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gettingby
11-23-2014, 02:43 AM
A few years ago I was in contact with a great agent. She was very helpful and interested in my nonfiction book. Unfortunately, I never finished the book and fell out of touch with this agent. There were things out of my control that prevented me from writing the book, and I do think anyone would understand given the situation. However, I am fully aware that understanding why I went MIA and wanting to work with me again are two separate things. Now, I am writing a memoir and would like to contact the same agent when I am finished. Is this a bad idea? Did I miss my window of opportunity with this agent?

Quickbread
11-23-2014, 05:27 AM
Manuscripts don't always work out for a wide variety of reasons, and agents understand this. I'd go for it, but I'd wait until the new manuscript is totally polished and spit-shined. Look at it this way: You have nothing to lose.

Aggy B.
11-23-2014, 06:44 AM
I agree with Quickbread. I think it's perfectly acceptable to query her with a new project, but I would be sure the new one is finished and super-polished.

I'd also probably not go into great detail about the previous contact. It's not that big a deal that you never finished the last book, but you don't want to sound like you're making excuses or making assumptions about continued interest.

In all likelihood, if they were interested in your work before, they will still be interested. But the contact this time should be about the new book.

Thedrellum
11-23-2014, 11:38 PM
Thirding the above.

gettingby
11-25-2014, 01:29 AM
Thanks, guys. I actually hope she remembers me because it did seem like we would work very well together. Of course, I won't contact her before the book is done. I plan to contact her before any other agents.

LaneHeymont
11-25-2014, 06:04 AM
Thanks, guys. I actually hope she remembers me because it did seem like we would work very well together. Of course, I won't contact her before the book is done. I plan to contact her before any other agents.

Remind her who you are.

Old Hack
11-25-2014, 11:15 AM
Thanks, guys. I actually hope she remembers me because it did seem like we would work very well together. Of course, I won't contact her before the book is done. I plan to contact her before any other agents.

My bold.

I'd contact her at the same time as you contact a lot of other agents. Don't give her an exclusive on your work, especially if she hasn't asked for one: it will only delay you from submitting elsewhere, and it won't benefit you at all.

gettingby
11-30-2014, 02:54 AM
My bold.

I'd contact her at the same time as you contact a lot of other agents. Don't give her an exclusive on your work, especially if she hasn't asked for one: it will only delay you from submitting elsewhere, and it won't benefit you at all.

My plan was to offer her an exclusive because I want to make it clear that she is my first choice to work with. I also was hoping it would make up for what happened last time. Waiting a few months for her to make a decision doesn't sound too bad to me. I have a connection to a small press and was thinking that I might try them rather than a million agents if my old agent isn't interested.

Last time I was looking for an agent, it took a long time. Even though my proposal generated a lot of interest, it seemed like it was taking forever. My book now is a different kind of book, and I don't mind the idea of going with this particular small press if the agent thing doesn't work out. I know I have some time to think about this.

Old Hack
11-30-2014, 03:08 AM
There's no reason for you to give her an exclusive. It won't make it clear that she's your first choice, and even if it did, she wouldn't matter. All that she'll care about is the quality of your work. If it's not good enough she'll reject it; if it's great, she might offer representation. But none of that will go any different if she has an exclusive.

As for trying small presses if you don't get an agent quickly, again, I wouldn't. Why exclude the big presses without really giving them a fair chance, if that's what you want?

gettingby
11-30-2014, 08:04 AM
There's no reason for you to give her an exclusive. It won't make it clear that she's your first choice, and even if it did, she wouldn't matter. All that she'll care about is the quality of your work. If it's not good enough she'll reject it; if it's great, she might offer representation. But none of that will go any different if she has an exclusive.

As for trying small presses if you don't get an agent quickly, again, I wouldn't. Why exclude the big presses without really giving them a fair chance, if that's what you want?

I was going to tell her she was my first choice. Maybe you're right and it won't make a difference. I think I just feel bad about not being able to follow through last time. I know she put time into reading my work and offering direction in the past.

When it comes to the small press, I like the work they publish and know people affiliated with them. I'm not sure my book is meant to be something big. I think it has more of a niche audience. I could be wrong. It would be great to be wrong, but I'm also okay with it being published on a smaller scale.

Old Hack
11-30-2014, 12:59 PM
Being told she's your first choice will make the agent feel happy but it won't make her more likely to offer you representation. Only your writing will do that.

If you're going to work with a small press make sure they have full distribution, not just a wholesale account with their distributors. Otherwise they won't get your books into enough bookshops, it won't sell, and you'll have been better off self publishing.