1. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    Just wanted to clear up something about how publishing works...

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by agentkirb, Jun 4, 2012.

    How does the process normally work for getting your story published in the US?

    First you would write the novel presumably. Then you would send it to an agent. Lets say he decides he likes the book. Then he would take care of marketing it to a publisher (or perhaps he already has the inside track with a few publishers).

    Is that mostly how it works? Would there ever be a time when you could skip over the agent and just go straight to a publisher? If your agent can't sell your story to a publisher, is there a certain amount of time he keeps it in his file just in case he finds someone like months in the future? Also, presumably an agent helps negotiate how much you get paid for what you write as well, is there usually an understood starting amount for new authors or could they negotiate a different amount every time?
     
  2. Egor
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    Egor Member

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    Every contract is different, but I think 15% of the royalties paid to the author is what the agent gets. The way you described the process is pretty much it. But keep in mind, you don't need an agent for smaller publishers; You need the for larger publishers, and you need them to be actively trying to get your book sold to those publishers. If they feel none of the big ones are going to bite, then the relationship with that agent is pretty much done, at least for that work. I mean, I wouldn't expect them to market the book to a small publisher because there wouldn't be any real money in it for them, and I sure wouldn't find a publisher who wanted my work and then give the agent 15% for doing nothing for me.

    Granted, if they want to go with a smaller publisher and then keep trying for movie/TV rights, foriegn rights, ect., that's cool. But if the agent has simply stopped trying to sell the manuscript and has put it in a file, then that relationship for that novel anyway is over. You might consider marketing it yourself to smaller publishers or if the agent will do it, and you don't want to, they could market it to the smaller publisher I suppose. Or you could self-publish and try building a readership that will in turn attract the attention of larger publishers.

    Now there is a caveat to what I said, and it's something you might want to keep in mind. Let's say the book won't sell to a publisher, but you keep the agent handling it anyway, even if you find a publisher yourself. You might keep the agent in the loop if you think you want them to handle your next work. I mean if the book was a no-go anyway, then what difference does it make? In other words, if you think they did a good job for you, and you’d have to self-publish anyway, and then you find a small publisher, you might want to let the agent handle it for you, just to keep a working relationship with them—assuming you want to keep that relationship.

    That’s my take on it, but I would certainly like to hear what some other more experienced authors have to say.

    Good Luck, Agent Kirb :)
     
  3. Chris Williams
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    Chris Williams New Member

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    Most publishers only take subs from agents that they know. They simply don't have the time to review a manuscript on spec from authors. The exception to this is someone who has self published and has a massive following.

    If you are like me, you need a good agent, someone who believes in you and your work, someone with a track record.

    Or you can self publish. Quickest route, but how many are really making money. Publishers work to promote you and your work. This is publicity that you just can't replicate unless you are well known.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A pervasive word in today's business world is networking. It takes years do develop a good professional network. The first few networking contacts you develop help you develop the rest of your network.

    A key, overlooked aspect of an agent is that he or she comes with a network. When you hand a manuscript off to an agent, he or she has the networking connections to move the manuscript quickly to a submissions editor's desk. He or she also knows which of the submissions editors in that network are most likely to be receptive to that material.

    The better the agent, the better the network.
     
  5. kingzilla
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    kingzilla Senior Member

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    Cogito, how do you figure out how better the network is?
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    kingzilla...
    by checking the agent's record... who are their clients?... what books have they gotten successfully published?

    close enough...

    yes... if you have a ms that fits small niche presses, they'll often take on unagented work... so may new indie publishers... you have to check each one to see if they do or not... children's book houses often do, since most agents won't bother with a single p/b by a new and unknown writer...

    nothing standard... each one would have her/his own limits...

    again, nothing standard... you can find this out for yourself by checking various publishers' websites to see what their advance and royalty payment figures are... new authors most often don't get any advance and if they do, it'll be much smaller than for established ones whose books have sold well...

    basic info on agents and how they work can be found here: http://www.invirtuo.cc/prededitors/pubagent.htm

    hope this helps...

    agentkirb... i'm curious... why that username, since you're not an agent?...
     
  7. Pyraeus
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    Pyraeus Member

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    "agentkirb... i'm curious... why that username, since you're not an agent?... "
    I think it's agent as in "James Bond, 007" rather than an agent for getting a publisher.
     
  8. Egor
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    Egor Member

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    That's what I thought as well. Secret Agent Man and all that.:)
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ah, so!

    that shows how single-minded i am when on a writing site... :rolleyes:
     

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