Literary agents

Lesbian short story and novel publishers.

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Literary agents

Postby FranW » 15 May 2011, 12:05

There aren't many agents who actively acquire lesbian fiction. If you find one, list 'em here.
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Re: Literary agents

Postby FranW » 15 May 2011, 12:15

Joan Timberlake

Agency
: Timberlake Literary Services
Website: http://www.timberlakeliterary.com/index.html
Is agent lesbian? Yes
Is agent actively acquiring lesbian fiction? Yes
Acquiring (genres): Fiction (adventure, LGBT, romance, women's fiction, thrillers and suspense, historical, mystery, nature/animals) and non-fiction (adventure, cultural/social, music/art, all things culinary, humor, nature/ecology/animals (especially all things equine), hobby farms, science/technology, current affairs, entertainment, gardening, psychology/self-help, biography, LGBT, medical, religion/spirituality, travel, Massachusetts, West Virginia, New Orleans, and history).
Year established: 2010
Member of AAR: No
Number of clients: >1
Best-known clients: Layce Gardner
Commission: 15% for domestic and foreign sales
Number of sales to advance-paying publishers: 0
Number of sales to small presses: 1
Query: By email, with query letter + 1 page synopsis + first 30 pp of ms.
Response time: 3 weeks

transcript of an interview with her here: http://blog.ceciliatan.com/?p=736#more-736
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Re: Literary agents

Postby ElaineB » 16 May 2011, 01:05

Do you need an agent to publish with Bella (a la Gardner)? I mean, I assume you get little enough from the lesbian presses, so to give 15% to an agent... It's significant that even she says the big presses don't want lesbian fiction (and I give her credit for trying).
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Re: Literary agents

Postby deej » 16 May 2011, 01:12

NO, you don't need an agent to publish with Bella. Seems a waste to me. <shrug>
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Re: Literary agents

Postby PaulaO » 16 May 2011, 03:44

Fran, I asked Lori L Lake, who likes lists, if she had a list of agents and she does not. In the small niche market of lesfic, an agent would indeed be a waste. However, if anyone wishes to branch out, an agent is a must.
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Re: Literary agents

Postby FranW » 16 May 2011, 07:15

Hmm. I agree, and I don't.

Small presses like Bella accept submissions directly from the author, so a literary agent is not needed to submit to them. If an author wants to sell to someplace like Riverhead or Seal, though, an agent is required: they only accept submissions from literary agents.

Small presses like Bella do not pay an advance, and sell few copies per title (relatively speaking -- compared to something like Riverhead or Seal, I mean), so an agent who earns her living as an agent is unlikely to be interested in selling her clients' books to houses like Bella, as such a sale would only make her a few hundred rather than a few thousand dollars.

Therefore, an agent who "specialises" in selling to houses like Bella would make me nervous. She's not doing it for the money, so why is she doing it? And, more importantly, is she any good at it?

Why would any lesfic author want such an agent? Most probably wouldn't. But some will feel that 15% of their sales is worth not having to deal with the submissions crap and keeping track of royalties and stuff. Of those who don't think they need/want a literary agent, some of them, I would say, are wrong. Because I have seen far too many authors who have signed truly shitty, heinous contracts with lesfic houses. An agent with a clue would have negotiated those contracts for them and got them a much better deal. Heck, if the publisher offered 6% royalties and the agent got it up to 7%, she just earned her keep and made the author a bit more profit.

So -- an author who is unafraid of confronting the publisher and who is knowledgable enough to negotiate her own contract doesn't need an agent when it comes to small lesfic presses. An author who doesn't dare confront the publisher and/or who doesn't know what every clause of the contract means, what will happen if those clauses are enforced, and what industry standard is, will probably find that the literary agent (assuming she's any good, and can do those things for her) is worth the cost.

I have no idea if Joan Timberlake is any good. She's a lawyer, which means pretty much zero, unless she is a lawyer who specialises in publishing contracts. As far as I know she's not worked in a literary agency, which is how most agents get their training. She's not a member of AAR, which means she hasn't met a sufficient sales threshhold. It's better to have no agent at all than a bad agent, but a good agent can be priceless. Let me know if y'all hear anything about this particular agent.
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Re: Literary agents

Postby PaulaO » 16 May 2011, 07:26

what paula read

blah blah Small presses like Bella do not pay an advance blah blah WHAT??


Really? That's sad. RCE does. Granted, its minimal but it's still an advance.

As to the rest, I agree. IF a lesfic author wants to step away from what used to be traditional lesfic publishers, an agent is not necessary and will lose the author money.

At one point, I looked closely at agents because I wasn't planning on remaining within the lesfic market. But I decided to not be that insane.
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Re: Literary agents

Postby ElaineB » 16 May 2011, 08:23

I assume if you hired an agent in an attempt to break into the mainstream presses and it didn't work out, you could cancel whatever deal you had with said agent and flog the book to the lesfic houses on your own, right?
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Re: Literary agents

Postby PaulaO » 16 May 2011, 08:51

Depends on the contract you have with the agent.

Getting an agent is nearly as difficult as getting the book published. The inner workings are just as twisted, too.
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Re: Literary agents

Postby FranW » 16 May 2011, 09:55

PaulaO wrote:Really? That's sad. RCE does. Granted, its minimal but it's still an advance.


In general, an "advance paying commercial publisher" is accepted (by most writers groups such as MWA, HWA, RWA, SFWA, etc) as meaning "always pays an advance that is at minimun $2000". Those are the presses that most literary agents work with.
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