Who's on First? No, That's on Second? What? no..That's at 1745 Broadway

Miss Snark,When you send a manuscript to editors, do you focus on larger houses before making inquiries to smaller ones? How strongly do you and/or other agents focus on making sales to the bigger publishers?Thanks.

There are only 7 large houses left in NYC.

1. Random House and all its villages
2. Penguin Group
3. Simon and Schuster
4. Warner
5. Harper
6. Harcourt
7. Holtzbrink group (SMP etc)

Add to that the next tier down with good publishers who can cough up serious money:

McGraw Hill
Perseus Book Group
Houghton Mifflin

And you've got a decent list of places to look first for some serious money.

The downside is, most of these places have to sell a shitload of books to make the project pay.
So, if you have a great first novel, chances are you aren't selling it to Random House cause they think they need to sell 40,000 copies of something to make it fly.

But yes, we give them the first look. It's not exclusive though. Unless an editor is gong to read something this week, I keep pitching and sending till it's sold.

And if we end up selling it to someplace farther down the list, and it's an amazing success, we all chant "I told you so" around the campfire.

But, yes, I look for serious money first. Most of us do.
We'd be idiots not to, right?


Finch said...

Thanks very much for your answer.

Anonymous said...

I sold my first novel to Random, as it happens. They sold 40,000 copies. And they're -still- not happy! Just so's you know ...

Miss Snark said...

Little Random, or a division of the RH overall? 40,000 hardcover in a first novel?

There's a reason they like those celebrity books that sell sell sell. Makes it hard for the rest of us though.

Anonymous said...

Doubledell Ballanway Crowntam, somewhere in there. (How vague does one have to be to remain anonymous?) Not Knopf, though, with their fancy non-silent K.

'Little Random' means not a division, but the actual RH? Or juvenile RH?

And 40,000 hardcovers of a first novel, yes--but sold to bookstores, not to actual non-returnable human-type readers. Or buyers. I could care less if they actually read.

Anonymous said...

Ah, back in the old pre-Bertelsmann's days, before the bean-counters began to speak German, publishing with RH was a bit different.

Anonymous said...

anonymous who is not me: There _were_ no pre-Berteslmann days. We were _always_ at war with Oceania.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Was haben Sie gesagt? Haben Sie ein Problem mit Bertelsmann? Wir brauchen Sie nicht!

All said jokingly, of course. And don't mention the grammar. It probably sucks. :)