I've been reading your blog as well as Query Shark for years now. Much of what I learned there helped me shape my queries and pitches, and also taught me a ton about the publishing business.Yes.
I searched the blog but couldn't find an answer to my specific situation, though it probably exists and I just missed it or am bad at Search Terms.
I wrote a novel and queried extensively. To put it simply, I wrote a dystopian vampire book. I knew when I wrote it that most people were over dystopian AND vampire, myself included, but that's the book that came out of my brain. Surprise! After 70+ queries, I didn't sign an agent.
Then, this past spring, well known SFF publisher announced that it would take unagented submissions for one month. I found out about it via Twitter and sent my query/synopsis on the final day. They got over 600 subs! They asked for my full, then three months later an OFFER! A real one. With an advance!
So I'm sitting here with a contract. I consider myself *informed* and not entirely ignorant of publishing contract issues, but now I wonder how I should proceed. Few considerations:
Optimally, I'd have an agent, but I don't.
(1) Should I try to get an agent before I sign the contract, and
(2) How the heck would I do that? Dear Agent Bathory**, I already secured a book deal. Want to be my agent now? I assume I don't do it in standard query form. Or do I?You put "offer from X(name of publisher) received" in the subject line of the query. And then, your query is in the email.
I hope you also told the publisher you were going to secure representation. Don't just leave them hanging.
(3) If they do want to be my agent, what is the correct way to address the agent's percentage on this first book, considering that I secured the deal without said agent? Is it just one of those things where I say good for me, but the agent should still get their 15% going forward?Your agent is going to do a lot for you, even if you got the offer before you got the agent.
They get the entire 15% and you're going to see why they deserve it after you see the contract offer, and the negotiated contract.
(4) If I go ahead and sign the contract without an agent, how does that change my approach in looking for an agent going forward?Under ZERO circumstances should you sign this contract without seeking advice. An agent taking you on is ideal, but if that doesn't happen, you need someone to review the contract and make sure you're not signing your life away. Or more likely, f/ing up your career. Publishers write contracts in their favor. Signing it as is is almost always a terrible idea.