PDA

View Full Version : Book Offer with No Agent



Undercover
01-06-2017, 12:39 AM
There's a solid mid-size publisher that wants to publish one of my books, but I still have no agent. I contacted two agents that have my work (other books) and both are interested and want to see the contract (when I get it, this just happened yesterday.)

One agent has my full on one book, and the other agent has my full on another book (neither of them are the book deal.) I have 5 unpublished books all together. One agent rejected a couple from the query. The other agent rejected only 1 out of the 5. He hasn't seen the rest yet. This is confusing. I'm confused, really. I don't want to go with either agent if they only want my book deal but don't want to help me on anything else. Both agents still have not read my fulls. One agent has had my full for 6 months and the other for 5 months. Both seem to be taking forever to even read them. When I told them about the offer, they both jumped on it and emailed me right away.

How do I know which one to go with if I go with one of them at all? Both have been very responsive to my emails (and nudges from before) but I'm worried they will drag their heels on this and possible hurt my chances. The editor from the publishing house asked me, no agent, correct? And I just said not at the moment. I just don't want to ruin my chances here by making a stupid mistake.

If I can get any kind of advice on it, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Marissa D
01-06-2017, 01:09 AM
Did you accept the offer already?

Undercover
01-06-2017, 01:37 AM
No. I didn't accept anything yet. I haven't even gotten the contract yet. All I said was that I was interested in publishing with them and would like to see the contract.

Marissa D
01-06-2017, 01:48 AM
Okay, that's good. But it's a little hard for anyone to offer advice on which to choose, if they offer rep. Did you give the agents a deadline by which they need to respond?

And forgot to say--congratulations!!

Ninka
01-06-2017, 01:49 AM
No advise from me here. I am just curious why do you need/want an agent if you've got a publisher already?

Undercover
01-06-2017, 01:52 AM
You mean when to respond to my fulls on my other books?

Marissa D
01-06-2017, 01:53 AM
An agent can possibly negotiate better contract terms than you might get on your own, or may know of an editor at another house who might be interested (and might offer more $$ or opportunities.)

Marissa D
01-06-2017, 01:55 AM
You mean when to respond to my fulls on my other books?

No, I meant to respond to your, "I've got an offer on the table; are you interested in repping me?" email.

lizmonster
01-06-2017, 02:01 AM
I don't want to go with either agent if they only want my book deal but don't want to help me on anything else.

On this point, I think you're entitled to ask. "I'm looking for help negotiating this contract, yes; but I'd also like to hear your thoughts on and plans for my other work." My understanding is that reputable agents want a long-term relationship with you, and given that these agents have actually seen your work, they should have thoughts on this.

Undercover
01-06-2017, 03:35 AM
I just emailed them and asked, could you let me know your thoughts on the other books while we are waiting for the contract. And one emailed me within minutes and said "certainly". Depending on how this goes, I think I'll start to figure out which one is best to go with (IF I go with them.)

Thank you so much for the advice, it's been golden so far!

ElaineA
01-06-2017, 04:10 AM
You have the option of a literary attorney, too, in the event you aren't thrilled with the answer from either of these agents. I assume since you queried them you'd be happy to be repped by them, but there is that other option if you're feeling pressed.

I follow Susan Spann on Twitter (https://twitter.com/SusanSpann). She's an attorney, an author, and has recently joined Donaghy Literary Group (http://www.donaghyliterary.com/susan-spann--contracts-manager.html), but still maintains her independent practice, if I read her announcement correctly. She is very free with information and "things writers should know" on her blog, and at Writers in the Storm. She may also have other connections to reputable attorneys, just in case you want to add this to your "options" pile.

Congratulations on your offer!!

tsharpe
01-06-2017, 08:21 AM
It would also not be out of line to send a quick email to any other agents you are interested in (even if they don't have a current query or manuscript from you) and let them know the situation and that you're looking for representation. So if there's anyone you're dying to work with, drop them a line with something like OFFER FROM (PUBLISHER) in the subject line.

