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gcommon
07-06-2014, 08:39 PM
Hi guys, I've recently started to send out Query letters to different agents for my book series. My series will only have 6 books and I've already written the first two. I have self published the first two through createspace yet I'd still want it to get it picked up by a book publisher of course when it does I'll unpublish it. Here's my question, Do agents take on work that has been self-published? I've read blogs that said some agents do, I've also researched and found information that said if you self publish your book and It's shown potential then it's easier to find an agent or a publisher for it. Or should I just unpublish before I begin to send out more query letters?

kenpochick
07-06-2014, 08:50 PM
The question, I suppose is how many have you sold? http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2013/12/question-about-that-self-publishing.html

If you watch #tenqueries or #inboxinsights on Twitter you see a lot of agents passing automatically if it's self-published simply because it's already published.

I would imagine you're better off just continuing your series as a self-published series, and then look for an agent for a separate work.

gcommon
07-06-2014, 09:07 PM
The question, I suppose is how many have you sold? http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2013/12/question-about-that-self-publishing.html

If you watch #tenqueries or #inboxinsights on Twitter you see a lot of agents passing automatically if it's self-published simply because it's already published.

I would imagine you're better off just continuing your series as a self-published series, and then look for an agent for a separate work.

Thanks for your reply.

cornflake
07-06-2014, 09:21 PM
Hi guys, I've recently started to send out Query letters to different agents for my book series. My series will only have 6 books and I've already written the first two. I have self published the first two through createspace yet I'd still want it to get it picked up by a book publisher of course when it does I'll unpublish it. Here's my question, Do agents take on work that has been self-published? I've read blogs that said some agents do, I've also researched and found information that said if you self publish your book and It's shown potential then it's easier to find an agent or a publisher for it. Or should I just unpublish before I begin to send out more query letters?

It doesn't matter if you take it down - you've already put it up. It's been published, the end.

You cannot 'unpublish' it. The first publishing rights for what you've put up are gone, and for many agents and publishers, that will be a major issue.

If you've sold tens of thousands of copies, you might still get some interest, but otherwise, I'd follow kenpochick's advice and wait to query a different work.

LittleKiwi
07-06-2014, 09:33 PM
If I were you I'd look at this blog where agents talk about it themselves: http://theblabbermouthblog.com/2014/06/09/getting-an-agent-by-self-publishing-your-manuscript-what-some-agents-think/

JulianneQJohnson
07-06-2014, 10:00 PM
I agree. If you have already self published the first two books of the series, than their first publishing rights are gone, whether or not you take it down. Agents and publishers are rarely in the market for second rights, and you would have to have astronomical sales on your own to stand a chance at that.
If I remember correctly, 50 Shades was self published first, and had sales in the tens of thousands before it got picked up. The chances of doing that are similar to the chances of winning the lottery.

gcommon
07-06-2014, 10:09 PM
Thank you all and those articles really shined light on the subject. I will own my series and continue to market it and build sales as self-published and find an agent for another one of my books.

Old Hack
07-06-2014, 11:14 PM
Fifty Shades of Grey wasn't self published: it was published by a tiny publishing house which couldn't cope with its popularity once it took off.

And I agree with everyone else: you can't unpublish those first two books now they have been published; better perhaps to start work on a new, unrelated book and look for an agent to represent that one.

Laer Carroll
07-07-2014, 03:34 AM
I recently read almost 200 guidelines from agents and some 20 from editors of publishers who accept unagented submissions.

Only two said anything negative about works self-published or published by small presses. Both said they’d nevertheless consider works with solid publishing possibilities. One was positive.

Self-publishing is no longer a new phenomenon. Agents, editors, and publishers have adjusted to it. Any disadvantages of not having first rights, for instance, can be overcome with standard legal wording. The low sales of any self-published works is simply par for the course, not a kiss of death.

... you can't unpublish those ... books [that] have been published; better perhaps to start work on a new, unrelated book and look for an agent to represent that one.

Good advice. My own writing has been improved by the self-published books which came before. It’s worth pursuing trade publishing for it, especially since it has the potential to be the start of a series. Too, if it’s a publishing success, my self-published books will also benefit.

