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Luzoni
07-14-2015, 10:10 PM
Ok, so after over a year, almost two in fact, with my first novel out on submission, I finally had a smaller press bite. They contacted my agent and sent her a contract that she described as a template. She said she was waiting on the official offer. A week goes by before I asked for more info, having expected more news by then, and she told me the template was the official offer after all. She's waiting to hear back from editors who still have the book right now I guess before beginning negotiations with the publisher.

My question about this is that at this point it's been a week and a half roughly since she told me about this publisher being interested. I have not yet seen the contract they sent so I know zilch about this. She's busy this week and still waiting on responses. Is this normal for this process? I always imagined things would move much faster once a publisher decided they wanted the novel. But the truth is I don't know squat so I came here to see what anyone here knows from their experiences. I went from ecstatic when I first learned of their interest to doubting it'd happen after a week went by. I know it's a slow business...this publisher had the novel a full year before expressing interest. So...any thoughts?? Is this normal?

Dennis E. Taylor
07-14-2015, 10:42 PM
Oh, man, this never gets any better, does it? Each milestone is just an invitation to a new level of stressing.:e2hammer:

mayqueen
07-14-2015, 11:28 PM
My understanding is that it is normal. I have no actual experience, but from what I've heard, publishers can move quite slowly, even at the contract stage.

Becca C.
07-15-2015, 12:40 AM
Normal! If it had been a month, I might be more worried, but a week and a half to gather replies from other editors before proceeding with an offer is totally normal. Good luck!

Luzoni
07-15-2015, 01:59 AM
Thank you guys for the input! I thought it was likely normal but my family are all sitting around mouths agape assuming this is taking an inordinate amount of time. While it's tough to wait, I shouldn't have let their doubts get to me.

Oh, and Angry Guy, you cracked me up. :ROFL: I also went and read your thread. Congrats! But take heart that my experience may not be like yours at all. I have encountered some people here who had rapid sales. But overall my advice would be to take a deep breath and continue practicing that most hated of virtues: patience. I thought I was getting really good at it and then this came along!

Captcha
07-15-2015, 03:57 PM
I agree that it's normal. I've had contracts that have taken months to finalize, even though we weren't asking for any huge concessions - it just doesn't seem to be a big priority at the publisher end. I had one recent contract where the editor was sending me revisions and I still had no contract! If I'd walked away then, I guess they'd just have had to eat that editor's wasted time?

WeaselFire
07-17-2015, 03:33 AM
I've had this even without an agent, negotiating myself or as part of a writing team. It's pretty normal. Note that you aren't necessarily getting anything better or worse by this happening, but you are keeping yourself from being limited by jumping on the very first bite.

Jeff

Luzoni
07-17-2015, 07:27 PM
Thank you again everyone for sharing your experiences! It's been really reassuring. I do have another question, or something I've been wondering anyway: Has any one here had another publisher nudged into action by the first publisher's interest? I ask because my agent had this novel out with several other publishers who she's now waiting to hear back from first before responding to the first publisher's offer. Some of those publishers are a lot bigger than the one who offered. So..has anyone had another fish decide to take a bite once there's been a first nibble? I'm wondering how likely or unlikely that will be...

Captcha
07-17-2015, 07:54 PM
Thank you again everyone for sharing your experiences! It's been really reassuring. I do have another question, or something I've been wondering anyway: Has any one here had another publisher nudged into action by the first publisher's interest? I ask because my agent had this novel out with several other publishers who she's now waiting to hear back from first before responding to the first publisher's offer. Some of those publishers are a lot bigger than the one who offered. So..has anyone had another fish decide to take a bite once there's been a first nibble? I'm wondering how likely or unlikely that will be...

Yes, I've had that. Once you get one offer, everything else seems to get kicked into gear at other publishers, and other offers can come out of that.

It's an interesting process, but pretty nerve-racking the first time through!

Becca C.
07-19-2015, 07:04 AM
Thank you again everyone for sharing your experiences! It's been really reassuring. I do have another question, or something I've been wondering anyway: Has any one here had another publisher nudged into action by the first publisher's interest? I ask because my agent had this novel out with several other publishers who she's now waiting to hear back from first before responding to the first publisher's offer. Some of those publishers are a lot bigger than the one who offered. So..has anyone had another fish decide to take a bite once there's been a first nibble? I'm wondering how likely or unlikely that will be...

I have no concrete offers yet, but any time an editor tells my agent she's loving the book so far or wanting to talk to her boss about it, my agent updates all the other editors saying "We've got interest over at Blah Blah Books..." So it's definitely something that can happen, and something agents try to make happen!

Perks
07-19-2015, 07:17 AM
Yeah, it's actually really slow. Or it can be. I was so antsy for the paperwork to be signed and filed once the offer had been made. It took quite some convincing me, but it would be quite rare for a reputable house not to follow through. It might just drag on for weeks, even months, before you get the papers in your hand.

I was reassured over and over that the rest of the gears were still grinding away - the scheduling and even sometimes the editing start before all the papers are signed, once all the terms are agreed to, that is.

Luzoni
07-22-2015, 11:50 PM
Ugh the waiting is KILLING me. My agent told me she had written off the remaining editors as they never got back to her and had been silent for a year about the MS. So she started official negotiations on Friday, suggesting changes to the contract. Haven't heard a peep since then and I'm trying really, really, really hard not to badger her for news when I know she will tell me when I need to know. It's just really hard cuz at this point I know nothing! *grumble grumble*

Luzoni
08-07-2015, 06:27 PM
And...still waiting.

Is this still normal???

Captcha
08-07-2015, 06:40 PM
And...still waiting.

Is this still normal???

I don't think it's unusual for the negotiations to take this long, but... are you going this long without hearing from your agent? Have you tried to contact her to check in?

It wouldn't take her long to send a "everything's in process, don't worry about it," e-mail.

Luzoni
08-07-2015, 07:51 PM
No, I've checked in with her about every week. She said she was still waiting to hear back from them about contract changes.

Captcha
08-07-2015, 08:02 PM
I wouldn't worry, then.

I mean, it's not impossible that things have gone wrong, but it's a lot more likely that it's just sitting in a pile on someone's desk, waiting to be looked at. It's like they don't realize that the fate of the damn world depends on getting that contract signed!!!

Jamesaritchie
08-07-2015, 08:09 PM
I'd start to worry. This doesn't sound normal from word one.

Captcha
08-07-2015, 08:20 PM
I'd start to worry. This doesn't sound normal from word one.

Of course I don't expect you to return to the thread to engage, but in case you do - which was word one, and what seemed abnormal about it?

DerekReiner
08-11-2015, 07:56 AM
August is supposedly a dead month in publishing...so part of the delay could be that. Vacations and such.

BethKLewis
08-11-2015, 02:49 PM
Don't worry about it. Contracts take ages. I got my US deal in early March and I haven't seen the contract yet. I'm also making books at my day job where I've been waiting 2 years for a contract. It can take AGES, especially if your agent is negotiating terms. Don't panic and don't nag your agent, she's doing her best. If it gets to October and you don't hear anything, then get worried.

MandyHubbard
08-12-2015, 01:01 AM
Don't worry about it. Contracts take ages. I got my US deal in early March and I haven't seen the contract yet. I'm also making books at my day job where I've been waiting 2 years for a contract. It can take AGES, especially if your agent is negotiating terms. Don't panic and don't nag your agent, she's doing her best. If it gets to October and you don't hear anything, then get worried.

This thread seems to be conflating two different things-- closing a deal, and negotiating a contract.

An agent negotiates all the key deal terms up front, usually within an offer memo. Then a contract is generated and the boilerplate negotiated.

Sometimes the small pubs do just send a contract as the offer, which I hate, because I don't want to negotiate nitty gritty boilerplate if I can't get the deal I want.

A few weeks or more for a CONTRACT NEGOTIATION, okay, that's normal. Several weeks just to negotiate the deal itself is pretty long.

And I find it odd that your agent "never heard from "several editors, when she has an offer in hand. I chase down every last editor within a few days of an offer.

Luzoni
08-13-2015, 04:56 AM
Mandy, thank you for your insight! My agent was confused with this one I think because she was waiting for a while for them to send the "offer." They'd sent a boilerplate contract but no offer. She learned that was the contract or something and so she began negotiating on that. So this is contract negotiation, I think. Does that sound right to you?

