Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Being Previously Published Doesn't Mean An Automatic In With Editors And Agents

I think there is a belief that once you are published, you have essentially a golden ticket entry into all of the hearts of editors and agents alike. While this "might" be a couple extra bonus points for you when it comes to getting a new contract or moving to a new publisher or agency, it is not a guarantee.

You may have a great contract and things are going along great, but the market may shift. If you don't make that shift with the market, there is a chance the editor may simply say, sorry, but we have to pass. Maybe your numbers on the last book really tanked and they pass. That too can occur. Please understand though, this doesn't mean one bad review or one bad group of sales will be the death of your career. It simply means that you might be taking a bit of a side road for a while to get back to where you were.

Those past sales may also have no effect if there has been a huge gap between those last sales and the time you are pitching to that editor or agent now. Frequently, we get pitches from writers who may have had a great career 10 years ago. For some reason they had to put their writing on a hiatus and now they are making a comeback. For these authors, this really is starting over. The market has changed. Writing has changed. And frankly, if the writer has not changed his or her focus, the odds are that sale is not going to happen.

So, with that said, should you tell an editor or agent about prior sales. Yes. Tell us what you have done. Don't try to glorify something that might not be there and certainly don't hide the fact that it may have been a while ago. But please, tell us. Those prior sales and your career may tell us a lot about your ability to work with an editor or agent.


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