Agent Roundtable - Page 3


Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123
Results 21 to 30 of 30

Thread: Agent Roundtable

  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by strangedaze View Post

    for what its worth, id rather have a publishing deal with random house or harper collins than do what he's doing. but thats just me.
    Trust me, so would I.

    I'd like to thank Edward for his good words, they are appreciated. In the context of the exchanges earlier, however, I wasn't even thinking about my book, and my experience with it. The Legacy of Aaron Geist has been sitting on a shelf for more than a dozen years, after a couple of half-hearted attempts to present it to publishers. At that time it was more customary for new writers to present their books directly to publishers -- to dive into the slush pile -- than it was to approach agents first. Particularly in genre fiction. Few people had even read the book until a writer friend of mine whose opinion I value, asked to read it. His positive reaction rekindled my own interest.

    I chose to self-publish the book as a test to see if others would enjoy it also, and as a way to preserve a copy of my creation between covers and not just in an old box. Perhaps I should have gone the traditional route this time also, but I've moved on to a new book of a more mainstream nature, and wanted to focus my attention on that. I fully intend to try and market the new book to traditional publishers, and this time I will be far more persistant and agressive in doing so. I quit on my first book. I now know that was a mistake. I do not regret self-publishing Legacy; how can I, I already make a profit on every copy I sell, I had a book signing last weekend and another scheduled for tomorrow, I've been approached by the local newspaper for an interview and was interviewed last night by a decidedly non-local radio station. These are experiences I may never have had otherwise. And best of all, I'm getting feedback from people who enjoy my work in exactly the way I wanted it to be enjoyed. This whole phase of Legacy's existance is still unfolding; the book has only been available for about eight weeks, and I haven't yet tested the e-book waters , so I'm excited to see where it goes.

    Sure, I'd love to land a book deal with a major publisher -- I'm an opinionated old fart, not crazy! But knowing that there are actually people out there who are waiting for the next book, however it may be published, is tremendous motivation.

  2. #22
    Member Ilasir Maroa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    On a pedestal of my own making
    Posts
    1,451
    Quote Originally Posted by MJ Preston View Post
    This thread is like sitting at a table with a bunch of agents.=D>

    I know you are, but what am I?


    I know, right? Every time you try to talk about some business aspect of writing, we all feel the need to argue about self-publishing.
    "A plot-driven story is anything with a plot." ~BS
    All lines are arbitrary; otherwise, we wouldn't have to draw them. ~Nicholas Vesiri

  3. #23
    Member Ilasir Maroa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    On a pedestal of my own making
    Posts
    1,451
    Quote Originally Posted by Terry D View Post
    Trust me, so would I.

    I'd like to thank Edward for his good words, they are appreciated. In the context of the exchanges earlier, however, I wasn't even thinking about my book, and my experience with it. The Legacy of Aaron Geist has been sitting on a shelf for more than a dozen years, after a couple of half-hearted attempts to present it to publishers. At that time it was more customary for new writers to present their books directly to publishers -- to dive into the slush pile -- than it was to approach agents first. Particularly in genre fiction. Few people had even read the book until a writer friend of mine whose opinion I value, asked to read it. His positive reaction rekindled my own interest.

    I chose to self-publish the book as a test to see if others would enjoy it also, and as a way to preserve a copy of my creation between covers and not just in an old box. Perhaps I should have gone the traditional route this time also, but I've moved on to a new book of a more mainstream nature, and wanted to focus my attention on that. I fully intend to try and market the new book to traditional publishers, and this time I will be far more persistant and agressive in doing so. I quit on my first book. I now know that was a mistake. I do not regret self-publishing Legacy; how can I, I already make a profit on every copy I sell, I had a book signing last weekend and another scheduled for tomorrow, I've been approached by the local newspaper for an interview and was interviewed last night by a decidedly non-local radio station. These are experiences I may never have had otherwise. And best of all, I'm getting feedback from people who enjoy my work in exactly the way I wanted it to be enjoyed. This whole phase of Legacy's existance is still unfolding; the book has only been available for about eight weeks, and I haven't yet tested the e-book waters , so I'm excited to see where it goes.

    Sure, I'd love to land a book deal with a major publisher -- I'm an opinionated old fart, not crazy! But knowing that there are actually people out there who are waiting for the next book, however it may be published, is tremendous motivation.

    That's awesome. Self-publishing can work, and if you really want to test the waters directly, it can be an effective measure. Good luck with your interviews and events.
    "A plot-driven story is anything with a plot." ~BS
    All lines are arbitrary; otherwise, we wouldn't have to draw them. ~Nicholas Vesiri

  4. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Ilasir Maroa View Post
    Wow, you seem to have some wrong ideas here. Even many best-sellers don't manage to quit their day jobs after one deal. You generally need five or six semi-successful books to have a chance at writing for a living. Publishers do not rip anyone off. When you sell a book, you're getting paid per copy sold. The advance is just a nice thing the publisher does where they give you money you haven't earned up-front.
    Publishers don't rip anyone off? Hmmm. I suppose that all depends on your definition. And I must say, even I didn't think it was that bad, needing five semi-successful books.


