Agent Snoozabelle

Dear Miss Snark,

I never in a million years thought I would be the one to bring this up, but I have stumbled upon a great dilemma. I recently signed with a small, but reputable publisher. However, today I received a letter in the mail from Uber Agent asking for a partial for the same story. Since I have already signed, I know the story is no longer on the table, but how do I tell this to Uber Agent without burning any bridges? I would love to have Uber Agent in my corner, but I know that I can't with this particular manuscript. (I queried her LONG before the publisher, but the publisher replied first.) Please, any suggestions would be helpful.

Needing Tact...And An Agent,

Pre-printed postcards saying "You Snooze, You Lose" probably don't qualify as the kind of tact you're looking for but then again...

You write Agent Snoozabelle and say "I sold this to Publisher Alacrity on my own but I'd still like to work with an agent", and send the partial.

Agents do more than sell work. You're smart to have not said "oh darn" and tossed the letter.


Heidi the Hick said...

The agent will still work with this writer to arrange contracts with the publisher and that sort of stuff that writers aren't necessarily naturally good at, correct?

Anonymous said...

Depends on the advance. If it's $1500. or thereabouts (what some perfectly legitimate publishers offer) it might be hard to get the agent to look. This might be something you'd want to pay a literary atty an hourly or flat rate to look over.
And if you're thinking it's a good way to ease onto an agent's list, forget it. Would be a one-shot deal.

Anne Elliott said...

Does publisher own foreign & film rights too? If not, agent could have an interest in repping those

Steve said...

I had a similar situation with my first novel (small press acceptance while uber-agent considered a full). I weighed my options and went with the small press (big mistake, but another story), and contacted the agent to propose a similar arrangement.

His response? My manuscript pages tossed in a SAS padded mailing bag and stuffed into my mailbox.


Anonymous said...

FWIW, my agent took me on though my current WIPs were already in contract. She is the type who reps authors, not individual books, which I would expect of any "uber" agent. I hope to repay her faith by giving her a fantastic next book to sell so she can make some money out of the arrangement. IOW, if uber agent likes your work, could you not sign with him/her to represent future contracts since this small press one is a done deal?

Best of luck with this.