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Rhush
03-05-2005, 06:15 PM
My friend, who is a published author, told me that I might consider sending my work out to publishers rather than agents. I write in the fantasy genre. I'm not certain if that makes any differance, but I've heard that sometimes it's not too important for first time fantasy writers to have an agent. I've also heard that you have to be careful if you submit to publishers because if you do, later on... if you ever do get an agent, then your rejections before representation can hurt your chances. What do you guys think?

Sassenach
03-05-2005, 07:43 PM
Some publishers accept unagented submissions; some do not. Check their guidelines before submitting.


I've also heard that you have to be careful if you submit to publishers because if you do, later on... if you ever do get an agent, then your rejections before representation can hurt your chances. What do you guys think?

I think that is utterly baseless and not worth worrying about.

T42
03-05-2005, 08:03 PM
I wanted to say thanks to all of you that have left a message on my reputation box. I didn’t even know that the message “thing” existed so forgive me for not responding. I really feel welcomed here and I am glad that I have found AW and all these neat people. When I get up in the hill country I want to have a big weekend or weeklong event for all the writers of AW. I would love to make it a yearly event. I love camping out, barbeques, good music and sitting around the campfire. I have a son that has a band and I have a lot of musician friends so we could have music, writing contest and all kinds of fun. Set up booths, whatever you all want to do. How does that sound? Give me your take on it and what time of the year you all get vacations. Remember this is Texas; it might be best to make it a fall fest. It’s really nice here in the fall. You can still swim....:partyguy:

T42
03-05-2005, 08:06 PM
I just had another idea. We could sell our books, art or whatever else you have. We will be near Austin so a lot of stuff goes on….

victoriastrauss
03-05-2005, 08:35 PM
My friend, who is a published author, told me that I might consider sending my work out to publishers rather than agents. I write in the fantasy genre. I'm not certain if that makes any differance, but I've heard that sometimes it's not too important for first time fantasy writers to have an agent.I've heard this said too, and I disagree, at least if you want to approach any of the major SF/fantasy imprints such as Tor, Aspect, or Del Rey. At least some of these imprints specifically exclude unagented submissions, and those that accept them often take an incredibly long time to respond. I've heard from people who've been waiting a year, two years, or even more to hear back from Tor or Baen.

Bear in mind also that even imprints that accept unagented mss. put them at the bottom of the priority list (in other words, an author with a good agent, even if he's a new author, is always going to be ahead of you), and the person who eventually takes a look at your submission is more likely to be an intern or an assistant than an actual editor.

Manuscripts do get plucked from the slush pile--editors love to tell stories about this, to show that the odds can be defied. But if you ask them about the last time they bought an unagented ms., they may not be able to remember. The majority of new authors who find publication these days do so through agents. (Good agents, that is. There are plenty of bad ones. One of those is worse than no agent at all.)


I've also heard that you have to be careful if you submit to publishers because if you do, later on... if you ever do get an agent, then your rejections before representation can hurt your chances.It's not rejection per se that's an issue (EVERYONE gets rejected; even well-published authors get rejection slips), but the fact that a publisher that has rejected a manuscript isn't eager to see that particular ms. again. So if you're looking for an agent for your fantasy novel but it has already been turned down by Tor, Baen, and Roc, you've just closed off nearly half the available market, which makes you much less desirable to an agent.

You can sometimes get round this by retitling a manuscript--if you submitted on your own the submission probably got minimal attention anyway. And of course if you're trying with a new work, you're starting from scratch and don't have to worry about previous rejections.

- Victoria

Sassenach
03-06-2005, 12:09 AM
What Victoria said...

My comment wasn't based on re-submitting a previously rejected ms.

dragonjax
03-22-2005, 06:31 PM
Hey, Rhush:

Have you already exhausted your agent options? Certainly, if you have gone down the list of fantasy agents and you don't have an offer, and you're still sure that your MS is truly marketable as is, then sure, you could go direct to publisher. But, like Victoria said, unagented submissions are not a priority. If you're going to go the direct-to-publisher route, you may want to read up on which editor is accepting/looking for what. Sending a manuscript cold to, say, Tor, is going to put you right on the slush pile. But if you research the different editors there -- Patrick and Anna and David and Teresa and others -- you'll know who's looking for what, which may help reduce the slushiness of your manuscript. Also, a piece of advice that was given to me by a fantasy editor: Go to the big conventions and meet the editors -- and make your pitch face to face. If he or she is interested, you may get an invitation to submit your work...and then it's no longer unsolicited material.