My agent said the editors she wrote off had had the MS for a year and though she nudged them had never responded. I assumed that was silent rejection and I think so did she. I assumed agents can get silent rejections. Is that not so?

MandyHubbard
08-13-2015, 09:54 PM
Mandy, thank you for your insight! My agent was confused with this one I think because she was waiting for a while for them to send the "offer." They'd sent a boilerplate contract but no offer. She learned that was the contract or something and so she began negotiating on that. So this is contract negotiation, I think. Does that sound right to you?

My agent said the editors she wrote off had had the MS for a year and though she nudged them had never responded. I assumed that was silent rejection and I think so did she. I assumed agents can get silent rejections. Is that not so?

Well if they send a contract they've certainly offered, you don't THEN wait for an offer. If I got that, and it was as pub I'm willing to work with, I would then notify all the other pubs with a week deadline to offer or not. If everyone else bowed out, I would comb over the contract for key deal points and reach an agreement on those with the first publisher. The main points-- advance, royalties, rights, option, etc. If we agree on the basic deal points, then we have a deal, and THEN I'd go through the contract nitty gritty.

Not that everyone would do it that way. But I don't like to waste my time if I am only willing to send them X rights and expect X advance/royalties and they won't budge.

I don't assume it's a silent rejection, but I do assume those are blackhole editors and I don't submit to them again. But if they had an MS and I had an offer in hand, I do call and email and call and email, before moving on... and never sending them a new submission.

Luzoni
08-26-2015, 08:24 PM
Is checking in with my agent once a week too often? I know theres no news because I haven't heard anything from her, so I let about two weeks go by just twiddling my thumbs, then broke down and sent an email asking how things are, but I've not heard from her yet a day later. Sometimes I think she misses my emails in her always swamped inbox, but I don't want to be a pest so I'm still twiddling my thumbs.

The wait is KILLING me. Anyone have any good suggestions for distractions and stress relief for this kind of thing??

Luzoni
09-21-2015, 06:57 PM
So, here I am, almost a month later, and almost two months after negotiations began...still I've not had any communication with the publisher. My agent tells me she's heard they're still working on it and are interested in looking at another of my manuscripts, but that anxious voice in the back of my head can't help but panic. So many of you said you worked on MS with the publisher before signing, but I've not talked with them at all. What in earth can they be doing that'd make this take so long?? Don't they know they're killing me?!?! Even my agent seems to think this is getting extreme.

I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do. IS there anything I can do? HELP!

Perks
09-21-2015, 07:48 PM
So many of you said you worked on MS with the publisher before signing, but I've not talked with them at all. What in earth can they be doing that'd make this take so long?? Don't they know they're killing me?!?! Even my agent seems to think this is getting extreme.

I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do. IS there anything I can do? HELP!

If they haven't even come around to making the official offer, you should talk to your agent about doing any more work on the manuscript until this is a bit more clear. Either they make an offer, or ask for a revise and resubmit, but they need to do something to bring you into their fold. Everything in publishing moves relatively slowly. I worked on my first book for probably two months before I received my contract paperwork, but we had an offer and I'd talked to my editor and had been reassured by my agent and my editor that this was just how things worked and not to worry, because the deal was not going to evaporate. It was decided, it was just in the paperwork pipeline.

Somebody needs to do something to set you at ease and give you a reason to get scrubbing on that manuscript.

Did you look on the Bewares, Recommendation & Background Checks forum here? (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?22-Bewares-Recommendations-amp-Background-Check)See if your publisher has a thread there. Might be helpful in getting insight.

Luzoni
09-21-2015, 08:11 PM
The publisher sent the boilerplate template to my agent way back in July. From other comments made previously it sounds like that was the offer. My agent didn't seem to understand that was what it was at the time, which was weird, but she talked with them and figured out that was the offer. But I have not communicated with the publisher at all. I don't have any marching orders with the MS. I should probably ask my agent about that, if they'll want more changes and if I should be starting that now.

Toothpaste
09-21-2015, 08:13 PM
Do you have a book deal? Have they made an offer? Has there been an announcement in PM?

My publisher offered on my book back in March. This came in the form of an email with a detailed outline on what the advance would be as well as payment schedule. Now, I didn't get the official contract until June. However in that time my agent negotiated with the publisher for a higher advance and an official announcement was made in Publishers Marketplace (http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-book-news/article/66133-rights-report-week-of-april-6-2015.html). Also I didn't get my edits until last month, well after I'd signed the contract.

So basically my point is, yes things are slow in this business, but you should still know where you stand with this publisher. And to me this all sounds a little wishy washy, like they are interested but aren't sure yet and haven't made the official offer. I'd be concerned if that was the case.

Luzoni
09-21-2015, 09:27 PM
At this point, Toothpaste, I have no idea! LOL. I don't have PM (Publishers marketplace?) so I'm kinda out of the loop. If there was an announcement (I don't think there was) my agent didn't share it on Twitter.

Jamesaritchie
09-21-2015, 10:29 PM
It's a bit unusual for an agent to approach a small press, unless this is a literary novel, but the time frame is not unusual. Your agent not keeping you in the look, and giving you every detail, is unusual.

By this time, you should know everything, including the details of the offered contract, and what the agent is trying to get during negotiations. It's not up to the agent to say what is or isn't satisfactory, it's up to you, and you should be away of the exact nature of every offer, from first to last. If you aren't made aware, the agent is not doing his or her job, and you aren't doing yours.

The agent works for you, not the other way around. Get on the phone and find out what's happening. Exactly what's happening.

Luzoni
09-21-2015, 10:48 PM
Jamesaritchie, my agent does have an issue with communication. I have to nudge her routinely for news. I mean, when she has big news, like this deal, she tells me. When she has a rejection that she thinks is significant and suggests I should revise, she lets me know. She also tells me, most of the time, when and where she's sent an MS. But she doesn't usually feed.me.exact names of editors and I've not seen the publishers "boilerplate" in this case. I've just written to her asking for that and for what's being negotiated. Can't call right now.

I think my agent's issue is she has a full time job and she's an author too. She just never has enough time. And some if it's me. I need to buck up and be a squeakier wheel so she can't forget about me.

Toothpaste
09-21-2015, 10:53 PM
I dunno. She should be telling you all the details about the offer and what's going on without you having to bug her. I mean, that's just her job. And if there was an announcement in PM (I don't subscribe either) someone at the agency or publisher should have let you know. I mean, yes, things move slowly, but you should know for sure if you have a book deal or not and what the offer is. I mean, how do you as an author get to accept or reject the offer without knowing it?

Luzoni
09-21-2015, 11:11 PM
I did know I had a deal. I just didn't know anything about it. She was fast and got back to me with the contract. At least now I can look at that.

Toothpaste
09-21-2015, 11:42 PM
Okay cool. Glad you have the contract. For the record, you shouldn't just have a deal but know nothing about it. Your agent ought to present you with an offer and then ask if you accept it. You are the final decision maker. Not your agent. And the only way to make an informed choice is to know what's on the table. Even if the publisher doesn't pay an advance, you should still be told as much and be allowed to decide if you're okay with that.

(as an example, my agent called me to tell me we had an offer. It was a three book deal and they were offering a certain amount of money. She then said that obviously she would ask for more but what did I think as a starting point. Of course I thought it was amazing and told her to accept it.)

Sheryl Nantus
09-22-2015, 12:41 AM
I think my agent's issue is she has a full time job and she's an author too. She just never has enough time. And some if it's me. I need to buck up and be a squeakier wheel so she can't forget about me.

This concerns me greatly.

If she wants to be an agent then she is an AGENT and has to put her clients first. She's asking for 15% of your royalties!

Please check the contract before you sign it - I've never heard of a publisher putting out the PR on a deal without having the signed contract back in their hands - and if you haven't seen it or signed it then...

Sorry, this all sounds as hinky as hell. I'm not sure if you've got a bad agent and/or a bad publisher or what. Please consider checking both of them out in the Bewares forum before signing that contract.

JMO, YMMV.

Luzoni
09-22-2015, 04:32 PM
Sheryl, both the agent and publisher are reputable. I do know my agent can be slow and distracted, so she's not ideal but I came to the conclusion I'd rather have her (she gives great revision suggestions and I like her) than go backward by leaving her and looking elsewhere. I'm not sure what you mean by deal PR. Like i said, I don't think there's been anything announced yet. I expect she'll do that when they've finished the negotiations. I get the impression my agent has never sold to a publisher as small as the one I'm selling to. Niche novel, gritty subject matter, made it a tough sell.

