Friday, March 25, 2011

Question from a Writer - Follow up from a conference

I'll answer each of these individually...

1. If a writer gets an offer from a publisher, is it correct protocol to contact several agents simultaneously if you do not already have agent representation? What do you do when a writer with an offer from a publisher contacts you?

If you receive an offer from a publisher, it is entirely up to you if you want to contact an agent or not. You aren't looking for someone to just review your contract for you, although we will do that for you; you are looking for someone for the long haul. In terms of immediately mass mailing agents telling them you have an offer is not a good idea. You should still target which agent really is the best place for you. Remember, one size does not fit all.

As for me, I will consider who the offer is from and then I look at their writing. If it is a project I would consider representing in the first place, I might consider the situation. Not always though. I am really not interested in doing the hard work for the first several books and then having the person dump Greyhaus and run to another agent. Again, everything is on a case by case basis.

2. You also said that when your authors attend national you have them go to all the publisher spotlights. I've attended national and when I go, I attend many of the spotlights but not all because they seem to sound alike after awhile. What am I missing here? What is your rationale?

Yes, the approach to spotlights at Nationals is very similar from one publisher to the next. When I attend, I listen to potential changes in voice and approach the publisher is taking. I also really listen to the voice of the stories they talk about. This is also a chance to ask some questions of the editors that go beyond the FAQ sheets and the basics. Pin them down on characteristics of stories and ideas to really get to the heart of what they are interested in.


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