oh, so you want me now, huh??

Let's say a writer has had interest from agents, but before one offered a deal the writer was offered a publishing contract by a small publisher. Writer returns to agent and says they have an offer and the agent seems surprised, although they knew the writer was submitting their work elsewhere.

As is often the case, once you get material out there and the agents learn you aren't signed to another agent but still have a book deal, some seem to get interested in you.
What advice would you have for writers in such circumstances?

I think everyone who reads your blog believes in the value of an agent, and let's say the writer still wants an agent. Would you say they should consider offers from agents that rejected them before? Or jump at the chance for representation if someone credible comes knocking?

One author told me that they had no time for agents that got interested after a sale - as they put it, you've already done their job.

Yea, someone once told me that enough monkeys and typewriters in a room could write that author's novel too.

Of course it's nice when a prospective client shows up with a deal in hand. It jump starts the process and puts a deal in the win column; always a nice thing.

If you have a deal in hand and several agents making offers, evaluate the choices on a clean slate. Get over the "they rejected me before and they just want me now cause I did all the work" cause you've only STARTED the process, not completed it.

Choose the best agent you can get, and then you'll see just exactly what value we bring to the process.


Anonymous said...

It's my belief that if you sold the book and have the deal in hand, agents should offer you their services under a reduced commission. (For this deal only.) You haven't done her job. You've done SOME of it.

Anonymous said...

What Ms. Epstein suggests is fair and reasonable, but I wouldn't worry about the level of the commission. I'd worry about getting the best agent available to you.

What I would emphasize about all else, however, is making sure that the agent you select is simpatico. I selected the "best" agent who offered representation, but defined "best" in terms of sales track record alone. Am I sorry now? Yep.

Anonymous said...

While I respect Miss Snark's advice, I tend to feel a degree of affront when I peruse agents' websites and see stuff along the lines of: 'We do not accept submissions from previously unpublished writers, but if you have an offer in hand, then it's okay, just put that as the subject of the e-mail..."

What da heck? I'd prefer to deal with an agent who has committed some time to me, the untouchable previously unpubbed. My attitude is: 'up yours you snotty, supercilious, soulless bigtime agent who would only acknowledge my existence when I've already gotten a publisher to commit.'

Regrettable? Well, it's the truth.