Which comes first: one off or collection?

Miss Snark:

I have a collection of essays -- some funny, some not, all previously unpublished. I am about to begin querying agents.

1. Is it possible/stupid/ill-advised to write in my query that I am interested both in hocking them individually and as a collection?

2. Is that a given?

3.Or is it best to just query an agent with simply a "collection of creative nonfiction" ... Period? And leave out all the qualifiers.

Thank you.

Well, first you're not hocking these unless you have a pawnbroker at the ready. If you do, let me know cause I too have some unpublished essays and a fondness for cold hard cash.

Here are the answers:

1. Not stupid, but not needed.
2. Yes.
3. Yes.

Should this query be leaping over my transom into the slushpile, I'd be interested in it as an entire collection. Once I sold that, I'd hawk the individual essays to magazines for first serial rights. I think it's easier to get mag eds to look if you can lead with "collection forthcoming from BrilliantAndSavvy Publisher".


Anonymous said...

Would you be WILLING to take on a collection of short pieces? I write novels, and also magazine stuff, but I generally advise aspiring authors to contact small publishers directly for collections and shorts, because there isn't much of a large press market for an agent to help with.

While there's usually a market for "best of" collections of magazine pubbed short stories by individual authors, I guess I haven't heard of that many agents (including my own) who are interested in previously unpubbed stories/essays/etc.

Is there a viable market that it would be worth it to tell writers to submit to agents, if that's all they write? Just wondering...

a Loyal Snarkling :)

Miss Snark said...

They'd have to be exceptional beyond mere words for me to do it again. It took me a LONG time to find the right place for a really really good, and very funny and touching collection.
I'm not eager to work that hard again.

(retires to slacker seat in gallery)

Donny B said...

Wouldn't a publisher be more interested in the collection if they knew that at least some of the essays had been published in magazines? Doesn't that give them, and the author, more credibility in the eyes of an agent, publisher and/or reader?