View Full Version : That's It! But where to now?

03-16-2007, 10:36 AM
About three years ago I submitted a book to an SF house that starts with "B." Slightly over a year later I received an email that it was good enough to go to the publisher for a final decision. Just about ten months after that, said publisher passed on and the editorial reins passed on to a new set of hands. As of yesterday I've been informed that while they're perfectly willing to hold on to the novel, the person who can say yes most likely won't be getting to it this year.

Obviously I am planning to shop it elsewhere-- I may wait a couple of months before doing so but that's primarily because I'm looking at moving twice in the next 45 days and so I want to wait until I have an address that won't expire before a query letter gets read.

My question is whether I should pull it now and submit it elsewhere immediately, or should I leave it there and hunt for an agent? At this point my patience is rather less than it once was and I'm trying to get at least something positive out of the wait.

So do I just start cold with agents or can I use the fact it cleared a slush pile once to help me get a little more of a fast track?

03-16-2007, 01:15 PM
I don't think you can say "it's been through the slush pile," or even 'awaiting clearance by head honcho at x company,' because any agent is going to go, 'well why hasn't been accepted yet?'

I would say if one of your books had been accepted but was due to be published a few months later, that would be something you could put in a query but you risk sounding amateurish by mentioning the above, other than if you want to tell them that they aren't exclusively seeing your work.

Best of luck,
you have more patience than I would.

03-16-2007, 02:11 PM
Hi Dave - I'd leave the book with the publisher and not pull it until you find someone else to publish it - unless they have an exclusive clause for consideration of manuscripts. If they do have an exclusive clause, you have the option of either pulling it or letting them know you'd like to shop it around because of their circumstances since your book was accepted for consideration. It is rather unusual circumstances, but since they've made no committment to you, I don't see how you're committed to them - but don't burn the bridge unless you can't avoid it.

Since you say you're moving, is your e-mail address going to stay the same? If it is, use it to start looking for another publisher or an agent. Try looking at agent query to identify ones that best meet what you need and that accept e-mails. Good luck. You're obviously a very patient person. Puma

03-16-2007, 03:50 PM
Sounds like Baen Books. If it is, you've already waited way, way, way too long, in my opinion.

03-16-2007, 04:06 PM
Have you checked other people's experiences with Mystery Unnamed Publishing House? Maybe flag it up in the relevant board and find out whether it's worth waiting, or, as James suggests, pulling.

03-16-2007, 06:38 PM
In my opinion, it's a waste of authors' time to submit their books directly to the SF/fantasy imprints that claim to consider unagented submissions. By and large, this is a fiction--yes, they do consider them, but verrrrrry slowly (three years isn't all that unusual) and never with the care and attention they give agented submissions. For instance, one way Tor deals with its slush pile is to have a slush party, in which editors get together with coffee, snacks, and a mountain of manuscripts with the express purpose of reducing the pile. If you submit unagented to a major publisher, there will ALWAYS be an author with an agent in front of you, no matter how good your manuscript. Ask a fiction editor when was the last time she bought an unagented manuscript, and she'll probably have to stop and think about it for a while.

The fact that you cleared a slush pile once will not cut any ice with an agent, who is aware of the above. Besides, the agent will want to make his own determination. If, on the other hand, Baen rejects you and you then decide to look for an agent, you've closed off a sizeable portion of your potential market (there being only around 10-15 agent-worthy--i.e., advance-paying--imprints for SF/fantasy), since publishers who've rejected a manuscript don't generally want to see it again, even through an established agent. Close off too much of your potential market, and you become a lot less attractive as a client.

If your goal is an imprint of one of the larger publishers, you are FAR better off looking for a good agent, and letting him approach publishers for you, than approaching publishers on your own--even if they say you can.

- Victoria

03-16-2007, 07:16 PM
Sounds like Baen Books. If it is, you've already waited way, way, way too long, in my opinion.

See, I was thinking Bantam books. Baen works too, in that they take....forever...