1. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

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    Agent or Small Press?

    Discussion in 'Publisher Discussion' started by Adam Bolander, Oct 10, 2020.

    I've spent the last year or so searching for a literary agent to represent my books to publishers, but no luck. Somebody just told me that my time might be better spent finding small (and legit) publishing houses that accept queries from authors and trying to go through them. It probably won't land me a huge deal like a bigger house would offer, but at least I'd be getting somewhere. What do you guys think?

    Also, while we're here, does anybody have any specific agents or publishers they'd recommend I submit to? I need someone who's looking for young adult urban fantasy. Thanks!
     
  2. r.ross

    r.ross Member

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    Hi Adam,
    Getting an agent is hard - I sympathise with you. Have you tried searching for new agents? New agents will be expanding their lists and actively seeking new clients.
     
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  3. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    I don't think there is a right or wrong answer.

    Work on your next novel while continuing to seek an agent. Once finished, you will have two novels to send out to agents. Unless, it is in the same series. And, of course, finding an agent does not equate to the manuscript finding a publisher.

    You are correct in that finding a 'legitimate' small publisher is important. An inept or scammy small press can do far more harm than good to a writing career.

    It really depends on your goals. Most small presses will not get you into bookstores. The immediate 'reader base' of a small press is less than a major press, so even launching will be more difficult. Yes, big presses have larger marketing budgets and platforms and connections, but often new authors do not get a lot of effort in those areas.

    Other things to consider with agents:
    The query letter may not be doing the trick and needs to be changed
    YA Urban fantasy may be a tough sell to an agent (because it may be a tough sell to publishers)
    Maybe the story doesn't work for them

    My opinion?
    You have to follow your dream/your goal the best you can. If you view small press as an opportunity, that is one thing. If you view going with a small press as settling, that is another. And there is no guarantee that a small press will pick up your novel. If you do well with a small press, it could be a stepping stone for an agent, and possibly a big press contract.

    I've been with a small press for a number of years, and have been happy. I've sold good number of books, but not nearly the volume I suspect I would if I were to have published the same # of novels with a large press. My books make a profit for my publisher, but the numbers probably wouldn't justify renewed contracts with some of the big houses.

    My publisher doesn't publish YA books. I don't know off hand of any that do since YA isn't what I write. :(
     
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  4. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

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    That's an interesting idea. Do you know a website that lists newer agents?
     
  5. r.ross

    r.ross Member

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    If you google/search: new agents seeking <your genre> you'll find something.

    I googled 'new agents seeking YA fantasy' and the 3rd result down looks promising.
     
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  6. hyacinthe

    hyacinthe Active Member

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    I can't imagine trad publishing without an agent.

    what are you writing while you're querying?
     
  7. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I personally went the small press route when I first published my books.

    The only caveat I would point out (unfortunately from experience) is that small presses have a greater chance of going under, which mine ultimately did. They were a legit publisher who had been around for 10 years, were well respected in the genre, and published thousands of books, but ultimately they couldn't compete in the changing publishing market.

    When your publisher goes out of business, your books go out of print and it's almost impossible to get another publisher to pick them up. It sucks. I eventually self-published my entire backlist, but it wasn't how I set out to do things, and I have little time/money for promotion.
     
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  8. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

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  9. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Get off my Balzac... Staff Contributor

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    You're going to want to have dozens of agents lined up. They take something like one out of every 500 manuscripts (??) And you could waiting months for a response... so have a plan and a backup plan and a steady stream of manuscripts.
     
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  10. hyacinthe

    hyacinthe Active Member

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    no, I mean, what book are you writing while you're querying?
     
  11. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

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    Oh, I've been working on a new story. Completely unconnected to Henry Rider. It doesn't have a title yet, but I've posted the first chapter here if you want to see it: https://www.writingforums.org/threads/untitled-shapeshifter-fantasy.167004/
     
  12. r.ross

    r.ross Member

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    Adam, I've just read your cover letter (Henry Rider) - sounds like a great concept. Original. Fingers crossed you find an agent.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2020
    Adam Bolander likes this.
  13. r.ross

    r.ross Member

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    @Adam Bolander - I forgot to ask, have you ever used query tracker? That's a good spot to find agents. You can search via genres on there. Very helpful.
     

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