Toothpaste
09-22-2015, 05:08 PM
Luzoni - to make us all feel a bit better can you tell us step by step the process that went into getting this deal. Who communicated what with whom etc? A bit like. "My agent submitted my work to the publisher. When the publisher had read three chapters they got in touch and said they were enjoying it. A month later the publisher said they wanted to make an offer. My agent called a week later with an offer. I said go for it. Then . . . " that kind of thing? I think we are quite confused at this point what has actually happened especially as I feel we are all using different terms possibly for the same thing.

Luzoni
09-22-2015, 06:09 PM
Sure, Toothpaste! I was just thinking that might be an issue...
My agent submitted my novel to the publisher back in summer 2014 when they opened to submission again. She nudged them periodically but heard nothing from them until early July when they sent her an email saying they wanted the purchase it and they included the boilerplate template of the contract. My agent let me know then in July and asked if I was interested. She encouraged me to check them out. I did. She and I agreed it would be a good fit.
My agent then waited for replies from other editors who still had it, but by this point she had only a handful who hadn't rejected and most were a year plus out. Settling on this publisher then, in mid to later July she sent in the contract to begin negotiating it.
In the two months since then it's been fairly quiet. I check in with her about my second book in submission and ask if she's had any news from the publisher. I didn't get to look at the contract initially, but she was happy to send it to me when I asked.

There's been no announcements on social media by my agent on this deal yet. Both she and I are on Twitter so I do see when she makes tweets for other authors book releases. Usually it's for book releases and not deals, I think.

Toothpaste
09-22-2015, 06:29 PM
Ah okay! This feels much better than how it was coming across. All seems legit. And the timeline for the contract sounds fine too. Those take FOREVER.

The one thing maybe I'd ask is if you could make an official announcement. Normally such announcements are made before contracts are officially signed since they take so long. Like I said, we made the announcement beginning of April and got the contract in June. I think you should ask if there is a plan to announce it in Publishers Marketplace. If not, then ask if you are allowed to write an official announcement of your own. If not, then see if you can get a timeline from the publisher when you'd be allowed to. I just like having a public announcement just as reassurance that even though contracts aren't signed it's all happening. It's a little extra security. Not necessary, but might be something you might want to ask about.

Luzoni
09-22-2015, 06:47 PM
For all I know there may have been an announcement in PM a d since I don't have a subscription I just never saw it. Usually the agent who runs my agent's agency will announce her own deals on facebook, I think. I need to sign up for PM. I'll consult with my agent on when/if there's been an announcement. Is it possible to look up past deals in PM?

Toothpaste
09-22-2015, 06:51 PM
I honestly don't know. I don't have a subscription. Can't you just ask if there was one?

I will say that Publishers Weekly does seem to sum up the deals from the week, and that's that link I sent you. So if you google your name and your book's name maybe it'll come up. But seriously, just ask your agent.

"Hey!

I was curious if there had been any official announcement of the deal in PM or if there was a plan for one. If not, would it be cool for me to announce it online since we are for sure doing it, just figuring out the details of the contract. No worries if not yet. But it would be great then to get a timeline on when I can start telling folks and promoting the deal! Thanks for the help!

best,
Me"

lacygnette
09-22-2015, 10:47 PM
I used to have a PM subscription and yes, you can look up past deals.

Fuchsia Groan
09-23-2015, 08:22 AM
I would ask your agent to send you a screenshot of the PM announcement when it happens, which you can then share around. Agents like the announcement because it's a time to start building buzz for the book; mine suggested I start a blog to post that (which is now my author website).

lizmonster
09-23-2015, 04:12 PM
I would ask your agent to send you a screenshot of the PM announcement when it happens, which you can then share around. Agents like the announcement because it's a time to start building buzz for the book; mine suggested I start a blog to post that (which is now my author website).

When I sold, my agent told me not all deals were announced in PM (mine was). It's a marketing tool, like any other, and I'm led to understand that it's not necessarily a red flag if your deal doesn't appear there.

OTOH, getting an idea of what the publisher WILL be doing for marketing and publicity is pretty important, so the question is a good place to start.

Perks
09-23-2015, 04:22 PM
Yes, not every deal made everywhere is announced on Publishers Marketplace. If you do decide to get a subscription, you can look up deals by your agent's name, but also by the publisher's. That way you can see what deals have been announced that involve either the agent or the publisher. It's still useful information, even if, for some reason, your deal was not reported to Publishers Marketplace.

lizmonster
09-23-2015, 04:39 PM
Yes, not every deal made everywhere is announced on Publishers Marketplace. If you do decide to get a subscription, you can look up deals by your agent's name, but also by the publisher's. That way you can see what deals have been announced that involve either the agent or the publisher. It's still useful information, even if, for some reason, your deal was not reported to Publishers Marketplace.

Did not mean to suggest PM wasn't a good tool. I only mentioned it because I didn't want OP to freak out if the agent came back and said there wasn't an announcement. :)

Perks
09-23-2015, 04:44 PM
Did not mean to suggest PM wasn't a good tool. I only mentioned it because I didn't want OP to freak out if the agent came back and said there wasn't an announcement. :)
Oh no! I wasn't taking that you meant it that way at all. Only agreeing with you that, yes, if Luzoni got a PM subscription that the deal (assuming it's a consummated deal) might not be reported yet or at all. Then I was suggesting ways that PM searches could still be useful in getting a picture of where these players fit in the industry currently.

Sorry if I wasn't clear! Caffeine has not been uploaded this morning yet.

lizmonster
09-23-2015, 04:59 PM
Sorry if I wasn't clear! Caffeine has not been uploaded this morning yet.

:) Pre-caffeine here as well. :Coffee:

Something of an aside - but I got the impression that PM announcements were paid for by the agency, and not the publisher? And as I think about it, I'm not sure exactly where I got that idea; but it would explain some of the inconsistent reporting. Does anybody know if that's the case, or if my brain somehow made that up?

Perks
09-23-2015, 05:06 PM
I have not heard about who pays for it, but it's an interesting question.

Sheryl Nantus
09-23-2015, 05:26 PM
Usually PM postings will show up in Google after a day or two - the link won't take you to the actual page but you can get some idea of the context.

I've had two deals announced in PW and my agent has sent me the announcements so I have them on file to use for my own.

:)

lizmonster
09-23-2015, 06:05 PM
I came across this post on Janet Reid's blog (http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2015/04/query-question-reliability-of.html) that both answers my question about PM, and has some good general questions to ask an agent about sales if they don't post on PM (or do it inconsistently).

Dennis E. Taylor
09-23-2015, 06:47 PM
Caffeine has not been uploaded this morning yet.

Step away from the keyboard.

Perks
09-23-2015, 06:52 PM
Step away from the keyboard.

Wait. I've had coffee AND tea now. Can I stay? Please?!

Luzoni
09-23-2015, 07:10 PM
LOL, I've been caffeinated so I think I got this...

All in all it sounds like PM is really a good idea. A basic google search with my name and the publisher together didn't turn anything up so I'm pretty sure theres been no announcement. I'll ask my agent if she expects there will be one.

It's been fun chatting here...at least it distracts me from the hopelessness of waiting. Hasn't stopped me from quietly freaking with excitement every time I get an email, even knowing it's going to be junk mail. Seriously, I got like five junk emails on Monday and it was just infuriating because every time I thought, there's NO way this could not be it, I just don't have anyone else who'd conceivably email me! WRONG! Laura TravelAgent wants me to know about great deals on a trip to the Bahamas! Ugh! -_-

Luzoni
09-23-2015, 07:18 PM
Oh and don't forget all the twitter emails. I have a new follower, someone from @SpammyBotRetweets!

Perks
09-23-2015, 07:34 PM
It's been fun chatting here...at least it distracts me from the hopelessness of waiting. Hasn't stopped me from quietly freaking with excitement every time I get an email, even knowing it's going to be junk mail.


Oh, I have a terrible story about that. So, I wrote one book and queried it to death and got nowhere. Between that novel and one short story, I racked up nearly a hundred rejections. That's a hundred times of getting an email (or my SASE back in the mailbox - I'm that old) with my heart in my mouth, doubthopewishing that this time, it would be a yes. It never was.

