It's over...how long do I have to pay?

Dear Miss Snark,

I've searched the Snarkarchives (thanks, Miss Adventure) but can't find anything about this.

Five years ago an editor said she'd like to see my story again if I made certain changes. I wasn't able to do them at that time but now I have.

The original submission was made through my agent. Two years ago we parted ways and I'm planning to re-submit on my own. Is that horribly unethical? If the editor makes an offer, should my ex-agent get 15% since she made first contact?

Get out your contract with your former agent. Look at the paragraph that says "bloodsucking leach-length of time fangs are inserted". Sometimes this will also say "duration of agreement" or "commissions".

Most likely there will be wording that addresses this issue. Mine says I get a piece of you for a year after the contract is over if you sell to someone I pitched to.

If you DON'T have a contract, well, now you know why you should. Still and all, a year is pretty much fair, and five years is more than fair.

Bottom line: It's not unethical to resubmit and if you sell it, not pay a commission.


theinadvertentauthor said...

Can you spell P-R-O-C-R-A-T-I-N-A-T-E?

Miss Snark said...


Do I win?

theinadvertentauthor said...

LOL...I couldn't get past the part where it took five years to resubmit!

Anonymous said...

Five years? That's nuthin.

I only just got around [Jan 2006] to shopping a book I wrote in 1997. An editor at Kensington had advised me back then to make some changes and resubmit and I never got back to her.

I now have a terrific agent who's negotiating a two-book deal for me with a top shelf publisher. I'm previously unpubbed, and have no contacts in the biz.

So to you procrastinators out there: let them laugh.

Termagant 2 said...

Sometimes these Magnum Opuses (sp?) just have to sit & ferment for a while.

I have a pending deal for a book I first scribbled in 1996. It's improved since then. A lot, I hope.

T2, whose verification word is gcygklgs, which is how a half-giggle, half-snort is actually spelled