Old Hack
07-07-2014, 10:17 AM
They might not say it in the guidelines, Laer, but if an agent has two great books on her desk and is wondering whether or not to offer representation to their authors, if one was self published and the other was unpublished, she would know that the unpublished book was going to be simpler to work with--and that would give it an instant advantage.

Cyia
07-07-2014, 02:58 PM
Getting a self-published novel picked up isn't impossible, but it *can* be more complicated.

First rights isn't as big a deal as it used to be. There are agents and writer/agents on this site who have said it over and over. When self-publishing via Amazon first happened, there was some panic attached to the idea, but that's largely a thing of the past.

What you need to pay attention to is the sales numbers. How long has the book been up? How many copies has it sold? How many people have actually read it? Is there still an audience out there, or have you exhausted the bulk of your potential sales already?

Self-publishing IS publishing; it's not a testing ground. It's not the method by which you secure a commercial publisher. It's a different road to the same end, which is getting your book published and up for sale.

Did you edit the book? If an agent or publisher Googles your name and your title, what sort of information are they going to find? Glowing reviews or complaints about it being amateurish and in need of professional help?

It's not a simple matter of taking the book out of the store.

Old Hack
07-07-2014, 03:45 PM
Self-publishing IS publishing; it's not a testing ground. It's not the method by which you secure a commercial publisher.

Agreed.

Most books which trade publishers sign get to that point through the usual route of querying agents. The ones which are self-published first get into the news because it's so unusual, but because they are seen in the news it's seen as a good route to take. Even though for most people, it's not. Gah.

Laer Carroll
07-11-2014, 12:29 AM
Most books which trade publishers sign get to that point through the usual route of querying agents.

I think you’ve pinpointed the most important factor. Regardless of a book’s history, only if it has made a huge commercial splash already, will an agent or an acquiring editor treat it differently.

The book has to pass through all the usual quality gates which the agent/editor uses. Usually query, synopsis, sample chapters, full MS. Then lots of debate back and forth within the publisher, among the different departments: art, editorial, publicity, scheduling, and all the other functions writers rarely see.

veinglory
07-11-2014, 01:00 AM
Saying they want manuscripts with rights intact (the default) is not anti-self-publishing in any way. It means they want work that has not been published, this excludes work that has been published in any way.

IMHO you can't have it both ways. Self-publishing is a form of publishing--and you can't publish your book and leave the rights intact too.

Tromboli
07-12-2014, 01:44 AM
I've heard a lot of agents talking about this lately (usually on twitter). Apparently its a very common notion with new writers to self publish first then search for and agent/publisher. That's not how it works. Very rarely are already published books picked up. I'm curious where this idea comes from. Just the rare success stories out there? Or is someone telling them to do it?

(To clarify: Its different if you decide to self publish for your own reasons then decide to seek trade publishing. Its another thing to think the first step in finding a trade publisher is self publishing, which seems to be what a lot of newbie writers think)

gingerwoman
07-13-2014, 10:07 AM
There are some imprints at some publishing houses, and some agents that say they don't mind, but many others that still do. You need to check everyone's guidelines individually if you want to try this.

I know for instance that Momentum, and Momentum Moonlight, digital only imprints for the Big Five publisher Macmillian have no problem with previously self published books.

gingerwoman
07-13-2014, 10:08 AM
I've heard a lot of agents talking about this lately (usually on twitter). Apparently its a very common notion with new writers to self publish first then search for and agent/publisher. That's not how it works. Very rarely are already published books picked up. I'm curious where this idea comes from. Just the rare success stories out there? Or is someone telling them to do it?


I've seen people telling people to do it.

veinglory
07-13-2014, 11:08 PM
They seem to think the break though authors who transition to trade represent a standard model, or that self-publishing successful will be a short cut.

It's not that it does not happen, but not so routinely as to be a sensible strategy for most people.

BenPanced
07-14-2014, 12:16 AM
And some of the bigger self-publishing "gurus" tend to neglect they had a fan base already from their trade publishing days when they made the decision to self pub, so it's easy for them to wave their "if I can do it, so can you!" banners.