So I wrote another book (all the rejection gave me plenty of time to read more and write more and get better at what I was attempting to do), queried it a bit and got an agent. Woo hoo! Happy days! My time of heart-sinking clicking on emails is ov--- oh wait. Shit. Now we start over with my hands trembling to click for the news about submissions. I was a maniac. I couldn't stop refreshing my email. How 'bout now? Now? Okay, go make the beds and then you can check again. How 'bout now?

*sigh*

Well, one morning, there was an email in my inbox. You know how, in your email, you can see the sender, the subject line, and a few words of the body of the email? This one was from my agent, with a subject line about my book, and the opening line of "Finally, finally! Some good..."

I almost had a heart attack. My hands were shaking so hard that I knocked the mouse halfway across the desk when I lunged to click for the rest of the message. Imagine my face when the next word turned out to be "weather".

"Finally, finally! Some good... weather."

I emailed back a screenshot of what I could see and told my agent. "Yeah, thanks for that. Now I'm having scotch for breakfast."

Quickbread
09-23-2015, 07:45 PM
When's the last time you were in touch with your agent?

I can't say whether the deal sounds legit or not, but it does sound like your agent is overloaded with having a full-time job and her own writing in addition to agenting. A legit agent isn't always the same thing as a good one. Be sure she's representing you well and working for your best interests.

Dennis E. Taylor
09-23-2015, 08:23 PM
I almost had a heart attack. My hands were shaking so hard that I knocked the mouse halfway across the desk when I lunged to click for the rest of the message. Imagine my face when the next word turned out to be "weather".

"Finally, finally! Some good... weather."


Be thankful you weren't checking your email on your phone, or you'd need a new phone. :Hammer:

Luzoni
09-23-2015, 08:52 PM
I would totally quote you guys, but I'm posting from my phone so it's a miracle I get passable punctuation a d spelling (well, sometimes). Incorporating a quote would probably make my phone explode!

That is a hilarious story, Perks. I'd say your agent totally trolled you and trolled you good! Angry Guy's right too...I'd have probably thrown my phone across the room. Wow.

Quick Bread, my phone won't let me type your name properly, sorry about that, but I've gone through a lot of back and forth about my agent and the publisher and such here already...the publisher is legit and has a great rep, tho they're very small. So I'm not worried about them at all. My agent...I do have some doubts about her because she can be so slow and distracted. It will take months before she reads a new book from me, but she's always given me great advice on the material. All in all I decided I was better off sticking with her to at least see her sell this first book. And she has a second one that is more mainstream than the one that's being negotiated, so hopefully an easier sale. I had just given up on the first one selling when wham! News in July. So, patience is a virtue.

Like Angry Guy said in a previous post. This never gets easier!

Luzoni
10-12-2015, 04:57 PM
I thought I'd update everyone...STILL WAITING!!! >_<

RightHoJeeves
10-12-2015, 06:56 PM
This is why I am going to self publish.

Toothpaste
10-12-2015, 07:37 PM
This is why I am going to self publish.

Yeah I know right? I mean, god forbid we have some patience, take the time to do some things, don't have instant gratification.

Look, I'm all for self publishing. There are many excellent reasons to do it. A reason not to? Impatience.

RightHoJeeves
10-13-2015, 02:33 AM
Yeah I know right? I mean, god forbid we have some patience, take the time to do some things, don't have instant gratification.

Look, I'm all for self publishing. There are many excellent reasons to do it. A reason not to? Impatience.

Hey now, I'm not advocating instant gratification. I'm not saying people should whip up something then just throw it up online as soon as they've typed 'the end'. Self publishers need to spend the time and money to make sure their product can compete with trade published stuff.

I know the publishing industry is very slow, but waiting around for months and months while people may or may not get back to me just does not sound like a fulfilling way to do things. It would send me insane. Maybe this wasn't the right place to say it, because the OP does have a deal, which is great. But there is a difference between "being impatient" and "wanting things to happen sometime this month".

Toothpaste
10-13-2015, 03:47 AM
I agree, this likely is the wrong venue to say it. As you yourself said, the OP isn't talking about waiting around to hear if they have a deal, the OP is waiting around for a contract which is something that has so much red tape in every industry. Paper work is always notoriously slow.

And fine, if waiting is not fulfilling to you that's perfectly okay you are free to choose whatever option works best for you. But I still maintain that "wanting things to happen this month" when it's just not always possible IS being impatient. Because it isn't all about you. It isn't all about your timeline. It isn't all that matters. And just because you want it to be faster doesn't mean it ought to be nor that it is wise to be. I just had my book release pushed back several months. Yes, that means I have to wait longer, but would it have been better for my book to come out in direct competition with major authors and celebs who were releasing at the time of my original release? Where no one would notice my book and it would get buried? Or is it better to wait a couple months so my book has a chance of standing out?

At any rate, like I said, I think self publishing can be a great tool and I love that authors now have more control over their careers. But again, sometimes slow and steady is a good thing. And once you have an agent and a publisher you aren't in the situation of "may or may not get back to me". You know that they will, and they do. And I do think a lot of the people who push self publishing over all other kinds of publishing do push the whole not having to wait angle. As well as the vilifying of editors and agents angle (which the "may or may not get back to me" thing also plays into, as if all agents and editors are all selfish and don't care that authors are waiting on them. I mean, heck an agent in another thread here just today found it really distasteful that any agent would not get back to someone in a timely fashion). Which is why I react quite strongly to it.

Self publish because you have a book that suits a very small niche. Self publish because you are a wizard at marketing, maybe used to run the department at a big 5 and have crazy good connections and an amazing book on top of that. Self publish because what you have sits on the borders of too many different genres and no one knows where to place it. Self publish because you don't really care if you sell any books but just want your friends to be able to read what you've written.

But I just don't think one ought to self publish because the process is slow. It's not the right reason in my opinion, and throwing a casual "that's why I'm self publishing" as a response to someone waiting isn't helpful. It just perpetuates stereotypes and myths. And honestly, I don't think that's why you're self publishing at all. I think you likely have many many more important reasons to do it than the trade route taking too long.

RightHoJeeves
10-13-2015, 04:39 AM
But I just don't think one ought to self publish because the process is slow. It's not the right reason in my opinion, and throwing a casual "that's why I'm self publishing" as a response to someone waiting isn't helpful.

Fair call. Apologies for derailing the thread.

Cathy C
10-13-2015, 06:41 AM
The contract process is pretty slow. It can take months, even with a large agency and prior deals to work from. Typically, I don't report deals to PM Until both I and the publisher have signed the contract (call me superstitious... ;) )

If you're confident in your agent's abilities, hang in there. :) But just FYI, I do have a subscription to Publisher's Marketplace and can look up her prior deals if you like. Just PM me her name and the name you're writing under and I'll take a look.

MandyHubbard
10-13-2015, 11:32 PM
Something of an aside - but I got the impression that PM announcements were paid for by the agency, and not the publisher? And as I think about it, I'm not sure exactly where I got that idea; but it would explain some of the inconsistent reporting. Does anybody know if that's the case, or if my brain somehow made that up?

No one pays for an announcement. Submitting them can be done by any PM member at no cost (other than your $20/month membership fees).

Agents generally submit them, with the editor's blessing.

Luzoni
10-14-2015, 07:02 PM
I'll contact my agent again this week to ask if there's been any back and forth between her and the publisher that I don't know about. This is a teensy tiny publisher, but with a very solid rep. I'd feel better if I had contact with the publisher, but it seems like that's not going to happen until contract is signed. The contract has parts for revisions to specify timeline and such but it doesn't seem to be a priority at the moment. Many ppl here said the publisher had an editor assigned to them right away and began editing before contracts had been signed. That doesn't seem to be happening here.

This publisher did take a little over a year to read the MS and decide they wanted it. So...I hope it doesn't take them another year to get the contract dealt with. They want to look at my next MS, but the thought of how long all this has taken first time around makes me anxious, even tho you guys have been great at reassuring me not to worry and that this process is slow...glaciers apparently move faster. I can't help but wonder if a different publisher would move a little faster. Plus I'm hoping the next MS goes to a bigger publisher anyway, regardless of speed.

