Thursday, July 25, 2013

Along With The Manuscript, We Look At Potential

We have talked a bit lately about some of the things we look for when it comes to the actual manuscript of a submission. I wanted to extend on that today but also noting that potential is also something that I consider, and I am sure other agents also look at.

When we get a submission and it gets our attention, we really take some time to mull it over a bit. During this process, we are looking at the potential of the author as well as the manuscript. You have to remember that, except in rare situations, agents only start seeing a profit from an author after selling several books. This is due to seeing higher advances, better royalties and certainly building that readership. This is, after all, a business about making sales to make money. With that in mind, we look to see what else that author might be able to bring to the business relationship. Do they have a clear idea of where they want to go to with their writing. Do they have other works "in the hopper" or did they spend the last 10 years writing this book and the next one will show up in 10 more years?

In terms of the manuscript, we also take the time to look at it with a cost-benefit model. How much time and energy will need to be put into the project to make it something that is marketable. If the project is an amazing concept and one that we believe will do well, but may need a lot of work, then we might take it on and work with that person for a year to get it ready. If however, the project is "just OK" and needs the work, then we might consider passing on it.

I think what you have to remember is that agents are investing time and money in a project "gambling" that the project will do well. All the time we spend with a project that doesn't sell is essentially money out the door. But, it is an investment that we believe in.

For the writers out there, I understand that many of you scream, "I want the chance to work with an agent for a year to get the writing ready." I know this because I am always receiving a letter after a rejection stating just this. But, unfortunately, we cannot take on every client that submits. There are only so many hours in the day.

Since we cannot sign on every client, I know I am someone who will try to get that "education" out to you as many people possible in other ways. I also know that other agents do the same thing. Their blogs (Rachelle Gardner), Webinars and certainly getting the agent to a conference to present is a great way to get those nuggets of information.

Here at Greyhaus, I am also extending the offer to writing groups to teach VIRTUAL WORKSHOPS. Using Skype, using distance learning models and so forth will give me the chance to meet with more groups. This is especially important for those groups out there that might not have the money to pay for getting me there for a weekend. If you are interested in this, please contact me at the agency, or have your writing group administrations/boards contact me.

I for one know there is a lot of potential out there with writers. We just have to find a way to tap into that potential!

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