Do Agents take the piss?

Discussion in 'Publisher Discussion' started by Steve Coombes, Feb 8, 2019.

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  1. BayView

    BayView Not even a little tender Contributor

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    I think it's also useful to remember that getting an agent is not the final goal. It's just a step on the way to the final goal (being well-published and, presumably, building a writing career or sideline). Just getting an agent does you no good if that agent isn't going to be a good partner for you, and starting a partnership with deception and manipulation probably isn't a great way to go.

    Also... if an agent doesn't think she can sell your work, she's not going to agree to represent you regardless of whether some other agent may (or may not) have shown interest.

    It really does come down to writing something people think will sell.
     
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  2. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    There's no question that technology made the process of writing easier, less expensive, and, for those who have day jobs and need to write deep into the night, quieter. It probably made the process more error-prone (spellcheck and grammar check notwithstanding). But I suspect that accepting a full ms with every submission would tax the capacity of most garden-variety office servers. Besides, the process agents follow when they get a query goes something like this: 1) Good title? Good hook? If yes, go to #2. 2) Good opening? Do the first 50 words sparkle? If yes, go to #3. 3) Does interest build for rest of first page? If yes, go to #4. 4) Does rest of sample submitted with query stand up? If yes, request larger sample or full. 5) Does full ms look good? If yes, go to #6. 6) Offer contract.

    They follow this pattern because steps 1-4 mimic what studies show readers do in considering a book for purchase.
     
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  3. BayView

    BayView Not even a little tender Contributor

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    I'm not sure agents care too much about titles... I don't think I've ever had a book sold through my agent that didn't end up going through a title change. And what do you mean by "hook"? The query letter, I assume, but...?
     
  4. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Every agent has a different process. Some skim the query then go to the pages, some go straight to the pages, some read the query then go to the synopsis, some read the pages then go to the synopsis then to the query...

    Unless you've read an interview where they explain their process, you really can't second guess them. All part of the fun.
     
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  5. Steve Coombes

    Steve Coombes New Member

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    As I said I am not seriously proposing it as a good move BUT if they asked then saying it was confidential would be a reasonable reply. Just intimating another agent has shown interest may get them to read your submission earlier than 3 months.
    It does bug me though that the 3 months after which an author can consider the agent is uninterested is a miserable thing for an agency to say. Suppose they look at your submission after one month? You are lefte hanging for another 2 months waiting for no reason. It is why I will probably mail a lot of agents before waiting for the 3 months to expire.
     
  6. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    You seriously think you're the first person to come up with that idea? It doesn't work. Trust me.

    As I said before - you're not going to be able to handle anything about publishing if you can't handle a three-month wait for somebody who has no contract with you and no obligations to you of any kind.
     
  7. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Like @Tenderiser said it's a small world. Agents and publishers know each other. Who is representing you is not confidential. Anyone who says that will look stupid. And you will be asked if you contact other agents when you contact them.

    Three months is nothing. I'm sure you can find other things to do in three months to feel like you're not just waiting around. Maybe try writing. If there is interest, you can expect it to take longer. Taking on a new client is not something agents do hastily. Rejections can come quick, and if that's what you're after, fire away. Don't you want an agent who is careful and selective about who they take on?

    And, as @BayView said, getting an agent is not the end game. The publishing world moves quite slow even when everything lines up.
     
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  8. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Now that is an excellent suggestion. I wrote my second manuscript whilst querying my first.
     
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  9. graveleye

    graveleye Active Member

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    That's what I've done. As soon as I was done with the first I got an idea for a sequel and started hacking away. Writing the second has taken my mind off querying for the first... almost a little too much because I would rather spend my weekends writing than sending out queries.

    And three months is the blink of an eye, especially if you're older.
     
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  10. graveleye

    graveleye Active Member

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    F5 tenderiser! We be thinking alike:)
     
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  11. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Probably not. Although, I suspect that a query with an awful title might trigger the automatic discard reflex. I included it because it's part of the reader's selection process and the two are comparable to a great degree.
    Actually, I was thinking more of the logline, but, yes, the query letter.
     
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  12. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    @EdFromNY -- I wouldn't worry about titles too much. It's an easy enough fix if an agent or editor wants to retitle it. I've sort of come to expect it somewhat. I can't imagine a title so bad it would cause an instant rejection. We all put time and thought into the titles of our stories. My advice to this would be to not get too attached to a title, which in my opinion might actually be harder than coming up with a title that a writer thinks or knows is bad. I do really like the title of my WIP, but I'll change it to sell my book if that's what it takes. And often agents or editors are pretty good when it comes to titles.

    Sure, you need some sort of hook, but it's the novel that counts. I think some people try to say too much in a query letter. It's sort of like the intent of a resume is to get a job interview. You'll have time to go into detail in the interview if you get it. I think a query letter should spark some interest, but that's only so you get a request for the MS.
     
  13. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    The Deep Fryer's Heartbreak
    Racism for Fun and Profit
    The Joy of Misogyny

    I think these might earn an ASC (automatic shit can).

    I agree that some writers overthink the query. But the fact remains that if the query doesn't interest the agent, none of the rest of it will matter.
     
  14. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    Hey, congrats, @Tenderiser! Well done! Title, genre?
     
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  15. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Thanks Lew. :) I can share once the contract is finalised, which hopefully will be someday before I die.
     
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  16. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Yes. Congratulations, @Tenderiser. That's really great. Wishing you a lot of publishing success!
     

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