MandyHubbard
10-14-2015, 08:12 PM
I'll contact my agent again this week to ask if there's been any back and forth between her and the publisher that I don't know about. This is a teensy tiny publisher, but with a very solid rep. I'd feel better if I had contact with the publisher, but it seems like that's not going to happen until contract is signed. The contract has parts for revisions to specify timeline and such but it doesn't seem to be a priority at the moment. Many ppl here said the publisher had an editor assigned to them right away and began editing before contracts had been signed. That doesn't seem to be happening here.

This publisher did take a little over a year to read the MS and decide they wanted it. So...I hope it doesn't take them another year to get the contract dealt with. They want to look at my next MS, but the thought of how long all this has taken first time around makes me anxious, even tho you guys have been great at reassuring me not to worry and that this process is slow...glaciers apparently move faster. I can't help but wonder if a different publisher would move a little faster. Plus I'm hoping the next MS goes to a bigger publisher anyway, regardless of speed.

Firstly every time someone on AW says an agent or publisher has a "very solid rep" I cringe a little because I see it SO OFTEN with agents and publishers I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. It's shockingly easy for an agent or publisher to have a "very good rep" to writers who are at arm's length, and meanwhile 90% of agents are like "oh god that's a shmagent" or "that is a publisher I won't submit to even if my clients request it." So please, don't rely on a reputation to sell you on things, rely also on their actions to date. With both your agent and your publisher.

You started asking questions in JULY, acknowledging that you were confused about whether you had an offer, and even your agent was confused (how is this not a quick clarification by your agent to the publisher? Why would she receive a contract and say "wait, is this a formal offer?") and it's now been three months. have you even seen the draft contract, along with your agents notes/requests? How long does it take your agent to review and comment on a contract, and how long does it take the publisher to reply to said requests?

Is this publisher a one-man show? A contracts person can work with your agent while your editor works on moving the book through production (edits, copyedits, typesetting, etc). Why is editorial twiddling their thumbs?

This whole thing just sounds so vague and slow and your agent appears to be doing very little to spur the process along.

Luzoni
10-14-2015, 09:16 PM
Mandy, my agent and others on AW have all agreed when I tell them who the publisher is that they are reputable. I can PM you if you're curious. My agent told me today that she nudged them back in late September and was told they were looking at it that day...almost three weeks later, no word. She said she would try again today. She said she cannot find a phone number to contact them.

I have seen the contract as my agent sent it to me when I asked for it a month or so ago. Everyone seems to think this process normally takes forever, but yeah, I'm worried. But what the heck am I supposed to do??

Quickbread
10-15-2015, 12:31 AM
You may be right, Luzoni, but it sounds very odd.

Your agent does not have the phone number of the editor she submitted your manuscript to? And the publisher isn't listed in the phone book and doesn't have a phone number on their website? It's not on the contract draft she has a copy of? How does your agent talk to editor(s) at this house and pitch her clients' work? I thought this contact info was standard shared info among agents and editors.

Sheryl Nantus
10-15-2015, 12:48 AM
You may be right, Luzoni, but it sounds very odd.

Your agent does not have the phone number of the editor she submitted your manuscript to? And the publisher isn't listed in the phone book and doesn't have a phone number on their website? How does your agent talk to editor(s) at this house and pitch her clients' work? I thought this contact info was standard shared info among agents and editors.

It's only my opinion but this really reeks to me. We don't have phone numbers? What, is she sending them notes by pigeon?

I'm not sure if the fault is with your agent or the publisher. You stated before, IIRC, that your agent is also an author. That concerns me - an agent is an agent; their sole job is to sell your work. If she's taking time out to work on her own book and/or sell her work then she's not working for you.

This may be legit but I'm seeing red flags all over the place. But then, not my agent and not my book.

:(

JetFueledCar
10-15-2015, 12:56 AM
It's only my opinion but this really reeks to me. We don't have phone numbers? What, is she sending them notes by pigeon?

I'm not sure if the fault is with your agent or the publisher. You stated before, IIRC, that your agent is also an author. That concerns me - an agent is an agent; their sole job is to sell your work. If she's taking time out to work on her own book and/or sell her work then she's not working for you.

This may be legit but I'm seeing red flags all over the place. But then, not my agent and not my book.

:(

Plenty of agents are also writers, including Mandy Hubbard who posted above. What concerns me is that this agent apparently also has a full-time job. It suggests to me that she can't support herself with her agent work, which suggests she might not be the best agent. The other option is that she's new and building up a stable of authors to support herself, but I thought somewhere it said she has dozens of clients--in which case she should really be past that stage.

Luzoni
10-15-2015, 03:31 AM
JetFueled is right.

I've had concerns about my agent in the past...there's a thread from back in April where I queried the forum asking for advice. My issue then was that she hadn't sold my novel despite it being on submission for almost two years. But I came to realize that didn't mean she's a bad agent. But not having the phone number surprised me. I did look at the contract and it's not there. But c'mon, it's not like she's using pigeons. She's doing this by email. The fact that she has a job outside of agenting is the big concern. But when I confronted her and said I needed her to be more responsive with me and to edit my MS's faster, she was very professional and I realized at the time that a lack of sale couldn't be a final nail for our relationship. But now I'm wondering WTH is happening.

I really like her and the thought of jumping ship really terrifies me, and with this deal I thought I wouldn't have to, but I kinda have kept some other MS's in reserve because in the back of my mind I'm worried about having another novel free and clear for querying if I have to go looking again.

Luzoni
10-15-2015, 03:37 AM
As for the publisher, I haven't a clue. If my agent was nagging them every day, every week, or every month, I don't know whether it'd make a difference in them getting back to me. I think they're starting a new imprint, and that my novel was acquired for it. They're also based out of Canada, so maybe that has something to do with my agent not getting a phone number...? I don't know. I'm really lost here. I don't know who I should blame for this, if there even should be blame, or what, if anything, I can do to deal with this.

Cricket18
10-15-2015, 04:07 AM
The publisher is in Canada, Luzoni? Where will they distribute? Are they offering an advance?

I'm not an agent, but I think very few agents are making a living solely from agenting. <---Not a word. I think judging the merit of an agent should not be made on whether they hold down multiple jobs.

I can tell you a friend who was with a Big 5 publisher got her contract 6 months after the fact. The whole time she felt like they were not going to buy her book. So things take time. But I guess at some point you need to really find out what's going on. Good luck!

Quickbread
10-15-2015, 05:44 AM
I don't know. I'm really lost here. I don't know who I should blame for this, if there even should be blame, or what, if anything, I can do to deal with this.

Well, it's your manuscript and agent, so you need to decide what to do. I don't think this is an issue of blame but rather of making sure your manuscript is in good hands, both with the agent and publisher. You could do a Google search to make sure your agent is at least being straight with you about not being able to find a phone number for the publisher. But frankly, if your agent is telling the truth and there really is no way to call this publisher, that's a possible concern, too. Are you in touch with any of your agent-mates, by chance?

Luzoni
10-15-2015, 06:30 PM
They do offer an advance, but it's tiny, I think. They are definitely out of Canada, but have distribution agreements with Diamond Book for the US according to their website. And I've been told they have distribution with someone else, I thought a Big Five subsidiary or something. I can't remember exactly, unless that's what Diamond is. A librarian friend of mine, when she learned of the publisher, told me she'd be able to order copies for the library easily. I think their books also get into Barnes &Noble.

A basic Google search doesn't produce a phone number.

I'm not sure what you mean by "agent-mates". Do you mean my agent's other clients or do you mean the other agents at her agency? In both cases no, but I could reach out to her other clients and have been tempted to do so a few times.

Quickbread
10-15-2015, 09:01 PM
Yep, I did mean your agent's other authors. If you're not already in touch with them, now might be a good time to reach out and say hi and maybe share process notes. It might help you feel better while you wait, at the very least.

Toothpaste
10-16-2015, 12:20 AM
Canada? That's my home turf. Can you PM me their name? Some publishers here are notorious for being very slow, if I know them I might be able to confirm if their behaviour is normal for them.

Luzoni
11-03-2015, 07:18 PM
Ok, just thought I'd update...

Last night my agent emailed me to say after her latest nudge the publisher finally sent over the contract again. But since it was late she wasn't going to look at it until today so I don't know whether they balked at her changes or just said, looks good! So, with luck, ill find out about that today.

Anyway, I sent my agent a link for the OMG cat and the "dramatic squirrel" from YouTube to accurately show my reaction.

lacygnette
11-03-2015, 09:16 PM
Fingers crossed for you! Let us know...

