You commented in one of your last posts that an agent would not want to take on a client that had already approached some publishers. Understandable.
In a previous post, I understood one of your comments to say that an agent would not be interested in working with a small press, as there's no real financial incentive.
I'm mid-querying process - a healthy number of rejections, a good deal of radio silence and
a gratifying handful of manuscript requests. While all this is going on - and I do understand (sort of) the leisurely pace of the process - some small presses open the window for direct author submissions for perhaps a month. After a month, they will close and not open til summer of next year. They respond at the end of a month.
So, there is a well regarded (for my genre and little universe) small press open for submissions now. Some colleagues encourage me to submit although I still have manuscripts out there in agent world - assuming that the whole process is so slow and there is no guarantee that any of these fine agents will pick me up, and that submitting to this small press or another could give me more more potential options.
May I have your thoughts? Also, what's the deal with agents and small presses?
There is no right or wrong answer on this because it's a question of strategy, and whether a strategy is right or wrong can only be measured when you've got results.
Things to consider: if you "win" the open submission process and you're offered a contract, do you have tools at hand to negotiate for yourself? I've done a couple blog posts on this topic so I know there are some resources in the archives.
Next thing to consider: if you "lose" the open submission process, are you willing to close off a potential publisher once you have an agent (if you get one of course.) If a publisher has seen, and passed, on your work, they're not willing to look at it again from an agent (most likely.)
This is the kind of one hand or the other that can paralyze you with indecision, I know. Me, I'm a risk taker (no surprise, given my profession.) I'd rather go for something than not.
Thus, if this were my decision, I'd submit my work to the publisher, but then I'd make SURE I was prepped for that next step. And I'd keep querying.
As for "what's the deal with agents and small presses?" I'll leave it at this: working with small presses can be great, but inevitably it's more work for less money.