Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Queries from Published Authors

I’ve read where at least some agents accept queries on proposal for an unfinished manuscript when the author’s previous books are printed in the traditional print-run process. I did not see this addressed on your website and would appreciate knowing if this is something your agency ever considers.

Typically, if an author has been previously published from one of the bigger houses it is quite possible to sell the next work on proposal, without a full manuscript. In those cases the author will not need to finish the book before querying an agent. A proposal should be enough.

Now, that being said, of course there are exceptions to the “rule.” This will depend on the agent and agency. Everyone is different. It will also depend on the genre you were published under and the genre you are now writing in. For example, if you were previously published in category romance and now want to write women’s fiction, it is quite possible you’ll need to finish the manuscript before seeking publication.

To answer your question specifically, when querying BookEnds, if you are previously published, a proposal should be enough.



Anonymous said...

This may be possible, but if you are also looking for a new agent, it won't be. If your last book sold by the gross ton, perhaps.

I think though, that under the current circumstances, it will prove extremely difficult

M.A. Leslie said...

Do agents and authors stick together after the first book? I would think that if your first book stold by the gross ton that the agent would be holding on to you as a client. Am I just living in a bubble gum fairy land or is there some loyalty?

ryan field said...

"To answer your question specifically, when querying BookEnds, if you are previously published, a proposal should be enough."

I think that's a fair approach.

Eileen said...

To answer the question on loyalty. There may be a number of reasons a published writer is seeking a new agent:
- the agent is retiring or leaving the business
- the agent doesn't like the writers next book and doesn't wish to rep it, but the author believes in the book and wants it sent out
- the author feels they don't have a good fit with their agent. Maybe they don't like the communication style, or they feel the agent wasn't aggressive enough in negotiations etc. I know some authors who feel that as their career progresses they are looking for something different from the agent and as a result they want a new one

However there are many authors who stick with their agents. It isn't so much about loyalty, it's about a business decision. I wouldn't stay with my agent just to be loyal if I thought it was hurting my career. Howeveer I have huge respect for her and would always want to work tinge out if possible.

BookEnds, A Literary Agency said...

Anon 10:09:

Not true at all. I've taken on a number of clients on proposal only and went on to sell on proposal only. All were previously published, none sold in the gross ton.

MA Leslie

The goal when forming a relationship with your agent is that you will stick together for the long haul.


Anonymous said...

I suspect the future is that most author-agent relationships will be for one book

J Scott Savage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J Scott Savage said...


Why do you think that? Finding the right agent isn't like buying a car. You are looking for someone who is going to be with you long term, who will help guide your career, who fits what you are doing now and where you want to go.

I have changed agents once (because my new genre focus didn't match her area of expertise.) But I have every intention of staying with my current agent for the rest of my career.

If anything, an agent becomes more valuable as move forward with future books.

Catherine Bybee said...

Anon: Oh, my... the work that goes into finding the right agent for the author is huge. Why on earth would an author only look toward an agent as a one book wonder? If an author writes two different genres, and the agent they are targeting only takes one of them, the author might want to look elsewhere. JMHO.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I would love to have an agent that I could work with my entire career, but I have a strong feeling it isn't going to work out that way. I'm on an agent search now. I have several projects going all in different directions. My case in point is the other day while beating the bushes for an agent for the fiction project I just finished, one agent I chatted with was not interested in my latest novel, but my soon-to-be completed YA excited her. So did a sports article I'd just finished which she thinks I should turn into a book proposal.
So there I am. I may end up with as many agents as I have books. What do you want I should do???