Has anyone had a book published / dealt with an agent?

(28 Posts)
TelephoneTree Tue 26-Mar-13 22:25:39

I've written 'a thing' and sent off to various agents etc as one does. 2 months later one comes back with 'thanks for the query letter and synopsis - please send a more detailed synopsis and 3 sample chapters'. Which I did. When should I hear back do you think?

ImperialBlether Tue 26-Mar-13 23:37:08

Oh god knows, is the answer I'd give - whenever they bloody want. Sorry, just feeling very snippy as I'm in the same position, though not with a children's book. Basically they will read it in their own sweet time. They may respond. They may not. They will certainly not like being prompted.

Can you guess I'm fed up??

Best of luck - I hope they love it.

TelephoneTree Wed 27-Mar-13 15:30:37

Oh dear! How long have you been waiting?? Did they ask you for a bit more and then go quiet?

So frustrating isn't it?? I just want to KNOW.

I'd love to know what yours is about but I know you can't tell me or you'd have to kill me kind of thing. Have you published before?

ImperialBlether Wed 27-Mar-13 22:15:04

I had a book picked up by an agent when I was on a Creative Writing MA. She thought it was great and sent it out to several publishers. Unfortunately it couldn't sell, partly because, I think she sent it to people who weren't interested in that kind of book. She was new to her job. I didn't realise you could place with more than one agent. So the book didn't sell, though the publishers said some lovely things about it. I wrote another and asked the agent if I could send it to her. "Lovely! Can't wait to read it!" was her response. I've never heard from her since. Worse, on Twitter, she was seen to say, "I'm looking for books in X genre, so send them in!" I really felt like joining to say something snappy.

I've since sent the second book out to a number of people and though most have replied after several weeks (and a couple within a very short time, which was great) some just haven't replied. I have to say I think one or two think they're too important. And I know agents are busy, but I'm busy too!!

BenthamFriday Wed 27-Mar-13 22:22:10

Hi Telephone First of all, congratulations on an agent taking an interest - well done! I work in publishing and I'm afraid the answer to how long you'll wait is how long is a piece of string... Well, perhaps not that bad but it could well be a month or so until you hear and perhaps a touch more. Reading submissions with care and attention is very time-consuming and most publishers and agents I know are constantly trying to play catch up!

But the good news is that if you don't hear back quickly, it's not necessarily a bad sign, so don't worry about that.

Good luck! I shall have my fingers crossed for you.

TelephoneTree Wed 27-Mar-13 22:24:36

How totally frustrating! Did you ever send your first book out to other agents in the end?

An illustrator friend out me on to the writers & illustrators year book as an absolute 'must read' and to send it out to everyone including USA etc I presume you've done that too now.

I'm wondering at what point one looks in to publishing it oneself!

ImperialBlether Wed 27-Mar-13 22:25:34

Oooh Bentham, are you involved in publishing novels? It would be really good to pick your brains! (That is a disgusting expression, sorry!)

TelephoneTree Wed 27-Mar-13 22:29:41

Thanks Bentham - that's a really lovely post, thank you. Seeings as you're here can I ask you some general questions??

If no agent picks it up is there any point in approaching publishers directly? Mine isn't a book as such you see but more of a parent & child christmas activity. So I assume that as it's not the usual it's probably not that likely to be of interest to major publishers as it's seasonal. It is timeless though ;)

BenthamFriday Wed 27-Mar-13 22:30:03

I am indeed, Imperial - pick away!

TelephoneTree Wed 27-Mar-13 22:30:14

Ha ha - bet Bentham's wishing she never popped in!

TelephoneTree Wed 27-Mar-13 22:31:16

And why can't I type properly after red wine hmm

BenthamFriday Wed 27-Mar-13 22:34:43

Most major publishers don't accept unagented submissions Telephone - in fact I'm struggling to think of one that does.

But what it is worth doing is persevering! There are plenty of heartening stories about people who just kept sending to agents, rejection after rejection, and eventually got an agent and got published. I think that would be my main piece of advice - keep going smile

BenthamFriday Wed 27-Mar-13 22:35:51

Not at all Tree - a pleasure!

TelephoneTree Wed 27-Mar-13 22:43:39

Thank you - that's very helpful! How long have you been in publishing? Do you love love your job??

ImperialBlether Wed 27-Mar-13 22:47:24

I want to know how important the first page is to you. It's not so important to me as a reader - I read the blurb on the back and flick through the book. I'm prepared to read for quite a while before deciding whether to read it or not - probably 1/3 of the book.

I'm writing psychological suspenses and I like a long slow burn. A lot of writers hit you with something at the end of the first chapter. That's great for some books; I love a fast paced thriller, for example. I don't always like that, though; I like to build up the tension gradually. I get the feeling I should have that first chapter impact, though, in order to sell, but feel I'd be writing a different kind of book to the ones I want to write as a result.

Please advise!

ImperialBlether Wed 27-Mar-13 22:49:19

Oh another thing! Do you read the synopsis first or just the first few chapters? Have you read a paragraph or synopsis about a book and thought it sounded great but then read the chapters and thought it wasn't?

BenthamFriday Wed 27-Mar-13 22:49:52

I've been in publishing for eight years. Wow! Can't believe it's been that long... I do love it smile. Like any job, it has its frustrations, but it's amazing to work with books, authors and publishing people. I used to be a lawyer, and I'm so grateful to be in a job I love!

TelephoneTree Wed 27-Mar-13 22:51:29

If it's any help I want to feel transported into the book (either relate to the characters, be interested in the tone of the writing, be able to vividly imagine what is described...) within the first page or I don't proceed. I do have a numb brain after having kids though wink.

TelephoneTree Wed 27-Mar-13 22:52:23

ooh yes I want to know that too - about the synopsis and first chapters business. Good question imperial!

ImperialBlether Wed 27-Mar-13 22:54:40

Oh I wish someone would accept pitches on here!

BenthamFriday Wed 27-Mar-13 22:55:56

Hi Imperial. I think that what matters most is the potential, so the first page can be slow, even the first chapter, as long as we can see where you're going with it. So in that respect your synopsis needs to do a good job to make sure we can see that, if you get off to a slow start.

We read the whole submission - hard to make a judgement otherwise - so it definitely all matters.

TelephoneTree Wed 27-Mar-13 22:56:59

Gosh that's amazing. What sort of law and how did you get in to publishing? I retrained in my early 30s and it was the best thing that I ever did. It really is never too late to have a change of plan!

TelephoneTree Wed 27-Mar-13 23:00:28

Also - why would they ask for a more detailed synopsis rather than just read the whole thing (50pp)?

The other thing I've been wondering about is what is the process internally at the agents once I've sent it in to person 'X'? If they are interested (but still haven't seen the whole thing), would they pass it on to a colleague before requesting all of the material or not?

BenthamFriday Wed 27-Mar-13 23:02:36

Evil corporate law Tree! I was lucky, I had a friend in publishing, and she got me some work experience and it went from there...

What did you retrain from and to? Agree about the re-training - we're all working long enough for a career change or two nowadays!

BenthamFriday Wed 27-Mar-13 23:07:42

I would imagine that what you wrote piqued their interest and they wanted to get more of a feel for it. If that works for them, I'm sure that they'll then ask for the whole thing. I guess we tend to do things in stages in publishing!

Passing on to colleagues would depend on whether they wanted a second opinion / were really excited / liked it but were concerned about something/ etc. There's no set process for that though.

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