Friday, October 12, 2018

Someone might want me, what do I do now?

I have some strong interest from a publisher on a novel from that I previously queried you about. If an offer comes through and I need help negotiating it, could I approach you with it? This is also a general question that might work for the blog too, if you can approach an agent who turned down your query if you get an outside offer, or what to do if you get an offer but don't have an agent. I know you can negotiate with the publisher (if they accept unsolicited submissions) directly, but what if they ask you to get an agent?

I'm always glad to hear from an unrepped writer who needs some guidance on an offer. I generally don't take those projects on (particularly if I've already passed) but I can direct you to some people who can help you negotiate the contract.

Publishing contracts are minefields; never step into one without a sniffer dog like me at your side.

[Audio insert: gasp of horror from Her Grace, the Duchess of Yowl at the mere mention of a dog.]

If you've got interest from a publisher, the first thing to remember is don't say yes to anything. The more you say yes to, the less negotiating room you have.

If you get the offer, you can say "I'm delighted! I need to send this to my sniffer dog." Publishers who resist that kind of information--they don't like agents, they won't negotiate--tend to be that way for a reason, and I'll let you intuit what it is.

How you query this: put OFFER IN HAND in the subject line. Lead with the name of the publisher in the email, and most important, what the time line is. Most publishers don't want to hang about for weeks waiting on you to Leash Up. When you tell them you're delighted, ask what their time line is for a response.

And huzzah for interest!


CynthiaMc said...

Good to know.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Interesting. Good to know.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

If this were to happen to me I would immediately forward to you a can of the world's finest tuna wrapped in a Sherwin Williams paint chart along with a bag of confetti with a question mark on each piece of shiny paper.
Just saying...

Janet Reid said...

*engages anti-confetti ray gun*

geeze, I'da settled for cookies!

Amy Schaefer said...

I expect one of the most welcome results of switching from paper queries to e-queries is that agents no longer get a lapful of glitter when they open the mail. Ahh, the good old days.

NLiu said...

Have a mental image of DoY sitting on Janet's lap covered in glitter, utter distain written on every quivering whisker.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Am researching Cookie of the Month Club.

Colin Smith said...

Speaking of cookies, wifey made a couple of batches last night. Regular chocolate chip and oatmeal chocolate chip. Outstanding! I might have to have me one... I'll think of you all as I eat. ;)

BTW, I thought this article a good candidate for the Treasure Chest "Gems" page, so I added it.

Dena Pawling said...

A note from one of the attorneys [me] who reads this blog - if no agent is interested, or if you really don't want an agent, there are Intellectual Property attorneys out there [NOT me] who can advise you on the details of the contract, and assist you in negotiating it so it's not all one-sided in favor of the publisher. Yes the contract first offered will be like that. At least have an IP attorney read through it and advise you, BEFORE you sign.


Claire Bobrow said...

Good info to know. Thanks for asking the question, OP, and congrats!

Carolynn - that was hilarious :-)

John Davis Frain said...

Nice headline. When people IRL say to me, "Someone might like me. What do I do now?" I invariably answer, "RUN AND HIDE. They're going to kill you!"

Then their lips push out and their face gets squishy and they say, "you're just trying to get back to your silly, little writing session, aren't you."


So, don't take my advice, OP. Ever.

Even though one day you'll wish you had.

Steve Stubbs said...

If the publisher accepts unagented submissions, it is a small press. That means no advance and you might get a small check in a year maybe.

That is fine because this is a hobby anyway. Bur it would be very surprising if agents, who imagine they can make a living off publishing deals and finance a penthouse on Central Park South Street are going to be jumping fences to get at it.

You may have a long dry spell querying them, especially if S. King or J.K. Rowling is one of their clients.

As for attorneys, find out what they charge. You can get someone who fixes parking tickets out of a storefront office cheap. But an IP attorney who believes IP stands for hIgh Price will want your whole royalty check to spend five minutes looking at the contract and shorting a couple of times.

I have repeatedly found that lawyers are a waste of time and money. "Everything on that page is engraved in granite. Whaddya want ME to do about it?" Well, he could start by looking for another client.

Best wishes, but be aware that there is ZERO money in this for a year or more and little enough after that. It's just a hobby, so it does not have to be profitable. I am a parsimonious soul. I say keep a very close eye on expenses.

Dellcartoons said...

>Publishing contracts are minefields; never step into one without a sniffer dog like me at your side.

>[Audio insert: gasp of horror from Her Grace, the Duchess of Yowl at the mere mention of a dog.]

Does that mean Her Grace wishes to go into the the minefield instead of letting a dog do it?

That is quite noble of DoY. I did not think she had it in her