Monday, January 24, 2022

Can I just follow the contract in place?

Dear Shark:
I am currently agent-free after a bad experience. I'm reluctantly looking for another agent but I've already sent Book 2 to the editor who published Book 1. Now don't bite me a big one, but if the editor wants Book 2, couldn't I just compare the new contract to the old one and ask for a little more of everything? Isn't that what a new agent would do? I'd really rather not be crushed by another ghosting agent.


Dear Chum,
Sure you could do that.
Do you know what's negotiable and what isn't? 

Did your publisher include the new morals clause that's cropping up in lots of places?
Are you going to ask for revisions on the Force Majeure clause given the pandemic and supply chain issues?

You see my point.

Starting with the question of whether the contract for Book 1 was the best your agent could do (and I've seen some contracts that didn't appear to be negotiated at all), there could be lots of things that won't just be "ask for more."

I STRONGLY urge you not to try to do this yourself.

There are several ways to have contracts reviewed and negotiated by someone other than an agent. If you need names, drop me an email.

I'm sorry you had a bad experience with your former agent.
You might ask your editor for reccomendations on agents they like to work with. I've gotten more than one client that way.


Katja said...

OP, I wish you soooo much luck!!

And listen to Janet. Isn't it lovely how she's helping us, guys?! (It's a rhetorical question...)

Do email her, OP!

Brooke said...

As someone who didn't get an agent with my book contract, my advice is GET AN AGENT. Trust me. It's the biggest regret of my career. Though I negotiated a 3-book deal with the help of an IP attorney, when the deal was up, and the editor passed on the next book (after being orphaned twice over the course of the series), I was all by myself without anyone in my corner to help me figure out what to do next. That was 5 years ago, and I haven't published anything new since then.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Yeah I would be uncomfortable not using an agent. Even practicing agents who happen to write books will get themselves an agent to help with all the negotiating and such. It's sad when an agent relationship goes belly up, but still with a sale under your belt and a probable offer for a second book, you should be able to find a good agent that won't ghost you on the next go around. Good luck, OP. I hope 2nd book brings you a lot of joy regardless of what you decide to do.

Craig F said...

Congrats on getting published, and I am so sorry that it was not a joyous thing.

Some friends of mine, who enjoy the stuff that happens when my fingers waltz the keyboard, want me to pursue a certain publisher that doesn't have truck with many agents. They can't understand that i really need an agent. When I write, I go into a place where I can't dig into all of the nuance of what agents do. It is beyond me.

So I will keep digging for an agent, trenching away towards who knows where. I hope you will do the same.

Heather Wardell said...

My biggest career regret is GETTING an agent. She told me she wanted to vet what I wrote next as she knew what would be more likely to sell (fair, I had a bunch of ideas) then spent 10 months ignoring me and my attempts to ask what she'd thought of my ideas. I did write something else anyhow, but the combo of feeling so abandoned by someone I'd thought was in my corner and being so terribly focused on what would sell has meant I haven't written a complete book since 2019. Whenever I try, I get so lost in "will it sell?" that I can't get the words to come out.

I was self-publishing well and enjoying it. I wish I'd stayed there.

AJ Blythe said...

I know that for every wonderful author/agent story there is a horror one. Regardless, I am on the "I want an agent" path even though it is a terribly deep trench a la the "bog of eternal stench" (for anyone else who is a Labyrinth fan).

Good luck, OP, with whatever you decide!