View Full Version : Querying

09-24-2004, 08:09 PM
I was just re-reading some of Uncle Jim's thread (a summary compiled by Yesh) and he talked about submitting to both a publisher and an agent simultaneously.

So, is it kosher to send my novel mss to a publishing house and query agents at the same time? Is it different for SF/F publishers versus mainstream?

It never occurred to me that I could do both!

aka eraser
09-24-2004, 10:10 PM
Uncle Jim's not known as a fibber. But do make sure you read what he said carefully.

Sim-subbing to agents is par for the course these days but many publishing houses (we're talking about those that accept non-agented subs of course) don't accept them. Familiarize yourself with each pub's guidelines and if they do accept sim-subs, and you've decided to go that route, make sure you've labeled yours as such.

There are differences/preferences within houses in SF/F and mainstream and any other genre. You need to read each house's guidelines carefully and follow them.

Good luck.

09-25-2004, 05:34 AM
I don't see why you couldn't submit to both a publisher and an agent at the same time. If the publisher and the agent both want the book, you simply tell the agent that there's a publisher already interested, and tell the publisher that your agent will be handling negotiations from now on.

I just don't see why you'd want to do that. If I felt a reputable agent would want to represent my book, I'd sub to her first, then let her do all the legwork involved in selling the book. (That's what I'm paying her for, isn't it?)

If no agent would have me (because they've all got too many clients), or for some reason I felt I'd have a better chance of selling my ms on my own, I'd sub to the publishers until I got a nibble, then go looking for an agent, contract in hand. I've heard that it's a lot easier to find an agent if a publisher's already expressed interest in your book.

Either way, I wouldn't sign anything without the assistance of a reputable agent or a contract lawyer.

09-26-2004, 09:07 PM
Okay, to sum:

1. Sim-sub to agents.

If that doesn't pan out, then;

2. Solo-sub to publishers.

Got it. That's what I thought, originally, I guess I was hoping to accelerate the process a bit (yikes!).

Thanks, Frank and Ruth. You two are da bomb.:thumbs

09-30-2004, 08:08 AM
Also, if the publisher rejects you, that's a market a future agent can't tap, since you can't usually resubmit a ms. that's been rejected (at least not right away--if you wait three years, the publisher's staff will probably have totally turned over and no one will remember they rejected you). There are few enough markets in SF/fantasy that the loss of even one might affect an agent's decision as to whether or not to represent you.

Also, the publishers can make you wait for soooo long. I've heard from people who've been waiting two years or even more to hear back from Baen. Despite the stories editors like to tell about snatching up terrific unagented manuscripts, they still pay more attention to the stuff that comes in via reputable agents.

- Victoria

10-01-2004, 09:20 AM
Victoria, if you sent a full ms to an editor at their request but after, say, three years you were still waiting (and e-reminders went unanswered), would it be acceptable to submit this manuscript to agents? If so, would you state in the query letter that the manuscript was sitting at house X?

(purely hypothetical, of course)


10-01-2004, 10:53 PM
Fran, if my ms. had been waiting at a publisher for that long I'd consider that a de facto rejection. I'd also assume the ms. had never been looked at (over this amount of time it might not even physically exist anymore, or at least not in findable form). I therefore wouldn't feel any obligation to mention the submission when I was approaching agents.

If you do get an offer of representation, you probably should tell the agent that the editor had asked for the ms. but never read it, so if the agent targets that publisher she can approach a different editor. That is, assuming the editor who requested the ms. is even there anymore.

- Victoria

10-02-2004, 04:51 AM
I'd wait till after either three months or however long the publisher specifies, and if three queries went unanswered, I'd treat the submission as dead. I'd say something in the last query to the effect that, if I don't hear from you, I'll assume that you aren't interested.

10-04-2004, 02:33 AM
Thanks, Victoria and Nyki. This is (hypothetically) one of those weird situations: author met editor, editor read chapter, editor enthused and asked for 2 mss, author sent mss, author queried 2x at 12 month point and got no reply, editor contacted author at 18 month point and said both mss had got lost and please re-send, author re-sent both mss, author queried 2x at 30 month point and got no reply, author is now wondering what to do next since author would looooove to be published by this house....

10-06-2004, 07:18 AM
Well, I think I'd have assumed that when they lost two mss after 18 months that they weren't worth bothering with. OK, you might want to be published by them, but 30 months is a hell of a long time to wait. If it was me, I'd send another query, more forcefully worded, and say that since you'd received no reply, you'll have to assume that they're not interested if they don't reply again. And submit to a company that might not be so prestigious but answers letters and doesn't lose mss.