PDA

View Full Version : What happens if I have an agent but find my own publisher?



Jan B
06-08-2014, 08:55 PM
I should say that I'm in Australia and the publishers here will actually look at work not submitted by an agent.

If I get an agent based in UK or USA and he/she is trying to get me a deal with publishers in those countries, am I still able to submit to publishers in my own country?

What happens if one of those publishers accept? Does my agent still have the right to 15% over my book - even though he/she didn't win the contract?

Can you have separate deals where publisher A publishes your book in one country and publisher B publishes it in another?

Thanks in advance.

Old Hack
06-08-2014, 09:11 PM
I should say that I'm in Australia and the publishers here will actually look at work not submitted by an agent.

If I get an agent based in UK or USA and he/she is trying to get me a deal with publishers in those countries, am I still able to submit to publishers in my own country?

It depends on what you agree with your agent. But if she's actively trying to sell your book, she would probably prefer you not to try to sell it yourself as you might screw up any deals she manages to make for you, and you probably won't submit your book as effectively as she would.


What happens if one of those publishers accept? Does my agent still have the right to 15% over my book - even though he/she didn't win the contract?

Again, it depends on what your contract with your agent says. If your agent does nothing then she probably won't get a commission on the sale: but if you get the sale then she negotiates the contract, she'd get her commission.

I have to ask, though: why would you want to try to sell your book yourself if you have an agent who can find you better contracts with better publishers?


Can you have separate deals where publisher A publishes your book in one country and publisher B publishes it in another?

Yep, that's common.

Jan B
06-08-2014, 09:35 PM
Firstly, thanks for your reply.


I have to ask, though: why would you want to try to sell your book yourself if you have an agent who can find you better contracts with better publishers?

I ask because I have a full MS being read by an agent in UK and if he reps me he may not necessarily have contacts in Australia. We could go 6 months with him submitting to UK publishers and not getting an offer. During that time I could submit to Australian publishers on my own.


If your agent does nothing then she probably won't get a commission on the sale: but if you get the sale then she negotiates the contract, she'd get her commission.

So, generally, the agent doesn't "own" the book once you sign with him? It's only if he actually negotiates a contract with a publisher. That's what I was worried about.

As it turns out, even if I did find my own publisher I'd probably rely on my agent anyway to make sure I got the best deal.

suki
06-08-2014, 09:49 PM
Firstly, thanks for your reply.



I ask because I have a full MS being read by an agent in UK and if he reps me he may not necessarily have contacts in Australia. We could go 6 months with him submitting to UK publishers and not getting an offer. During that time I could submit to Australian publishers on my own.

Well, you can discuss with any prospective agent, before signing with him or her, what their strategy will be, and how to handle the dual market. But speed isn't everything. I know it may feel like "waiting" is frustrating, but you'll need to get used to waiting if you want to be trade published. ;) And the thing is, you and your agent will agree on a strategy before you sign, but it seems highly unlikely the best strategy will be for you to be potentially undermining his efforts by being out there shopping it yourself. So...you should be sure to discuss these concerns with any offering agent before signing with him or her.




So, generally, the agent doesn't "own" the book once you sign with him? It's only if he actually negotiates a contract with a publisher. That's what I was worried about.

First of all, no reputable agent will ever "own" your book. BUT, every decent agency contract will spell out what your agent is entitled to and for what. Many will give the agent the exclusive right to shop your work -- so if you want to shop anything, you need to get your agent's agreement that you can do so. And then you'll need to be clear about what the agent gets from that work, if anything.

But here's the thing, if I'm your agent, why am I going to spend 5 seconds working to try to sell your work if you are out there competing with me? I mean, if I know that you are trying to sell it, too, and if you do I get nothing, then why would I sign you? That is a bad deal for me, since I don't get anything unless I sell it. So...I'd decline to represent you if you wanted to retain the right to shop it yourself, too. A much more likely scenario would be my agreeing that if I don't find a publisher, then, after we have exhausted my contacts, you can shop it yourself and I don't get anything unless I negotiate the contract.

