To Agent…or Not to Agent…AGAIN…

The agent I queried last month said no. Actually, what she said was “any friend of LJS’s is a friend of mine” (yes, she seems very nice) and “Iā€™m shying away from both middle grade and paranormal submissions. If you have anything that is YA, edgy, realistic, and dark, Iā€™d be happy to look at it.” So that was kind of depressing because:

1) I didn’t send her a “paranormal” submission…actually what I sent wasn’t much of a “submission” at all because I only offered to send a partial of my science fiction mystery. I’m changing the middle of the story quite a bit, so there’s no point in showing her, or anyone, anything after about page 80…not until I’ve had a chance to revise. I also mentioned the two contracts I have coming (not counting the M Press one which is now signed, sealed and delivered) and said I was mostly looking for an agent to help guide my career…and I offered to send copies of some of the books I’ve already published.

2) It seems like a lot of agents these days are more interested in acquiring a dark, edgy YA novel rather than a long-term client…what are they going to do when dark, edgy YA isn’t “in” anymore?

3) I do actually have a start on a dark, edgy YA novel…would the response have been different if I had mentioned that project rather than the science fiction mystery? It doesn’t matter because I want an agent who’s interested in ME rather than one who’s interested in just one thing I happen to be writing. So things probably worked out the way they were meant to…

And I’m still on the fence as to whether I really want/need an agent at this point anyway. I have two publishers who are interested in publishing my novels…and I’m pretty confident in my ability to handle these contracts (and if I really want someone else to handle them, I feel good about contacting Mary Flower again…she did a good job for me with M Press). I have two other publishers who will be publishing my picture books in the next year. But all four of these publishers are small, non-NY houses…there’s less turnover with smaller publishers, so hopefully I can keep working with these editors for some time to come. I’m kind of a small town girl…I don’t do well with crowds in any situation…so maybe the smaller publishers are a better fit for me? The advances may be lower with smaller houses, but the royalty rates are the same. And these publishers are good at getting my books out there…

But I can’t help but wonder if I should be trying to break into a larger house? Chances are I’m going to need an agent if I want to do that…agents can also do things with subsidiary rights…and since I DO work with multiple houses, it would be nice to have one person who can kind of pull all that together for me…one person who is a constant in my career…

I guess the bottom line is I would still like an agent…but it’s got to be the RIGHT agent…someone who is a good fit for me.

11 thoughts on “To Agent…or Not to Agent…AGAIN…

  1. Good luck on your agent search! I’m pretty sure I know which agent you referred to above (I’m guessing she used to be an editor). If that’s the case, are there any agents who rep PB through YA that might be a better fit for you? I’ve had my eye on a few agents that I never submitted to because they don’t rep PBs and I prefer to find an agent who will rep all my genres.

    I’ve only submitted a few queries, but have done a ton of research. E-mail me if you want to compare agent notes. šŸ™‚

  2. Sorry!

    Having an agent has made my life a lot easier, and the commission she gets is more than made back by the increased advances, etc. she negotiates. I think you should keep trying to get an agent.

    Best of luck.

  3. I had a similar rejection, which is business but from a friend it still stings.

    I continue to look for an agent — have two outstanding queries which are hopeful. But my more hopeful submission is a new YA series with an editor I respect and would love to work with.

    Let’s keep trying together (g)…maybe we can form an agent-search support group.


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