I want to be rich AND respected

I'd love to hear your take on hardcover v. trade paperback. My demographic is smart, savvy women, and one prospective agent told me that she thinks TP is the best outlet (better sales), while another said she'd aim for HC (more prestige).

Does an agent's lack of desire to go for the HC, which I think I'd prefer, indicate a slightly less enthusiastic attitude or a belief that this book won't be a huge seller? Or is she just telling me the straight skinny, while this other agent might have her head in the clouds?

And is it narcissistic for me to bring up film rights? (Surely, nearly every writer thinks that his or her work is good enough for film, but well, I think my work is good enough for film!) I don't want to come off as delusional, but at the same time, I want someone who is going to secure as much as possible for me.

Trade paper originals are very very smart for first time writers reaching smart savvy women. You want sales not prestige. Prestige doesn't keep you published; sales do. That said, if you sell in hardcover and you lead the publisher's list, you'll get a lot more marketing and sales support. No agent can tell you if a hc will lead the list until it's sold, and even then, it's subject to change.

It's all a crapshoot and there is absolutely no way to reduce this to even poker table odds. You're going to gamble and hope for the best.

Ask each of the prospective agents who they work with for film deals. All of us have film agents tucked away in LaLa Land. Your literary agent, whomever she turns out to be, will send the ms to her film agent for shopping. Then just forget about it. No amount of nagging, nudging or asking for updates will move that manuscript around one little bit.

1 comment:

The Governor of Jennsylvania said...

We were faced with a similar dilemma when my book went up for auction. When the bidding editors asked if we envisioned this as a TP or HC, my agent replied, “We’re open to being persuaded either way.”

If there’s a better answer to this question, I’ve yet to hear it.

(P.S. The winning publisher went with trade paperback.)