Good luck!

RaggedEdge
01-07-2017, 06:16 AM
I agree with Elaine that you might consider hiring a literary attorney as an option. I know of an AWer who is an attorney offering this service. I may be wrong, but I believe she not only has years of experience reviewing literary contracts as a side business but recently focused on it as her main practice. She also has an agent and a book deal with a mid-sized press, so she would understand that side of things personally. Let me know if you'd like her name, etc.

Congratulations! I really hope things work out well!

Old Hack
01-07-2017, 12:10 PM
I've seen reports by IP lawyers, and they don't come close to the help you'd get from an agent.

All lawyers will do is let you know if a contract is legally enforceable. An agent will tell you that, and will also tell you if it's favourable to you, and will negotiate it until it's very favourable to you. And then that agent will do the same for your next book and all the books after that, and will take action to help you if the publisher breaches that contract in any way, all without any cost to you. A lawyer will only deal with a contract in breach if you pay them more.

Undercover
01-07-2017, 04:00 PM
Thank you again for all the information. It's very helpful.

Nothing has happened yet. But it's only been since this past Wednesday. I don't expect getting the contract any time super soon. When she said she'd draw up a contract so we can negotiate, I figure this whole process might take a while, especially if I get an agent on board to help me.

Old Hack
01-08-2017, 06:56 PM
There's a solid mid-size publisher that wants to publish one of my books, but I still have no agent. I contacted two agents that have my work (other books) and both are interested and want to see the contract (when I get it, this just happened yesterday.)

One agent has my full on one book, and the other agent has my full on another book (neither of them are the book deal.) I have 5 unpublished books all together. One agent rejected a couple from the query. The other agent rejected only 1 out of the 5. He hasn't seen the rest yet. This is confusing. I'm confused, really. I don't want to go with either agent if they only want my book deal but don't want to help me on anything else. Both agents still have not read my fulls. One agent has had my full for 6 months and the other for 5 months. Both seem to be taking forever to even read them. When I told them about the offer, they both jumped on it and emailed me right away.

I do hope you're continuing to query these books. It seems like the fulls they have are not much of a priority for them.


How do I know which one to go with if I go with one of them at all? Both have been very responsive to my emails (and nudges from before) but I'm worried they will drag their heels on this and possible hurt my chances.

The way to decide between them is to talk to them, if they make you an offer of rep, and see how the two of you get on. And, of course, ask them all sorts of questions and use that information to help make your decision.

If you do sign with either one of them why would they deliberately scupper this deal you have? And why do you think they might do that?


The editor from the publishing house asked me, no agent, correct? And I just said not at the moment. I just don't want to ruin my chances here by making a stupid mistake.

If I can get any kind of advice on it, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Just be very honest and open and stick to your deadlines and all will be well.


No. I didn't accept anything yet. I haven't even gotten the contract yet. All I said was that I was interested in publishing with them and would like to see the contract.

Hang on. You approached them, told them you were interested, and now you're waiting for a contract? I do hope I've got that wrong because that doesn't seem right to me.


Thank you again for all the information. It's very helpful.

Nothing has happened yet. But it's only been since this past Wednesday. I don't expect getting the contract any time super soon. When she said she'd draw up a contract so we can negotiate, I figure this whole process might take a while, especially if I get an agent on board to help me.

It's usual to talk about the publisher's offer before the contract is drawn up. So do you know what advance you're being offered, and what rights they want in return for that advance? What level of royalty the're offering, and if it's on cover price or net? These are basic things which you should know by now, and the answers to them might well influence how the agents respond. I understand you won't want to discuss these things in public but you could let me know the gist of it all via PM, and give me the name of the publisher, and I'll let you know if I can see any of the terms putting agents off.

Jennifer_Laughran
01-13-2017, 10:22 PM
Well usually they don't send a contract until you've agreed to terms.

If you've agreed to terms - there may not be anything for an agent to DO.