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Writer's Digest October 2011 Edition Re: Agents.

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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-14-11 11:26 AM
Original message
Writer's Digest October 2011 Edition Re: Agents.
I'm only a third way through the magazine, but already I have a hunch that my dummy questions won't be answered. So, I'm posting this here.

What is everybodys experience with Agents?

Obviously, you hook one in with a query letter.

You also have to customize that letter based on the Annual Writer's publishing Manual.

But, let's say you land one. What happens next?

Do you pay them for their services? If so, how much?

Are they the ones that find the publishing companies for you?

Do they connect you with editors to make your story stronger?

Any and all info is appreciated.

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yellerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-14-11 02:19 PM
Response to Original message
1. You never pay an agent for their services.
They take their cut from the money you make from the advance to your royalties. Any agent who wants front money should be swiftly bumped to the curb. Agents have connections within publishing houses and through those connections (ideally) they will know which of them would be open to your type of writing. When you sign a contract with a publisher, the publisher will assign an editor to your project and you will work with the editor to spiff up your book before publishing. Some agents will help you shape a story before they send it out, but not all. Publisher's Marketplace is a good resource to find agents who may be interested in your genre. Don't pitch agents or publishers until your manuscript is as clean as you can make it. You can't get an agent (for your first book) until you finish your project.

Good luck!

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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-14-11 04:52 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Is the query letter you send to an agent the same as the kind you
send to a publisher? Are they interested in the same things?
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yellerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-14-11 05:02 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. If you have an agent, the agent will query the publisher.
Edited on Wed Sep-14-11 05:03 PM by yellerpup
If you find a publisher who will accept un-agented submissions, yes, the query letter is essentially interchangeable. You will need a compelling synopsis. That's they most important element. You will also want to mention any pertinent credits you have. Agents also like to hear that you are offering your work to them on an exclusive basis. You don't have to give them an exclusive unless they specifically require it, and some do. Write a good intro and say why you are contacting the person you are querying and why you think your manuscript would be a good fit with the other type of books they publish. Some want to see a sample first (I'd send a chapter or the first 50 pages) so submit it with your query.

Edit: typo
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-14-11 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I assume that if one is writing a novel/memoir, the best thing is to wait
until it's finished?
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yellerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-14-11 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. If it is your first book, absolutely.
Only celebrities with hard driving agents can pull that off. You must have a finished product to capture their interest. Do your best, write your passion and finish you book. While you are working on your novel/memoir you can research the agents/publishers you want to query when you're finished. It's an exciting time for you! Be in it and enjoy it!
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-14-11 08:00 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Thank you.
I can just see the hint of a light which suggests I can see the end of the tunnel.
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sybylla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-15-11 07:08 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Well done!
I'm so happy for you. BTW, I've always found The Writer magazine to be more informative than Writer's Digest magazine. I had both subscriptions for a while, but decided the latter just wasn't as useful.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-15-11 08:47 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Thanks sybylla!
I did their 2nd Draft services, just for the first fifty pages, and by their comments it helped me make tough decisions.

Edit, edit, edit.

Still love your story. Do you think there's a way to turn it into a Young Adult plot? That seems to be selling.
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sybylla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-15-11 03:09 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. That's a thought.
YA isn't particularly appealing to me, but it is a worthy avenue.

I imagine the story could fit there fairly well without too much tweaking. Probably means I should pick up a couple of YA novels and do a little research on guidelines for writing them.

Thanks for the kind words. Still, I doubt it will be the next Twilight... B-)
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-15-11 06:53 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Read the Hunger Games if you haven't already.
Who knew that killing off children would be a big seller? You just never know.
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sybylla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-16-11 08:29 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. Haven't read it but have heard a lot about it.
My instructor at a "Best Selling Edge" writing workshop used it as an example several times. I wanted to read it after that, then I ran into someone who said she read all three of the Hunger Games series and wishes she hadn't because it was so dark. Since, I've come across several others who say I shouldn't listen to her.

:shrug: I guess I'll have to read it.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-16-11 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. Read it!
It will be a quick read because it's geared for YA, but you get a little more respect for what she's doing when you understand the source of her inspiration. Mythology, which was also dark.
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yellerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-14-11 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Dupe. Delete.
Edited on Wed Sep-14-11 05:21 PM by yellerpup
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