Luzoni
11-05-2015, 07:04 PM
Ok, I was hoping the story would finally be over, but what I learned after two days of waiting is that apparently the publisher argued against some (or all, I don't know and I asked my agent to tell me more) of her changed to the contract. So my agent counter argued to fight them and sent it back to them with the hope that "it won't take as long this time." *beats head against wall* I know what she's doing is good for me, but if this takes another FOUR (insert vehement curse word of your choice here) months I'm going to lose my (insert additional curse) mind!! >:-(

Luzoni
11-18-2015, 01:04 AM
Well, about two weeks later and nothing yet on this second round of back and forth. I don't know if I should ask my agent again to get her to needle them or not. Not sure it would help much as obviously it still took FOUR months to see any movement. I get the impression my agent would forget for weeks if I didn't nag her to nudge them. But I don't know if nudging the publisher will help or hurt me or what. Should I just shut up and wait it out, even if it takes like two years before my book is published?

Sheryl Nantus
11-18-2015, 01:34 AM
Write another book.

Find another agent.

Find another publisher.

At this point you've got nothing to lose. From what you've said here it seems that no one is in any great race to get back to you. Whether it's your agent being lazy or the publisher or what, you're stalled without any way out for this book.

JMO but I'd send one last email to your agent asking for an update and WTH is going on as far as a timeline goes. There's no reason there can't be some sort of estimate as to how long this negotiations should go on. Then put it all down to a bad experience and move on. Write that next book.

Again, all JMO.

Becca C.
11-18-2015, 05:21 AM
I'm sorry, but I've got to agree with Sheryl. Especially on the "write a new book" part. I hope you've been writing furiously this whole time, but if you haven't, start. During all this waiting and crap, regardless of what happens, you can come out the other side with a ton of amazing new material.

Toothpaste
11-18-2015, 08:05 AM
The thing is, it's only been two weeks. Now I know in total it's been way longer, but you've started the clock again and two weeks is really nothing yet. At the same time you know how slow this publisher is and if it's something you don't want to put up with anymore, you can say so.

I think the thing is at this point you either have to accept how slow it is to work with this publisher, or move on. And you know what doing the former isn't bad. If I chose the former what I'd do is forget about the book entirely and start working on something else. Just let everyone do what they're doing, taking as long as they are taking, expect nothing really. I'd say bug your agent once a month just to make sure but otherwise act as if right now all you have going on is a book you're writing. And just write as if you don't have a deal on the table. You know this is a good publisher. They just won a major award (for publishing, not just for one book they published, but for the company itself). They are legit. But they're slow. So if you can handle the slow then just stop thinking about it and move on trusting that eventually SOMEDAY they will get back to you and things will be back on track.

Or you can move on. You can pull your work, sub to other houses, and decide meanwhile if you want to keep your agent or not. These are both totally valid options. But the pulling out your hair option in fury is not one of them. You shouldn't put yourself through that. It's not fair to you.

Luzoni
11-18-2015, 06:23 PM
Thanks guys. I think a lot of it is that I just need a place to let off steam. This book was out on sub for about two years. It was a tough sell. I'm not going to withdraw it because I do think the publisher is awesome, like you said Toothpaste. Tho I am worried about some stuff I've heard.

I do have other books. I have two trilogies, each with two books done. I have a romance and one of the two trilogies is on sub right now. I'm very prolific, but saying "forget the deal you're waiting on" doesn't make it easier. I wrote three books last year, but in the back of my head I'm never going to stop thinking about the one that I'm waiting on, which right now is the sale and the new one on sub. I've been afraid my agent could be hurting my chances if she's amateurish, but tbh this novel was a tough sell. I am still hoping the next one will go way faster but we are already at five months in and that nervous nelly in my head is second guessing everything.

Asking my agent to get a timeline from them is an awesome idea tho! It'd be nice to know whether I'll be with their imprint or not as well. I'll try not to worry about it and just move on (I have a new project) but I'm not happy apparently unless I'm worried about something.

Luzoni
01-05-2016, 12:40 AM
Hello everyone. I thought I would update this.

The negotiations were finally hammered out between the publisher and my agent. That was in mid-ish December that my agent approved everything and sent the contract back to them for their signature or something. Then they'd send it to her and she'd send it to me and I'd sign it. Hasn't happened yet, likely due to the holidays. I'm sitting tight for a few days before I'll reach out to my agent and see if she thinks we should nudge them yet again. As it's January now, time to get the ball rolling...I hope.

Jamesaritchie
01-06-2016, 10:19 PM
Of course I don't expect you to return to the thread to engage, but in case you do - which was word one, and what seemed abnormal about it?

The agent saying the contract was just a template. good agent will likely try to negotiate any contract they have not agreed to, but to say one is just a template makes no sense at all. I have never known a publisher to send out a contract that wasn't what they wanted the writer and agent to agree to, that was just a template. And then to be surprised it wasn't a template, but the actual offer? This would make me seriously doubt my agent's ability to do what I need done.

Not that my agent would approach a small publisher with a manuscript. There's no money in it for her, no money in it for me, and can strand a writer in Smallville.

Punkin
01-16-2016, 08:34 AM
30 days of back-and-forth with a contract is perfectly normal.

Luzoni
02-04-2016, 08:05 PM
30 days of back-and-forth with a contract is perfectly normal.

If you'd done some reading you would see the "back and forth" has gone on far longer than thirty days. More like five months.

I thought I'd update this....again. Exactly a month later and the publisher hasn't bothered to send the "complete" contract over for signatures. I haven't even begun working with these people and I'm already irritated. At this rate they make my agent, who is super slow and frustrating as well, look downright magical.

Going to ask my agent about bugging them again today and ask her about the right of refusal or whatever it's called as I've seen that come up a lot recently and the last thing I want is to somehow be obligated to let them have an unrelated novel that's on submission now. No bites on the other novel but I don't want us to have to sit on our hands or something as soon as we sign. Since we haven't signed yet I figure submitting a non sequel novel around isn't causing any problems but they did say they wanted to see the new one out in sub and I told my agent I wasn't thrilled by that considering how long this has taken I just don't have much faith in them. This has been going on since July for f***s sake. 😡

Sheryl Nantus
02-04-2016, 08:34 PM
I realize you might be nervous about this, but can you say which publisher this is? Despite previous posts declaring them to be a fine publisher I'd like to know so I can stay far, far away from them.

And we're sure it's the publisher and not your agent?

Sorry you're getting such frustration - keep on writing!!!

Luzoni
02-04-2016, 09:51 PM
Sheryl, I will PM you. Haha when I first typed that out my stupid auto correct changed it to spam. So I will spam you, yes.

If it's my agent then she'd be really shooting herself in the foot here. I don't see any reason for her to drag her feet on this contract unless she hopes to irritate me into quitting her or something.

I did have some concerns about the publisher as I made contact with someone who submitted to them for an annual anthology they do and was never paid. Of course I only have her word on that tho I suspect it was truthful. The amount of money we are talking about is well under $100 but still...

I told my agent about that and she said she had heard only good things so she wasn't concerned. I don't want to be right but....it could be they're having a little fianancial hiccup. All the more reason I'm not keen on having anymore books tied to them. But the one they're publishing had no other bites after almost two years so I'm stuck with them for this one.

Sheryl Nantus
02-04-2016, 10:10 PM
Sheryl, I will PM you. Haha when I first typed that out my stupid auto correct changed it to spam. So I will spam you, yes.

If it's my agent then she'd be really shooting herself in the foot here. I don't see any reason for her to drag her feet on this contract unless she hopes to irritate me into quitting her or something.

I did have some concerns about the publisher as I made contact with someone who submitted to them for an annual anthology they do and was never paid. Of course I only have her word on that tho I suspect it was truthful. The amount of money we are talking about is well under $100 but still...

I told my agent about that and she said she had heard only good things so she wasn't concerned. I don't want to be right but....it could be they're having a little fianancial hiccup. All the more reason I'm not keen on having anymore books tied to them. But the one they're publishing had no other bites after almost two years so I'm stuck with them for this one.

Thanks for the PM.

I'd be more than concerned if someone wasn't paid for an anthology - the amount really doesn't make a difference.

As for the rest... personally, I'd write them off and tell your agent that you're not interested in submitting to them ever again. Period. Award-winning or not, it's bad form to treat your authors like this and when you add in the chance that they're not paying their authors at times...