And, for that matter, the agent might say, great, I like input from my clients! Where in Australia would you like it shopped, and then shop it there, too.

So, I guess what it comes down to, if before signing with any agent, you need to discuss how the agent intends to deal with the dual markets and whether he or she will be shopping it to Australian publishers and, if not, can you.


As it turns out, even if I did find my own publisher I'd probably rely on my agent anyway to make sure I got the best deal.

And then, again, the agent would then get his or her commission. BUT, there are a lot of reasons it might not be a good idea for you to be shopping it in one market and the agent in the other. So, you'll need to discuss these scenarios with any prospective agents before signing with them.

~suki

Sage
06-08-2014, 09:50 PM
The agent doesn't own your book, but it would be bad form (and probably unwise) for you to submit the book to publishers behind the agent's back. This would be a conversation you'd want to have with the agent before signing a contract with them.

Why do you think that your proximity to publishers in Australia would result in a more likely sale than an UK agent who may or may not have contacts in Australia? Unless *you* have the contacts in Australia, this would not benefit you more than the agent bringing the manuscript to them, and the agent would still have a better ability to negotiate a contract than you would.

To the best of my knowledge, agents also are in charge of getting foreign rights sold too.

Old Hack
06-09-2014, 12:47 AM
Firstly, thanks for your reply.

You're welcome!


I ask because I have a full MS being read by an agent in UK and if he reps me he may not necessarily have contacts in Australia. We could go 6 months with him submitting to UK publishers and not getting an offer. During that time I could submit to Australian publishers on my own.

Don't do that. Please.

If you get an agent then they will almost certainly have sub-agents and co-agents that they work with, so you'll not lose out.

If you submit the book to any publishers yourself, your agent probably won't be able to submit there again. Your agent will know better than you which editors are going to like your book, and are more likely than you are to get it in front of them.

Once you have an agent then do ask about this but generally, if you're after an agent you don't submit to publishers yourself.


So, generally, the agent doesn't "own" the book once you sign with him? It's only if he actually negotiates a contract with a publisher. That's what I was worried about.

No one ever owns the book but you.

If an agent submits your book to a publisher which subsequently takes it on, your agent will be entitled to a commission on that sale even if the sale happens some time later.


As it turns out, even if I did find my own publisher I'd probably rely on my agent anyway to make sure I got the best deal.

It's better to leave the "finding the publisher" bit to the agent as well as the "negotiating the contract" part. Honest.

WeaselFire
06-09-2014, 01:47 AM
If I get an agent based in UK or USA and he/she is trying to get me a deal with publishers in those countries, am I still able to submit to publishers in my own country?
Do you want an agent or do you not want an agent? If you are going to give some of your money to an agent, why try to do their job for them?

By the way, it's going to take time. If you think you can shorten it by submitting the work yourself you probably should look for a career with more instant gratification.

Jeff

Mr Flibble
06-09-2014, 01:49 AM
It depends on what you agree with your agent.

Seconded

I write under more than one name ion more than one genre frex. My agent only reps one genre -- we agreed I'd continue on my own in the other (as it is possible there) and he'd not take anything for that.

So when you get your agent (first catch your agent...:)) discuss it and come to an arrangement you are both happy with.

Tazlima
06-09-2014, 03:27 AM
Whatever you do, don't do it behind your agent's back. An agent is your partner, not your adversary, and s/he deserves to be treated with the same honesty, respect, and professionalism that you would expect them to provide to you.

MandyHubbard
06-11-2014, 11:35 PM
Just wanted to add--beyond what folks have wisely pointed out here-- is that publisher's often are not buying ONLY For their own country.

I make deals in the US that fall under three times-- North American, World English, or World.

If a US publisher buys world english or world, you CANNOT sell the rights to Australia directly, they are licensed to an AUS pub.

Until you sell to the primary market it's a fruitless endeavor for you to be running around showing it to everyone else when you may not end up controlling those rights at all.