7.30.2006

Fly me to the moon(pie)

Dear Miss $nark:(ha!)

I am a snarkling, so I understand that during the sales process agents submit multiple copies of a MS simultaneously. I know what a pre-empt is. I know what an auction is.

Say a developing novelist is dealing with small presses, modeling her tactics on her favorite agent's. Stipulate she is honest about submitting simultaneously and follows the several SP's respective guidelines. Assume she gets two acceptances (setting aside thoughts like "lightning," "lottery," and c.).

Is there any accepted, etiquette-level guidance for how to handle this? Gratefully accept the chronologically first offer? (no) Re-query agents for help? (yes) One-off with a lawyer (seems like they might miss opporutnity)? Take the most favorable contract and wish the other fair winds and gentle rains? (no)


If you have two offers (and yes, lightning is involved) the first, and I mean THE FIRST thing you do is look at their sales channels. Who distributes? Do they HAVE distribution? What's the biggest book they've sold (a publisher who's never had a big book is going to learn on yours...yuck). Do they have pr and sales people? Do they have pr and sales budgets? Are they thinking you'll do it all? Do they know what BookSense is; have they had a BookSense book; will they pay for one if you get picked. Do they know any niche marketing?

All small publishers are not created equal. There's a LOT to be said for small nimble companies where you can dial up the marketing director at 8am on Monday in Vermont and speak to a live person. There's a lot to be said for a company that knows how to get your book into libraries. There's also a lot to be said, and none of it good, for people who have good intentions but no means to achieve them.

A publsher can offer you the moon and the stars, but you better be standing on a launch pad looking at a rocket if you plan on getting anywhere.

10 comments:

Keyana Landers said...

Hello Ms.Snark I really want to get my short stories and my poems published.I have wanted this for so long.Would you be interested in reading them?

Anonymous said...

Dear Miss Snark,

How many times should you get news from your agent about your manuscript being rejected before you start: A. Panicking; B. Rewriting; C. Dumping that project and moving on to the next one? Three rejections? Four? Five? Eighteen? One hundred?

Anonymous said...

Dear Two-Offers,
Man, I want to be you! Just imagine how sweet that phone call will be when you ring up your dream agent (who rejected you before), and say, "I've got two offers on the table. Will you help me choose?"

Hang on tight, you've got a thrilling ride ahead of you!

Anonymous said...

You better duck, keyana!

Kimber An said...

Hey, keyana landers, if you want to get your short stories and poems published there are lots of ezines who will publish them. The ones who pay offer about one penny per word. This may not sound glamorous, but it does get you known and provides you with practice in the publishing world. Do a google search! As far as I know, Miss Snark only handles books.

Anonymous said...

What a dilemma - two acceptances.
That's only happened to me once, and it was for a short story. I heard that Stephen King's first novel, 'Carrie' received several offers, all of them substantial - sort of a bidding war between publishers. That must have been exciting.

Serenity Now! said...

Such good advice. I avoided this by seeking an agent first... and now that we are going through a similar process I am SO HAPPY I DID because I would be absolutly balls to the wall bonkers.

Anonymous said...

I am in a strange place too. I have an agent who got two publishers interested enough to say yeah, we'll do it and it's been three months and I have not heard another word from either. Infact my previously joined at the hip agent has not responded to any emails in three weeks. I am probably being dumped from all sides. Sigh!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous asked:

How many times should you get news from your agent about your manuscript being rejected before you start: A. Panicking; B. Rewriting; C. Dumping that project and moving on to the next one?

I can only make a suggestion with respect to C. Don't wait for rejection #1. If you get an acceptance, you want the pub to ask what else you have available. An interested pub might reject you with "not exactly right for us, but what else do you have?"

-c- said...

Anon who hasn't heard in 3 weeks about a pending deal...sounds like you should just call your agent for a status check.