You deserve better. And your agent needs to do better to keep your confidence. I've had contracts negotiated within weeks and signed well within two, three months. At this rate your book won't be out until 2020!

All just my opinion, of course - but it's not worth your mental health to deal with publishers like this.

Luzoni
02-09-2016, 11:20 PM
I am having a grade A awful day. Aside from a bunch of other stuff I asked my agent about where we should go with submissions for my second book. She replied that I'm writing good stuff but it's too niche and I shouldn't expect to sell quickly or even at all and if I do it will be to small publishers like the ones this thread is about who have taken SEVEN months and still haven't gotten the contract to me or worked with me at all and at least one author for a shorter work with them says they never paid her.

So basically my agent is telling me I'm not mainstream enough and she can "see if" she can find more publishers to submit my second novel to. She said she loves me work and it's original and good SF and yadda yadda. But I can't help but wonder if at least some of this is not me but her. She hasn't even read my third project and she's already telling me it isn't going to be a fast sell.

I am just so miserable right now. 😔

Thedrellum
02-09-2016, 11:53 PM
Who is your agent?

Regardless, actually, of who your agent is, it sounds like you need to part ways with her and find another one. If she doesn't think your work will sell, then she's just tying up your chances with other people who WOULD think your work will sell. I was talking to a friend's agent the other day and she told a story of one of her clients whose previous agent didn't try to sell her book because it was too weird and would never sell. That book is the one she used to get her new agent with, and it then sold. There is hope, is what I'm saying, but I don't think it's with your current agent.

Also, I feel for you. Hugs and hugs for days.

amergina
02-09-2016, 11:53 PM
... Honestly, it sounds like it isn't you but your agent.

Aggy B.
02-10-2016, 12:25 AM
I agree with the others. I've had a MS out for two years now and my agent remains nothing but confident that we can find a good publisher for it. Even when I suggested this past fall that maybe we should look at some of the smaller houses, he said there were still bigger doors to knock on and not to give up yet.

If an agent is convinced something can only sell to the smaller publishers, then there's a chance that's what they will make happen - either by not querying the bigger folks, or by letting their lack of confidence leak through.

I know that the idea of finding a new agent is a scary and (somewhat) disappointing proposition, but you really need someone who will fight for you even if it's a long shot.

Toothpaste
02-10-2016, 12:54 AM
I dunno. I mean it is a fine line. You definitely want an agent that supports you and thinks they can sell your work, but you also want one who understands the market and isn't delusional. Some books are more niche. Some are better suited to smaller publishers. And sometimes spending all your time pitching to the big five and getting nowhere is not better than going with a really solid small press.

Only you know if your agent is being pragmatic or shortsighted. Unfortunately none of us can help you with that.

As with the publisher, well you know my thoughts. Especially since you've exhausted the other options what harm does it do in keeping it at an award winning house that when they do publish work do it excellently? I mean, if you had other offers or had other houses you could sub to that would be different. I'm not condoning the length of time and their lack of communication, I'd be very frustrated as well, but I'm not sure backing away makes sense either. Again, in the end, it's up to you.

Aggy B.
02-10-2016, 06:28 AM
I should point out, I'm not saying "You must find at agent that will always query the Big Five." But, for certain you need an agent to be enthusiastic about whatever he or she is representing. If she seems kind of blah about the fact your work (in her opinion) is only suitable for small presses that could be an issue.

Luzoni
03-14-2016, 10:33 PM
Just an update...still no final contract from the publisher. Let's put this into perspective. They came out saying they wanted to purchase it in July of last year. In less than five months it will have been a year since they started this process. It's almost my 30th birthday and I'm getting fed up with how long this is taking. I don't think this is normal. And my agent isn't helping. It's like pulling hen's teeth to get her to read things for me and argh....

I feel like after this stupid first book finally solidifies with the contract I should break it off with my agent. As someone here on the thread noted when I PMd my agent's name and agency the group doesn't seem to sub to agent only places so I'm clearly missing out. Plus it shouldn't take a year to revise a new project even one that needed a massive overhaul like mine did. It just...shouldn't. Right?!

Aggy B.
03-14-2016, 11:36 PM
Plus it shouldn't take a year to revise a new project even one that needed a massive overhaul like mine did. It just...shouldn't. Right?!

With the caveat that some things are dependent on the author and agent involved, so YMMV. Last fall I wrote four sets of revisions based on my agents feedback between October and January - expanding a novella from a little over 30k into 50k+. We did, I think, two rounds of notes via email, then talked in more detail over the phone, and then one more polishing round of notes to expand a subplot I'd added after the phone call. (Bear in mind a typical writing week for me is around 10k. And my agent used to be an editor at Simon & Schuster so the time and feedback involved may vary for other authors and agents.) And the novel I first signed with him for needed a ground up rewrite, but he spent a few weeks figuring out his notes, then we talked for an hour and a half over things that I could change and develop better, then I spent about eight weeks rewriting most of a 90k book. (It wasn't quite rewriting from scratch, but I did rewrite almost every chapter.)

So, yes. I would be very frustrated if my agent were taking more than a couple of months to give me notes for revisions. Or if he were taking months to get back to me after I sent him a new draft. The only time I would expect a project to take a year to develop would be if I were working slowly. (Which isn't a criticism of folks who do work slowly.)

But you're a client now. Even if your agent is busy, you should get a more timely response. (Even if it's just an email to say "I'm really busy, but I'll get back to you in a couple weeks." And then I would expect to hear from within a month at the latest.)

Luzoni
03-14-2016, 11:50 PM
See, Aggy that sounds like what I would expect. It's been at least two weeks since I last heard from my agent and in that email she told me she would get to reading my latest project that upcoming week. I assumed that meant first week of March. Well. Here we are two solid weeks later and not a word. I sent an email to her asking for updates...I'm always the one who reaches out 4 times out of 5 I'd say.

She gives good critiques I believe but I feel like I'm far more ambitious than she is. She's had my second project (that took a year to revise and my rewrite was only three months of that waiting tops) on submission for about nine months and it's just been with I want to say 10 editors? It seemed like when I suggested she send it out to another round a month or two ago she replied that I should basically not hold my breath for a quick or upper market sale. It's like thanks for the vote of confidence.

My first novel, the one on contract, was I believe a genuine hard sell. But this second project is NA SF with a strong female lead multicultural...I didn't think it was nearly as "niche" as the first which was caught in this weird YA/Adult spot and very dark. So....I feel like at this point I'm a better pitcher than she is for it since I still believe in the damn thing.

Quickbread
03-15-2016, 12:26 AM
She gives good critiques I believe but I feel like I'm far more ambitious than she is. She's had my second project (that took a year to revise and my rewrite was only three months of that waiting tops) on submission for about nine months and it's just been with I want to say 10 editors? It seemed like when I suggested she send it out to another round a month or two ago she replied that I should basically not hold my breath for a quick or upper market sale. It's like thanks for the vote of confidence.

Being on sub can definitely take more than nine months, and that time frame is not always totally under the agent's control. If you're thinking of bailing on the agent, it makes sense to have realistic expectations. It may be helpful to look more big-picture than just the current submission. Are you satisfied with her ability to represent and sell your work overall. Are you happy with where she's pitched/pitching it? And are you satisfied with the ten editors/imprints she's subbed to for this second project? Is she in communication with these people and does she know where your submission is in the process, or are they not keeping in touch with her? Has she sold to them before, or does she at least have professional relationships established with them? Are you getting read by imprints that you can't get into on your own? If the answer is no to a lot of these things, then it's time to rethink whether you want to entrust further manuscripts to her. You've already got two that are tied to her or in play with her. At the very least, it may be wise to withhold a third until you see what happens with the second project.

Whatever you decide to do, good luck!

Luzoni
03-15-2016, 12:32 AM
Quick bread, see I don't know the answers to most of those questions because she doesn't tell me any specifics. But no I don't think she knows where my sub is in the process.

Sheryl Nantus
03-15-2016, 02:26 AM
As noted, YMMV, but when I had my first project out with my agent I had a document listing EVERY publisher it was on submission to and WHO the editor was. That way I could watch what was going on.

If you have no idea who she's subbing to and which editors are looking this over...

*shrugs*

Anna Spargo-Ryan
03-15-2016, 02:46 AM
Plus it shouldn't take a year to revise a new project even one that needed a massive overhaul like mine did. It just...shouldn't. Right?!

