Thursday, December 08, 2011

Telefonita questions

Dear Ms. Reid:
I have contacted a (very) small press about my novel and we have gotten to the point where they have requested a full. In the event they accept this manuscript, would it then be all right for me to telephone an agent (maybe even you, perhaps) to negotiate the contract?

no no no.

no phone.

In this circumstance you will EMAIL an agent to inquire if they are interested in helping you negotiate the contract. (a good example can be found in this BookEndsLLC blog post)

And probably you're not going to find one who will because 15% of a small advance is usually not enough money to make it worth while.  Most agents or agencies have standard contracts with publishers with whom they do business on a regular basis.  We don't have to renegotiate most of the terms and conditions on each deal.

With a new publisher and a small press, much of that has to be negotiated and it's time consuming as hell.

If you get to this point and you can't find an agent to help you, email me again and I'll give you the name of a contract review specialist who charges by the hour and can give you advice on which clauses you can/should negotiate with the publisher.


Kristin Laughtin said...

Email is the right way to go, but I believe it's also important to indicate in the subject line that there is an offer so the agent understands the urgency of the matter and it stands out from the pile of queries.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I didn't know they existed.

Unknown said...

I am continually impressed by Janet. Her generosity towards the writing community is inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Just so your reader knows, this is pretty much how I got not one agent but two. One for a screenplay option (and subsequent sale) and one for a verse novel. So it can happen. But yes, I contacted the second agent by email. The first was a personal reference from a mentor.

Ali Trotta said...

Very informative. Thanks for this!

Also, just saw the cover for FALSE MEMORY. Love it!

Taymalin said...

John: I wholeheartedly agree.

Janet is fantastic. Anyone who wants to write for publication should read her archives, on this blog and Queryshark.

I don't think it's possible to say thank you enough to the people who spend so much of their free time helping the clueless masses.

Thanks Janet :) You're awesome.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

I used to think ‘Clueless masses’ were a lot of Catholics sitting around in big stone buildings reciting-redemption with beads in their hands. Now according to you...I’m one, and I’m not even Catholic.
I guess there's worse things to a republican ?

Taymalin said...

Wry Wryter,

I'm not Catholic either, but I'm definitely part of the clueless masses. But shh, don't tell anyone. It will ruin my image as a know-it-all ;)