Publisher directly..No agent?

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
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shadow
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Publisher directly..No agent?

Post by shadow » August 22nd, 2010, 2:35 pm

What are the turn-offs if I had a request directly from a publisher? Are there any turn-offs or cons for not dealing with an agent like marketing and rights etc.?
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John Dillon
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Re: Publisher directly..No agent?

Post by John Dillon » August 22nd, 2010, 3:45 pm

Is the publisher legit? Major press? Small press? Vanity press?

Ostensibly, an agent has the connections with the publishers, but you don't need that. Furthermore, an agent should be able to get you a better deal than you can get for yourself, but you won't be sharing your advance or royalties with an agent, so that part is probably, at worst, a wash. Lastly, an agent should be able to protect your rights in your work. Depending on your ability to read, understand, and negotiate contracts, this component of the agent/writer relationship may be the most significant for you. At the very least, you're unlikely to understand the business as well as an agent does and foresee the danger areas (e.g., whether you should/can/must retain digital or foreign rights).

Of course, I'm making all of this up as I go along, but it sounds like I know what I'm talking about, right?

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shadow
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Re: Publisher directly..No agent?

Post by shadow » August 22nd, 2010, 4:11 pm

Lol John thanks for your answer :) I have background in business and deal with contracts all the time so that isn't an issue. The main issue for me that I am curious about is about marketing my book to the public. Don't agents take care of that normally and if I don't have one will I have to arrange book signings and stuff myself? The publisher is Medallion Press I bought a book from their press in Chapters and ended up submitting to them. They requested my full ms in 3 days and expressed much interest so I am just wondering what I should expect if they offer to work with me...Thank for your help :)
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rwarrencfp
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Re: Publisher directly..No agent?

Post by rwarrencfp » August 22nd, 2010, 5:05 pm

You may want to check out what Preditors & Editors has to say about Medallion.

http://pred-ed.com/pebm.htm

They say that Medallion has a "Very poor contract. Highly not recommended."

You should certainly proceed with caution here.

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Mira
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Re: Publisher directly..No agent?

Post by Mira » August 23rd, 2010, 2:31 pm

Oh, definitely re-think Medallion. There are definitely publishing companies that prey on writers. It's disappointing, but better to be protected.

And I'm fairly sure that the author arranges for their own marketing. The publisher will include the book in trade magazines. They do arrange for publicity for their A-listers, but unless I'm wrong, a debut author, for the most part, is responsible for their own marketing strategies. Some publishers even require an author to submit a marketing plan prior to contract.

An agent does tons of other things for you, though. Not marketing, but negotiating for rights and payments. Nathan has a couple links on his blog - you could check them out.

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Re: Publisher directly..No agent?

Post by Margo » August 23rd, 2010, 3:10 pm

Mira pretty much nailed it. Most new authors with traditional publishing companies will get minimal marketing budgets. Booking signings, interviews, etc, is usually the author's responsibility, especially debut author's and mid-listers, even the ones with agents. The publicist from the publisher should be consulted. Konrath has blogged about problems with signings that conflicted with the publisher-bookstore relationship. Co-op issues, etc.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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Mira
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Re: Publisher directly..No agent?

Post by Mira » August 23rd, 2010, 5:03 pm

Thanks, Margo. :)

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Re: Publisher directly..No agent?

Post by JuiceinLA » August 23rd, 2010, 6:29 pm

Mira wrote: And I'm fairly sure that the author arranges for their own marketing. The publisher will include the book in trade magazines. They do arrange for publicity for their A-listers, but unless I'm wrong, a debut author, for the most part, is responsible for their own marketing strategies. Some publishers even require an author to submit a marketing plan prior to contract.
I have been wondering about this.... Has Nathan ever done a blog/article on the topic of who pays for and arranges marketing? Does anyone else know of any good articles on the subject? And if it is the authors responsibility, How does that even work- do you just call up the local Borders and offer to do readings if they sell your book? How does Jon Stewart and Oprah get a hold of you when they want to do an on camera interview?

BTW: Great post and informative answers! Its really nice that everyone here really looks out for each other.