It absolutely can. My book will go to print in a couple of weeks, two years after I signed my contract with the publisher. It takes the amount of work that it takes. Much better than putting out something that's undercooked.

midazolam
03-15-2016, 06:40 AM
As noted, YMMV, but when I had my first project out with my agent I had a document listing EVERY publisher it was on submission to and WHO the editor was. That way I could watch what was going on.

If you have no idea who she's subbing to and which editors are looking this over...

*shrugs*

My agent didn't provide a list of editors she submitted to, and it worked out fine. I thought about asking for the list, but I decided the specifics didn't matter. I knew she was going out to a few editors at the Big-6, and that was it. I know it's become commonplace to ask for that sub list, but I also feel that in doing so, it's a bit like questioning the agent's contacts as well as her ability to do her job.

Luzoni - I'm getting the feeling from your posts that you think you can do better than your agent. If that's the case, then part ways with her - no harm done in doing that. Otherwise, and I'm no agent, I feel like she's probably doing the best she can with a difficult genre. If she's a poor communicator, then that's a different issue.

Quickbread
03-15-2016, 07:04 AM
If memory serves me, Luzoni, your agent was not a full-time agent. If that's the case, perhaps that arrangement is not serving you well anymore.

Aggy B.
03-15-2016, 06:04 PM
It absolutely can. My book will go to print in a couple of weeks, two years after I signed my contract with the publisher. It takes the amount of work that it takes. Much better than putting out something that's undercooked.

Taking a lot of time with a publisher is not unusual. And, while it may take longer to revise some books than others, my concern here is that the agent in question not only seems to be really slow with responding to revisions, but has also expressed disinterest in the project. That, combined with what seems to be a struggle to get timely communication, would be a huge red flag for me.

I will say that my agent doesn't give me a detailed list of which editors I'm on sub with. He does tell me where he plans to send it (in general) and he does pass along some of the rejection letters. (Which is fine for me, quite frankly. If I knew exactly where my MS was, I'd be way too stressed to write the next one. YMMV.)

Luzoni
03-15-2016, 08:26 PM
It absolutely can. My book will go to print in a couple of weeks, two years after I signed my contract with the publisher. It takes the amount of work that it takes. Much better than putting out something that's undercooked.
But see this isn't just about waiting on the publisher. I mean it is that too but that I don't think is her fault...though she doesn't apparently even have their phone number. Seems lame. I'm talking about it taking a year to get another project on sub with her. Three months of it was me rewriting. The other nine months was me waiting for communication from her and when I did hear back it was obvious she hadn't read it thoroughly. She would make suggestions or vague comments that I'd scratch my head over like...but didn't you see I already added that? I mean I can add it again but won't it be repetitive? And when I asked her the response was oh! How stupid of me. I didn't see that.

With this in mind I find myself thinking I am shooting myself in the foot remaining with her and a big reason she's telling me it's so "niche" and won't sell quickly or well (to the point I may want to consider self pub) is because she can't sell it. Because she lacks the time, enthusiasm, contacts or whatever. Not because it's such a tough sale.

heza
03-15-2016, 08:36 PM
Having read the thread again... what it seems to boil down to is that you're very unhappy with your agent and you have been for a while. All other things being equal, I think that alone is justification for finding a new agent. You don't want someone guiding your career who you are very unhappy working with, and that's on top of all the other problems you've got going, here. If you dissolve this relationship, what are you really losing? It doesn't look like she's making much progress on moving your projects as it is.

amergina
03-15-2016, 09:37 PM
Having read the thread again... what it seems to boil down to is that you're very unhappy with your agent and you have been for a while. All other things being equal, I think that alone is justification for finding a new agent. You don't want someone guiding your career who you are very unhappy working with, and that's on top of all the other problems you've got going, here. If you dissolve this relationship, what are you really losing? It doesn't look like she's making much progress on moving your projects as it is.

Pretty much this.

Your agent doesn't seem to be working well with and for you.

Luzoni
03-15-2016, 09:39 PM
If memory serves me, Luzoni, your agent was not a full-time agent. If that's the case, perhaps that arrangement is not serving you well anymore.

I'm kinda thinking along these lines. I'm terrified of dropping her and never getting a new agent but it sounds like the agency doesn't have the connections to submit to agented only publishers so I'm already missing out. And I'm prolific as a writer so the long waiting time on editing projects are really a drag. I understand things could still be a hard sell but with how slow she is and how vague and how I have to constantly reach out to her for any communication...it leaves me feeling like some of the slowness must be her problem and if she's slow and uncommunicative with me then what's to stop her from dropping the ball with publishes? If I had someone better who was "full time" maybe I'd have two sales and the third project would already be on sub.

Basically I know it's a slow business but I feel like this is too slow.

Sheryl Nantus
03-15-2016, 09:57 PM
Thre's nothing wrong with walking away from an agent if you feel she's not suitable for you. It sounds to me like she's got way too much on her plate and representing you is far down her list.

And, seriously - she doesn't have the publisher's phone number? I'll call shenanigans on that.

I'd suggest sending her a nice letter saying that while she'll stay your agent on this project, you're not interested in retaining her services any longer. You can make it sound nice like "It's me, not you" but at this point I don't see what you have to lose by either finding another agent or going it alone.

JMO.

Luzoni
03-15-2016, 10:45 PM
So...I don't have to wait until the contract goes thru on the sale to break up with her? I have no idea how I should do it and my fear has been keeping me rooted to her for a while but I'm just not going anywhere with her.

I sent her an email yesterday and haven't heard anything back. That'd be fine except I think what's happening in her end is she's scrambling to skim thru my project that she said she would look at two weeks ago...and already had for two months at least before that. I know she's busy and I think she's a great gal and a great editor but...this is frustrating. Don't tell me you're going to read it one week and then two weeks later have no progress...after three months of me already patiently waiting.

Thedrellum
03-15-2016, 11:21 PM
If you leave her while the contract she's working on goes through, you'll still have to pay her 15% (I believe).

I'm with the rest in suggesting that you should leave, since you're unhappy. I know how scary it can be since I just went through the same thing with my (ex)agent. Our parting was cordial and professional, we'd just moved in different directions (me in terms of my writing, she in terms of what she wanted to represent), but it was still frightening and not a little traumatic.

However, once the break was official, I felt so much better. Now I'm on the quest again for an agent who is excited about my writing as it is, rather than what she wants it to be.

Sheryl Nantus
03-16-2016, 12:31 AM
So...I don't have to wait until the contract goes thru on the sale to break up with her? I have no idea how I should do it and my fear has been keeping me rooted to her for a while but I'm just not going anywhere with her.

I sent her an email yesterday and haven't heard anything back. That'd be fine except I think what's happening in her end is she's scrambling to skim thru my project that she said she would look at two weeks ago...and already had for two months at least before that. I know she's busy and I think she's a great gal and a great editor but...this is frustrating. Don't tell me you're going to read it one week and then two weeks later have no progress...after three months of me already patiently waiting.

I'm not sure about the protocol here, so please be careful...

I'd say that on a personal level, she should get the 15% from the contract that she has negotiated. It's only fair, considering she did do the work. However, for all upcoming projects you should sever ties with her and move on to another agent. Whether the contract is signed or not, she did put in the effort.

However, since this contract is taking forever and a day to get finished... I wouldn't worry much about it from this point forward. I'd thank her for her time and move on with your new projects. Who knows, she might be relieved at this point. If she's doing this part-time as well as working on her own work, she might be glad for your decision.

I would contact the publishing house (and don't tell me YOU can't find their phone number or email address!) and advise them of the relationship change. It won't affect the contract, AFAIK, but at least if they want a sequel they can contact you directly. I suspect, and it's only a gut feeling, that part of the issue here is a slow publisher AND a slow agent, doubling the reaction time on anything.

But, again, just my personal take on things.

Quickbread
03-16-2016, 12:43 AM
Luzoni, you should double-check your agency contract if you have one to make sure of the terms and conditions for parting ways.

The other thing to consider, in addition to the outstanding contract, is the manuscript in play. You'll need the submission list if you want another agent to try and sell it. Otherwise it might be difficult to get a new agent on board with it. And again with that manuscript, be sure of the agency contract terms. You don't want to be owing your old agent 15% of something she did not actually sell for you.