My question is a bit different. I have a crime thriller series published in ebook format via a small publishing house along with short stories, a novella and a mystery novella co-written w/my sister due for release (in print). All books have gotten rave reviews and I’d like to take the next step to a larger publisher. At this time all publishers have been smaller presses that are growing steadily and I do have unpublished manuscripts. My question is at this point would it be appropriate to approach an agent with the unpublished manuscripts and would an agent be interested in my level of publishing experience? It seems that agents are mostly interested in unpublished authors rather than those with some real experience.
In my opinion, agents would be very interested in someone with your publishing experience. You’ve shown that you’re serious about pursuing writing and that your novels have sufficient merit to get a publisher interested. I urge you to start querying agents, but only with one project. The others are best briefly referred to at the end of the query letter. Make sure you query agents who have experience and interest in crime thrillers. And good luck!
Hi, thanks for doing this! My question is about genre.
My (already written) story: girl meets boy, boy is an ass, girl ends up with worse boy, first boy works really hard to win her back, girl marries boy. (I promise, it’s a little more involved than that.) Girl is 19 going on 20, and much of the action takes place in and around a university.
I’m divided between romance and YA, or rather the post-YA category I’ve heard whispers about. I’m leaning towards romance because it’s from the heroine’s point of view, the plot is primarily a love story, and we’ve got the HEA (happily ever after). However, both a book seller and a former intern at a publishing house said YA almost immediately. What do you think? Is there yet a category for Post-YA Romance? I’d love to be a trail blazer and write the first one, but I gather a new author has a better chance of getting published if they are in an established genre.
And if this is post-YA, can that be a longer story than YA, say closer to 80k than 60k?
I don’t think you need to worry so much about what category your book falls into. The agent and publisher can advise you on that. A good publishing house would cross-promote to teen and adult readers and there are plenty of YA novels that could be considered romances. The final length of your manuscript will probably be a determining factor, since YAs do tend to be shorter, but even there publishers are being more flexible. Just write the best story you can possibly write and find an agent who loves it and he/she will guide you.
Hey Agent Awesome!
I was wondering what a good agent contract (or a fair contract) for a first time author would look like. From what I’ve researched the percentages vary with the agent, some take more while others take much less. What is your opinion?
The standard commission for literary agents is 15%. If they’re selling your foreign rights, the commission is 20%, with 10% going to the foreign co-agent. Some agents are now talking about the possibility of higher commissions, especially when they a considerable amount of editorial work beforehand. Agents are also increasingly involved in marketing and publicity, functions that publishing houses traditionally served, but are doing less and less. But for now, it’s 15%.
Am I ever nervous about asking this question!
I would like to know, how do you and other agents feel about repeat submissions? For example, if an author sent a query letter to you before, but was rejected, and the author fixes up their story a bit and sends it in again, is that a no-no? Does it result in an automatic re-rejection? Does it look bad?
If the agent requested the manuscript and passed on it, I would recommend you ask him/her if you could query them again and explain the changes you have made. If the agent passed on just the query, I would say it’s ok to query again, as long as you mention in the letter that you’ve queried the agent before for the same project. Honesty, in my opinion, is always the best policy.
That’s it for today, dear writers. I will post more answers to any new questions next week. Until then, practice your craft!