    As far as fee-charging agents, no one has ever supported those pratices.

    A big six publisher cannot make a best-seller out of anyone. Nobody "makes" a best-seller. They can guess, and spend extra money trying to give a book a good start, but it's the readers who make a book a best-seller.
    Again, I suppose it's how you look at it. Yes, readers buy the books, eventually, but best sellers are based on books shipped, not sold. Secondly, if you put the book in TV ad spots, priority placement in Barnes & Noble, pay some newspapers by way of expensive ads to review the book, etc...you create the buzz. Even the Turner Diaries got big after it was...ahem...advertised on the news.

    Publishers are not a rip-off, they are a service industry. Sure, I could do every single thing the publisher does myself, but I shoulder all of the risk, I won't be as good, and I won't be in stores. I could be on Kindle, sure, and there are many ways to market yourself on Kindle, but I still won't be quitting my day job for several books. I will have to market even more, and attempt to overcome the stigma of being self-published, all the while trying to not get fired from my regular job.
    Self-published doesn't matter anymore. It doesn't. If a big publisher will advertise and push your book, then you definitely want to go with them, if they expect you to do the marketing, you might as well call yourself BS Publishing and publish it yourself. So what if a publisher prints up 5000 books and gets them into Barnes and Noble to sit spine out on a fiction shelf? They won't sell. All you get is your advance and getting one of those these days is a lottery. And how all this fits into the OP is this one simple fact: agents today are completely irrelevant to the new fiction writer. Unless that is you get one specifically to market the movie rights after the book is popular. Sure a well-connected agent might get you a deal, but you're only going to get that agent after you've made the deal for them by showing you have an audience. And if you have an audience--why would you need an agent or a publisher? Just like JA Konrath and Amanda Hocking.

  5. #25
    an advance is a lottery? agents are irrelevant? what planet are you living on? or maybe, what planet am i living on? i know a good half-dozen first time novelists who got agents and through those agents got pretty nice advances. hell, one even got a movie deal out of it (and the book thats being made into a movie was a novella, published by a small press, that the agent flogged relentlessly until it found 8 foreign publishers and the aforementioned movie deal). these are people i know and hang out with, who live in the same city i do (in Canada - not exactly a publishing hot bed). none of them had 'audiences' ahead of time, unless you count publishing in literary journals and the like. not all of these folks are best sellers - one actually is - but all of them have been reviewed nationally (and often internationally), which is near-impossible for a self-published book; one just won a big big big international award, which is near impossible for a self-published book; and i can go to any city in the country and find their books in stock, which is near-impossible for a self-published book. but i digress. self-publishing isnt wrong or bad or evil - i just think you're willfully ignoring some of the things Ilasir pointed out.

    in summary: im having a tough time reconciling your claim that agents are not relevant to new fiction writers with what im seeing tangibly in the real world. maybe these people i know are exceptions to whatever rule youre implicitly citing. or maybe youre making sweeping generalizations about what an agent can do for you. in my own experience, ive published stories here and there, one of which won a national award. those well-connected agents who you claim are only interested in you if you have an audience have started emailing me, a young 'first time' writer with no real audience or internet presence to speak of. maybe im an exception too, but since ive seen similar things happen over and over again, i think maybe youre not giving the article a chance.
    Writing cleaner than he lives.

  6. #26
    Member Ilasir Maroa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    On a pedestal of my own making
    Posts
    1,451
    Quote Originally Posted by Edward G View Post
    Publishers don't rip anyone off? Hmmm. I suppose that all depends on your definition. And I must say, even I didn't think it was that bad, needing five semi-successful books.




    Again, I suppose it's how you look at it. Yes, readers buy the books, eventually, but best sellers are based on books shipped, not sold. Secondly, if you put the book in TV ad spots, priority placement in Barnes & Noble, pay some newspapers by way of expensive ads to review the book, etc...you create the buzz. Even the Turner Diaries got big after it was...ahem...advertised on the news.



    Self-published doesn't matter anymore. It doesn't. If a big publisher will advertise and push your book, then you definitely want to go with them, if they expect you to do the marketing, you might as well call yourself BS Publishing and publish it yourself. So what if a publisher prints up 5000 books and gets them into Barnes and Noble to sit spine out on a fiction shelf? They won't sell. All you get is your advance and getting one of those these days is a lottery. And how all this fits into the OP is this one simple fact: agents today are completely irrelevant to the new fiction writer. Unless that is you get one specifically to market the movie rights after the book is popular. Sure a well-connected agent might get you a deal, but you're only going to get that agent after you've made the deal for them by showing you have an audience. And if you have an audience--why would you need an agent or a publisher? Just like JA Konrath and Amanda Hocking.
    Everyone always brings up JA Konrath. At least site someone reasonable like Laura Resnick.

    Despite what he likes to tell the public, there are a lot of factors influencing Konrath's success that new authors just don't have goin for them, and this thread is not the place to debate them.

