Page 1 of 1

Agent before or after contract?? o_0

Posted: January 18th, 2011, 8:29 pm
by passingby3
I just finished reading Orson Scott Card's 'How to write science fiction and fantasy' and I came across a section on agents. What I have learn't over the past few months in trying to understand the whole publishing prosess through my own research plus reading countless writing books, is that if you want any hope in getting noticed by a publisher (and within your lifetime and not have your work sitting on the bottom of the slush pile forever) is that you seek an agent who will help you find a publisher for your story...obviously the agent is there to help you get the best out of your contract, but I was under the impression that the agent was also there to help you find a publisher.. not only help you once you've found a publisher yourself..that could take forever and may not even happen at all!

I quote from the book -

" For your first novel, you don't need an agent until you've got a contract offer from a publisher. Unless you have a track record with short fiction, the kind of agent who'll take you on before you've actually received an offer from a publisher is usually not the kind of agent who'll be able to do much to advance your career. Once you have that contract in hand, however, you can send it to the agent you want to have representing you and say, "House Y has sent me this contract. would you like to represent me?'. "

help??

Re: Agent before or after contract?? o_0

Posted: January 18th, 2011, 9:57 pm
by cheekychook
Generally speaking agents help the writer's they represent find a publisher who is interested in publishing their book. IF a writer already has managed to get interest from a publisher, and agent can still be useful in negotiating a good deal for the writer. I don't know when the book you're quoting was written, but I'd say that's inaccurate in terms of today's publishing guidelines, at least in the US. In fact, writers are advised NOT to contact publishers on their own because, if they have, and they're not successful, then an agent can no longer pitch the publisher with that book, as it's already been done. If you are interested in self-publishing or any of the newer e-publishing options, then an agent doesn't need to be involved at all, and in most cases wouldn't be interested in being involved anyway. Hope that helps clarify.

Re: Agent before or after contract?? o_0

Posted: January 20th, 2011, 10:45 pm
by Nathan Bransford
cheekychook wrote:Generally speaking agents help the writer's they represent find a publisher who is interested in publishing their book. IF a writer already has managed to get interest from a publisher, and agent can still be useful in negotiating a good deal for the writer. I don't know when the book you're quoting was written, but I'd say that's inaccurate in terms of today's publishing guidelines, at least in the US. In fact, writers are advised NOT to contact publishers on their own because, if they have, and they're not successful, then an agent can no longer pitch the publisher with that book, as it's already been done. If you are interested in self-publishing or any of the newer e-publishing options, then an agent doesn't need to be involved at all, and in most cases wouldn't be interested in being involved anyway. Hope that helps clarify.
Awesome summary!

Occasionally, after an author goes through the query process and doesn't find an agent, they might then approach publishers that are willing to look at unsolicited material. My former client Jim Duncan went this route and got himself a deal. So it does happen, but it's usually best to try to find an agent first.

Re: Agent before or after contract?? o_0

Posted: January 20th, 2011, 11:37 pm
by Claudie
cheekychook wrote:I don't know when the book you're quoting was written, but I'd say that's inaccurate in terms of today's publishing guidelines, at least in the US.
I had the book within arm's reach (literally) and the copyright inside is 1990. I'll bet that in 20 years, the publishing industry had ample time to change.

Re: Agent before or after contract?? o_0

Posted: January 22nd, 2011, 4:34 pm
by passingby3
Thanks for clearing all that up for me guys ;)

^^ yea I just checked and it is a rather dated book..most of my writing books are hehe. But even so, they still contain a wealth of information that will never go out of date ;)