Book Packagers

Dear Miss Snark,

I'm in-process of auditioning for a book packager for a Young Adult book and think I have a very good chance of landing the contract. If I do, I'd like to find an agent quickly because I know absolutely nothing about contracts and the work for hire might begin immdediately.

I also just completed my first YA ms and am ready to start shopping it around.

How do I approach this? Do I query an agent primarily on the book packager contract and in the second paragraph put in my pitch for my YA book? One well-known agent wrote in her blog that if you have an offer in hand, it is appropriate to CALL agents. While I feel uneasy about this, I would not have a lot of time to shop around for agents after being offered the work for hire. My other option, I guess, is to send out e-mails with "offer in hand, need agent" in the subject line.

Do agents consider book packaging deals as a lesser deal than an offer on a regular novel and are therefore less likely to offer representation? What is the best way to approach this?

First, if you get a work for hire contract it's an entirely different kettle of fish than a publishing contract and Miss Snark despite her fabulosity will be useless to you. You need a contracts lawyer for that. Hie thee over to National Writers Union and Authors Guild and take a look at what they say.

Second, you can use your book packager writing as a credential when you shop your YA novel. Agents are glad to see someone else paid you to write; it bodes well that you're not a total innocent.

However, most writers who write for packagers are not represented by agents. That's cause they get paid by the job, and there's only one job.

More info on book packagers is at their trade association website.

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