    I can name twenty new writers who I've encountered that were published with agents from the sluch pile and who have done reasonablly well.

    A lot of people get fiction and non-fiction mixed up with that whole platform/audience thing. You don't need either for fiction. I don't know if that's you or not, but I thought I'd mention it.
    "A plot-driven story is anything with a plot." ~BS
    All lines are arbitrary; otherwise, we wouldn't have to draw them. ~Nicholas Vesiri

  7. #27
    maybe we should bury the self-publishing crusade, or at least save it for another thread. i think the debate about whether or not you need a platform for fiction is interesting. im also curious about how the rules change with genre fiction. since i mostly work in literary fiction, and i only know one sci fi writer who found an agent, im curious to hear from horror writers and the like who can either go with whats been said by the roundtable, or refute. the friend i have was pretty well entrenched - her stories appear in all the big venues, including those best-of fantasy anthologies, so i think that helped in her case. and going to conferences too, which seems to me to be pretty important in writing in a genre that can be cliquey. however, her manuscript was picked through the slush and her first book is coming out from - i think - some imprint of macmillan or something. cant remember.
    Writing cleaner than he lives.

  8. #28
    Member Ilasir Maroa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    On a pedestal of my own making
    Posts
    1,451
    If you're going to be publishing non-fiction nowadays, you have to have either a built-in audience, or a way to get one. You need to be an expert in the field, and you need to be well-known for the most part. A lot of newer writers came onto the internet looking for information, and they confused this advice which iis aimed at non-fiction writers for advice aimed at everyone.

    That's not to say that having a fiction writer having a blog following of several thousand won't be taken into account. Publishing is a business, so if the publisher is trying to decide whether a book is marketable, being able to say you already have a tons of fans willing to buy the book is going to work in your favor. But that's not a platform, and you won't be turned down just because you aren't a blogging genius.
    "A plot-driven story is anything with a plot." ~BS
    All lines are arbitrary; otherwise, we wouldn't have to draw them. ~Nicholas Vesiri

  9. #29
    Member Ilasir Maroa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    On a pedestal of my own making
    Posts
    1,451
    As far as how what these agents said applies to the genre market:

    Get an agent when you think you're ready. People have been picked up from short story markets, by agents and publishers. It happens. But agents ae busy. They have to sort through their own slush, work with their current clients, do all the stuff that an agent has to do. There are a million genre magazines. Agents don't have time to look through every single magazine, not even the big ones.

    There are programs for genre writers. Not a lot of MFAs, but independent workshops like Clarion that cater to genre requirements. There are plenty of MFAs you can get into writing genre work, but the whole "professor lead me" thing is not very common.



    Who you know matters everywhere. Contacts matter everywhere. But I don't know any genre agents who get as many referals as these agents seem to be claiming. You might pitch to an agent at a con, or you might go through the slush. Those seem to be the main ways. There isn't the whole network of MFAs going on. Also, tons of agents in genre fiction have blogs and read blogs. There's definitely a strong online community. But I would agree with the litifc folks that there aren't many people who get published because of a blog. The only one I can think of is John Scalzi, who first published his book on his blog and then got picked up.



    Synopsis is an individual thing. Some agents like them. The point of the synopsis is to show you can plot a decent story. They are generally sent with a partial manuscript.

    I think it's interesting that they say they don't think people worried about the business side are going to be good clients. All the genre talk is about getting your business side down. That doesn't mean you don't handle the creative stuff, too. At least as far as genre writing goes, the business aspects of publishing are very important. Queries live or die on professionalism, and all the agents and athors who blog talk about how to get that stuff right. Nobody sees your story if you can't get through the slush pile.

    For most genre writers, writing is a business. If you can tear open a gateway into the human soul, that's fantastic. But the goal here is entertainment. So what if you don't win the Booker Prize, or the Nobel, or whatever prize is applicable? You can still be a massively successful writer.
    Last edited by Ilasir Maroa; March 12th, 2011 at 09:19 PM.
    "A plot-driven story is anything with a plot." ~BS
    All lines are arbitrary; otherwise, we wouldn't have to draw them. ~Nicholas Vesiri

  10. #30
    Remember that that post was written a few years ago. Right now with the ebooks and self publishing, these agents are probably in a full court press.

    They were reacting the way they did in, I'm guessing 2007, because self-publishing and ebooks sales were really a small percentage.

    Right now, agents might be finding out that their population will be contracting very soon. (along with the brick and mortar outlets)

    Now, they and publishing companies are desperate and going for the sure things. Judging from the trends, especially now that distopia has reared its ugly (Hunger Games) head you are going to see a real rush (by agents and publishers) to find the next Collins. Their advice for the writer in "Wisconsin" was hilarious.

    Write not to the trend but to what is your passion because you are going to have to promote it!

    I guess we all need to take MFA courses so our teachers (their clients) can recommend us. LMAO. I guess that was so 2007 for literary fiction agents.

Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
This website uses cookies
We use cookies to store session information to facilitate remembering your login information, to allow you to save website preferences, to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.