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Re: Publisher directly..No agent?

Post by Margo » August 23rd, 2010, 9:09 pm

JuiceinLA wrote:
Mira wrote:Does anyone else know of any good articles on the subject? And if it is the authors responsibility, How does that even work- do you just call up the local Borders and offer to do readings if they sell your book? How does Jon Stewart and Oprah get a hold of you when they want to do an on camera interview?
Konrath is a hyper-promoter, so his blog and writer articles have lots of info on how he promotes. He talks specifically about signings a few times. Here's a link, but you'll have to search around here. There's a lot to find:

http://www.jakonrath.com/

My other recommendation is to read industry blogs regularly. This stuff gets covered a lot, but you can miss it if you aren't checking in. Try the links Nathan has posted. Follow more links from those blogs/web sites, etc, until you find a good mix of informative bogs. And, of course, if you go to a conference or workshop, don't be the wallflower who never says anything and never looks up from the salad at lunch. Don't monopolize the conversation, of course, but when you get a chance to have lunch with an agent or editor or writer or you get into a Q&A session with an industry pro, use the time and pay attention to the answers other people get to their questions. Yeah, I know that sounds like common sense, but for some people it isn't obvious.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Publisher directly..No agent?

Post by Nathan Bransford » August 23rd, 2010, 9:29 pm

First, here's a post on submitting to publishers without an agent: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2009/09 ... agent.html

And regarding this question:
JuiceinLA wrote:
Mira wrote: And I'm fairly sure that the author arranges for their own marketing. The publisher will include the book in trade magazines. They do arrange for publicity for their A-listers, but unless I'm wrong, a debut author, for the most part, is responsible for their own marketing strategies. Some publishers even require an author to submit a marketing plan prior to contract.
I have been wondering about this.... Has Nathan ever done a blog/article on the topic of who pays for and arranges marketing? Does anyone else know of any good articles on the subject? And if it is the authors responsibility, How does that even work- do you just call up the local Borders and offer to do readings if they sell your book? How does Jon Stewart and Oprah get a hold of you when they want to do an on camera interview?

BTW: Great post and informative answers! Its really nice that everyone here really looks out for each other.
It depends on the publisher and the level of marketing commitment, but sometimes these events and promotions are arranged by the publisher, some by the author, and some of both. It's tough to do a post on it because there are few universals when it comes to promotions and publisher participation. Your mileage may vary.

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shadow
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Re: Publisher directly..No agent?

Post by shadow » August 23rd, 2010, 9:45 pm

Why thank you Maro, JuiceinLA, Mira, rwarrencfp, John and of course Nathan. I read your blog post Nathan and it certainly does ease things up...To be honest I wasn't meaning to query publishers. It just sort of happened, and this was the only publisher I queried. The rest were agents including Nathan who rejected me. I just started querying this novel and had gotten three agent rejections when I went to my e-mail and started reading their letter. It started out as a rejection letter but then I realized it was my first request lol and a quick one at that. I sent them my ms 1 day later and got a reply today that they got it and will be getting back to me, so they do seem prompt. Wish me luck lol, but anyways...If you already have a publisher does that make it easier getting an agent?
All things writing, visit my blog http://arielemerald.blogspot.com/

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Re: Publisher directly..No agent?

Post by Nathan Bransford » August 23rd, 2010, 9:47 pm

shadow wrote:Why thank you Maro, JuiceinLA, Mira, rwarrencfp, John and of course Nathan. I read your blog post Nathan and it certainly does ease things up...To be honest I wasn't meaning to query publishers. It just sort of happened, and this was the only publisher I queried. The rest were agents including Nathan who rejected me. I just started querying this novel and had gotten three agent rejections when I went to my e-mail and started reading their letter. It started out as a rejection letter but then I realized it was my first request lol and a quick one at that. I sent them my ms 1 day later and got a reply today that they got it and will be getting back to me, so they do seem prompt. Wish me luck lol, but anyways...If you already have a publisher does that make it easier getting an agent?
It can help, but speaking personally, I still have to love the work. I've passed on projects that had an offer ready to go simply because I knew I wasn't going to be the best agent for that author.

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