View Full Version : Postage Fees

10-13-2004, 08:31 AM
What do you think about this scenario?

An agent listed in "Writer's Market" likes your work and wants to represent you. She asks for a postage deposit of a couple hundred dollars and NO MORE. (She says that she will eat all other expenses.) You tell her that you do NOT have the funds to send her and you ask if she still wants your book. She responds "ABSOLUTELY. If you don't have the money, don't worry."


James D Macdonald
10-13-2004, 09:02 AM
What's she sold?

10-13-2004, 05:26 PM
She sold 22 titles last year to Penguin, hyperion, Dell etc.

James D Macdonald
10-13-2004, 05:49 PM
And you've checked, and they really were sold, and really by her?

In that case, don't worry.

But don't send money.

10-13-2004, 08:42 PM
Thanks for the input James D. I did check, and I found many of what she sold on Amazon (and articles with her name attached to the sale), but I did not find all of them. I honestly don't mind sending the cash...I've got it, but I will heed your advice.

I wonder if anyone else has had a similar experience. DO tell!!!!

10-13-2004, 09:01 PM
Don't send money. If it's postage she wants, offer to send postage and see how she reacts. ;)

10-14-2004, 12:38 AM
Nope, wrong, no way. Agents pay postage.

It could happen, years down the line, that you'll run into some kind of weird setup where, as a courtesy to you, your main agent is sending a bunch of your old manuscripts or backlist titles or something to your overseas agent, and the overseas agent isn't part of your main agent's agency. In that case, it might be proper for you to pay for the postage and xeroxing.

This is not the kind of problem that beginning authors run into. If you have to ask, the answer is no: don't send postage.

Besides, that's way too much money. It doesn't cost all that much to mail a manuscript, and publishers don't turn around their submissions fast enough for the agent to be running up enough small charges to justify that amount.

No. Just no.

10-14-2004, 05:20 AM
Another question....

When I asked her for specifics about my book, she didn't really say anything except naming off a chapter number she liked. She said that she loved my characters, the pace, movement and description, but she never said, "I loved the part where the guy got killed." Is this standard? SHould agents recall specifics, or do they read too many to remember them all?

ALSO...is it okay to ask for a copy of the query that she will send out to publishers, or is that poor form on the writer's part? I'd like to know how she's marketing it. As you can see, I am new to this.

Please tell me what you all know!

10-14-2004, 10:50 PM
If she's a successful agent, she won't send a query; she'll call the editor or editors she has decided to target, and messenger the manuscript over.

You should definitely know how she's marketing it. A phone conversation before she begins to send it round would be an extremely good idea, in which you talk about what her approach will be, who she'll be targeting initially, what her Plan B (and C, and D) is if her top choices don't bite. And she should relay to you any feedback she receives, including sending you copies of rejection letters.

Not all agents work with their clients to edit ahead of submitting; if she's one of those agents, the fact that she isn't giving you detailed feedback on your ms. isn't so surprising. You should, however, have a sense that she has actually read your book all the way through. It's unfortunately not so unusual these days for an agent to snap something up that looks good from a partial or hasty reading, market it halfheartedly, and then give up if it doesn't sell within a few months. An agent who has given your book a careful, in-depth reading--even if she doesn't want to help you edit it--is more likely to be a real advocate for you. Another reason for a phone conversation.

- Victoria

10-14-2004, 11:28 PM
THANKS SO MUCH FOR TH INFO!!!! You are the best.

I talked to her on the phone before I sent in my contract and really liked her. I asked her point blank why she wanted it and she said, "Your writing is excellent and your characters are so vivid and interesting. Your setting is unique and the way you threaded your story was fairly original. Your dialog was fabulous too." I asked her what publishers she was going to send it to, and she rattled off about 6 well known and named the editors by name who she thought would most like it. She said that she could just pick up the phone and talk to them. When I asked for the query letter, she hesitated and then said, "I guess I can do that...I don't usually, but if it is important to you then ok." I have yet to receive one two weeks later.

I was really bothered by the postage deposit because of all I have read, but was happy when she enthusiastically said that the money wasn't important if I didn't have it. She is not one of the biggies, but also not one of the ones you all keep complaining about. I have had several agents interested, but she's the only one to want to take it on. A reputable CA agency recently got back to me and they told me that if things don't work out with her, then to please call them.

Anyway...thanks for listening. I do appreciate it. Feel free to add anything you'd like.

QUICKIE: What is the percentage of getting published for agented fiction writers?

10-15-2004, 07:26 AM
Asking about percentage is asking the wrong question. Yog has his law; here's mine: There is no substitute for writing a book that people want to buy and read. If you've written one of those books, your chances are very good indeed. If you've written a no-hoper, your chances are zero. In between, you're in between. Percentage of the whole is meaningless. Thinking about it in those terms is a snare and a delusion.

10-15-2004, 08:19 PM
Well, I don't know much about this, but the fact that she really wasn't pushing for the money sounds promising. She may just want to offset some of her costs. Couriers are expensive. But it sounds like she believes in your work, not your pocketbook.
What I might do is ask her for the names of some other authors who she is agenting. Ask to contact them directly,then ask those authors what they think about her.

And as far as getting published, well, lots of people do it without agents, to smaller houses. (and now I can say that I am going to be one of them :) )If you are looking to be published by a biggie, you need the agent to be looked at by many. I know Atheneum, a children's publisher imprint of, I think, Simon and Schuster, won't look at anything unagented.

I am on the road to publishing my first book. If it goes well, then maybe I'll look for an agent. Maybe not.

10-16-2004, 03:55 AM
Congratulations Risseybug on the publishing! Did you just find out?

I want to thank all of you :kiss for the feedback. I have looked on other sites like this one and have not found anything disturbing about my agent. You guys have gone a long way to make me feel more comfortable with her. Now, let's just hope I can write to you all and tell you that I have a best seller on my hands one day! (Sigh....):snoopy

10-16-2004, 05:59 PM
Congratulations Risseybug on the publishing! Did you just find out?
Yep, this week. See the "LBF Books" thread :) And thank you.

10-20-2004, 02:49 PM
Congrats, Rissey!

James D. Macdonald
08-02-2005, 02:29 AM
It's entirely legitimate (if you've agreed to it in advance) for an agent to reimburse certain expenses -- which may include extraordinary postage/messenger fees -- out of the advance when the work sells.