Crunchy Frog
03-23-2005, 08:43 AM
Have you already exhausted your agent options? Certainly, if you have gone down the list of fantasy agents and you don't have an offer, and you're still sure that your MS is truly marketable as is, then sure, you could go direct to publisher.


So after you get rejected by all the agents, then later if you sell the same manuscript to a big NY publisher on your own, would it be tacky to re-query one of those agents who'd already rejected that manuscript?

Just wondering.

James D. Macdonald
03-23-2005, 08:51 AM
...would it be tacky to re-query one of those agents who'd already rejected that manuscript?


Nope, I wouldn't say it was tacky.

arainsb123
03-24-2005, 02:58 AM
Tor rejected one of my queries within 2 months, but it's been 8 months and Baen hasn't responded. Of course, Baen is pretty notorious for loooong slush pile waits.

clintl
03-24-2005, 03:14 AM
I've heard this said too, and I disagree, at least if you want to approach any of the major SF/fantasy imprints such as Tor, Aspect, or Del Rey. At least some of these imprints specifically exclude unagented submissions, and those that accept them often take an incredibly long time to respond. I've heard from people who've been waiting a year, two years, or even more to hear back from Tor or Baen.

Victoria, I have seen you address this issue in a number of threads now, and always with the same consistent advice. I have also heard from other sources (including Teresa Nielsen Hayden's blog) that getting the chances of getting a good agent are better if you get an offer from a publisher first. So here's my question - what if you know one of the editors at one of the imprints? Would it make sense to approach him/her directly first with a query before looking for an agent?

victoriastrauss
03-24-2005, 05:18 AM
Victoria, I have seen you address this issue in a number of threads now, and always with the same consistent advice. I have also heard from other sources (including Teresa Nielsen Hayden's blog) that getting the chances of getting a good agent are better if you get an offer from a publisher first.With the greatest respect (nay, reverence!) I disagree with Teresa on this one. I've just heard too many stories about looooong waits and cursory reads. Certainly, writers do occasionally break in through the slush. Editors love these stories, because they show that the odds can be bucked. But if you ask them to tell you about the last time they bought an unagented manuscript, they'll probably have to think awhile before they can remember.


So here's my question - what if you know one of the editors at one of the imprints? Would it make sense to approach him/her directly first with a query before looking for an agent?Yes. This is a situation in which you can disregard my advice. If you know an editor well enough to approach her directly with your ms., it's certainly worth doing. A personal acquaintance will likely separate you from the slush about as effectively as being repped by a good agent.

- Victoria

dragonjax
03-24-2005, 07:35 AM
So after you get rejected by all the agents, then later if you sell the same manuscript to a big NY publisher on your own, would it be tacky to re-query one of those agents who'd already rejected that manuscript?

Just wondering.

Crunchy, if you get an offer from a big NY publisher, you could simply hire a contract lawyer to handle the actual terms of the deal, then find an agent after you sign. Just a thought. But no, I don't think it's tacky in the slightest.

dragonjax
03-24-2005, 07:41 AM
So here's my question - what if you know one of the editors at one of the imprints? Would it make sense to approach him/her directly first with a query before looking for an agent?

This has actually happened to me. Thanks to previous contact with a particular acquisitions editor, I sent her e-mail asking if her imprint was still looking to acquire works in one specific genre. She surprised me by saying no, and that the imprint was now looking for something else...which happened to be the genre my book was in. Furthermore, this is contrary to the information posted on the imprint's website. So I asked if I could send a query; she said yes, send it with the first three chapters and a short synopsis to her directly (as opposed to the other acquisitions editors). I did, and less than one month later, she requested the full MS as well as a detailed synopsis. So now a publisher (imprint of a large house) is considering my book...along with five agents.

Knowing people is, in my opinion, the BEST way to get the official scoop as well as to increase your chances of getting agent interest. So yes, if you know an imprint acquisitions editor, query directly. That's my advice.

And good luck!