Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Ok, peeps, one thing you should know is that things get a little nutty after one's book comes out. Most of us are into, or finishing, or revising our 2nd or third books while still trying to keep the promotion thing happening for our first ones.
THEREFORE, in an effort to streamline our kooky lives, what we decided to do is to post one question at a time and we will all answer in the comments section. That doesn't mean you can't comment! Please do. And then check back to see the new answers.

Ok: This week's question was:

To those of you moving forward unagented, are you seeking an agent, or are you comfortable with self-representation? I don't have an agent and every minute I can pry away from work is devoted to writing my next book and getting my promotion stuff ready for book one. Should I be *making* time to find an agent?

Now, because I'm one of the un-agented ones and I'm posting this, I'll go ahead and put my two cents in here:
This has been an ongoing inner struggle for me! I had sold HAVEN and had an offer for BEST FRIENDS FOREVER: A WWII Scrapbook when I signed with an agent the first time. (So I had 'made' the sales on my own. She negotiated the second contract.) The agent and I were together a year when we decided to part (amicably). However, because this agent negotiated the contract, she will forever get her percentage of my sales, foreign rights, etc. (Something to think about.)
After we parted, I wanted another agent ASAP! But I think that had more to do with my pride than anything else. Plus, I had nothing finished to show an agent! So I waited. Now I am halfway through my next novel and my editor is interested in seeing it when it's finished (no guarantees). I figure if she wants it, I will contact a literary lawyer to help me negotiate the contract. If the editor doesn't want it, I will THEN submit it to a few agents I have my eye on. I haven't lost any agent-looking time, because I'd have to have a finished ms to submit to them anyway, right?
Take from this what you will!
And good luck:)

Comments from anyone else?


  1. I'm like Bev - unagented. I would LOVE an agent. When I sold the first book I was subbing to both agents and publishers - and my publisher accepted first. So, I proceeded without the benefit of an agent.

    Even though I still want representation, I'm currently in the revision phase for the sequel to my debut novel, my editor is going to take it, so it doesn't make sense for me to get an agent at the moment.

    I also think prospective agents might be quicker to look at my work with a couple of novels already under my belt. That's not to say they'll sign me up must because I'm already published, they still have to love the story, but having something out there adds to the plus column on the decision sheet.

    So, when I finish my historical fiction WIP (which doesn't match my current publisher's list) I will resume the search. It is as exhausting as looking for a publisher, IMHO, and I plan to take the same route as before - look for agent, look for publisher - see who bites.


  2. I have an agent. I believe unagented writers should be looking for an agent that's a good fit for their work. Even if your editor has accepted your WIP, your agent can be a second pair of eyes in terms of revisions.

    An agent will negotiate the contract much better than you can do on your own, and will advocate for you if there are issues you have with your publisher--flap copy, cover art, etc.

    Yep. I'm pro-agent.

  3. I love my agent! He's knows the industry better than I do, thinks more about long-term career planning than I do, helps me shape my next idea, pushes me to take my writing to that next level, and lets me ask all the stupid questions that I'd be embarrassed to ask anyone else.

    I also really like having someone who's 100% on my side.

  4. Like Bev and Donna, I do not have an agent. I received my contract as a direct result of a critique with an editor at a SCBWI conference (so that really can happen!). I feel as if I've done fine this first time around without an agent, but definitely would like to have one when I'm ready to submit my work-in-progress. My editor actually told me she'd introduce me to an agent if I don't have one at that point, so I'm not stressing out about it. Plus I've met several in the past couple of years whom I would love to work with when the time comes.
    ~Edie Hemingway (ROAD TO TATER HILL)

  5. I think that having the right agent can be a real plusand I generally tell those who ask that they will probably want an agent. You didn't say if you have sold your first book. If so, I would take Edie's advice, above. If not, sometimes finding an agent is as difficult as finding an editor. I'd be looking for both.