent to negotiate for you, and give a timeline. Some agents who rep NF are very fast indeed. Look around and you'll find some.

If your publisher is very small, the advance is nothing to boast of, and you don't expect translations to do well, you may have problems finding an interested agent. In that case, just go with what you've got and feel free to do what negotiating you're comfortable with.

And, btw, Congrats on the offer of publication!

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

triceretops
01-22-2014, 07:27 AM
I put some contact info in your rep box. You can PM me if you have any questions.

tri

Old Hack
01-22-2014, 11:32 AM
Tri, unless you have something private you need to tell the OP you'd be better off responding in public. Discussion is a good thing, and leads to a balanced view.

As you're in the UK, eddmo, and are in receipt of an offer from a publisher, you can now join the Society of Authors which provides free contract-checking and advice to all its members. The report you'll get back from them will be very detailed and will explain the good and bad points in the offered contract, and suggest ways in which it could be improved. It's brilliantly useful whether you have an agent or not, and the value of the contractual advice you receive far outweighs the cost of membership.

I'd still be tempted to look for an agent, as agents are very helpful in ways which the SoA can't be: they can get you foreign and subsidiary rights deals, for example, and will support and encourage you in your writing career. But the SoA is there if you don't manage that.

Medievalist
01-22-2014, 11:36 AM
As you're in the UK, eddmo, and are in receipt of an offer from a publisher, you can now join the Society of Authors which provides free contract-checking and advice to all its members. The report you'll get back from them will be very detailed and will explain the good and bad points in the offered contract, and suggest ways in which it could be improved. It's brilliantly useful whether you have an agent or not, and the value of the contractual advice you receive far outweighs the cost of membership.

Do this. It's super advice


I'd still be tempted to look for an agent, as agents are very helpful in ways which the SoA can't be: they can get you foreign and subsidiary rights deals, for example, and will support and encourage you in your writing career. But the SoA is there if you don't manage that.

Again, I'd look for an agent with non fict sales of the general kind of book in question.

You have an offer in hand; it's much much easier to find an agent.

Standard terms are shifting a bit at present, so an experienced agent is more useful than ever.

Also, with non fiction, sometimes an agent brings a book to you.

cornflake
01-22-2014, 11:46 AM
Just as a side note, if you decide to seek an agent based on this project, and are doing so by email, you probably want to mention in the subject line that you have an offer.

I've seen a few posts, I believe probably in Query Letter Hell or Ask the Agent (where you could ask specifically about how to go about this, especially as you're in the UK and some things, like query letters, format a bit differently from in the U.S.), emphasizing that. Agents get a *lot* of email from people looking for representation; having an offer on the table can be a leg up in finding it. It's at least something an agent would want to know off the bat.

juniper
01-22-2014, 01:09 PM
As you're in the UK, eddmo, and are in receipt of an offer from a publisher, you can now join the Society of Authors which provides free contract-checking and advice to all its members.

I hope this isn't a derail too much - I've seen mention of SoA before and wondered if there's anything comparable in the US?

And if not, why not? How did SoA get started?

eddmo
01-22-2014, 09:00 PM
I seriously appreciate your replies all - especially that invaluable tip, Old Hack. Thank you very much indeed - I'm joining now.

It's a rather unexpected (but pleasant!) turn of events and I feel quite disorientated by it all! Thank you for your help.

Torgo
01-22-2014, 09:03 PM
I hope this isn't a derail too much - I've seen mention of SoA before and wondered if there's anything comparable in the US?

Yes - The Author's Guild (http://www.authorsguild.org/services/).

veinglory
01-22-2014, 09:12 PM
If advice indicates the offer is a good one, you can certainly consider not using an agent.

rac
01-29-2014, 03:25 AM
Do this. It's super advice



Again, I'd look for an agent with non fict sales of the general kind of book in question.

You have an offer in hand; it's much much easier to find an agent.

Standard terms are shifting a bit at present, so an experienced agent is more useful than ever.

Also, with non fiction, sometimes an agent brings a book to you.

Great advice from you and Old Hack!