Literary agents

Lesbian short story and novel publishers.

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Re: Literary agents

Postby FranW » 16 May 2011, 10:01

ElaineB wrote: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?

It'll depend on the agent/author agreement. But yeah, very few legitimate literary agents would even consider submitting to a non-advance-paying small press without extensively consulting with the author first.

But to be honest, if I had a legitimate literary agent and she said "Okay, we've tried everything and failed. We can shelve this book and try to flog your next one instead, or we can try to toss it at one of the small presses like Bella" and I was wanting to go with a Bella-type press, I'd ask her to handle it. Sure, I'd probably only make a few thousand at best on the book in sales over 2 - 5 years, and she'd be taking 15% of that, but personally I"d much prefer to have a professional who could negotiate a better royalty rate or whatever, and would chase up the publisher when they forgot to send royalty cheques, and would play bad cop for me so that any stroppy contract negotiations wouldn't negatively impact my personal relationship with the publisher/editor. To me that would be well worth the three hundred bucks or so that she'd be taking as her cut.
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Re: Literary agents

Postby Moonglow » 16 Jun 2011, 22:00

Sad to see only one agent name mentioned here! I spent a couple of months actively seeking representation after I finished MOONGLOW in March and was so frustrated with the litany of rejections that streamed in, I just self-published. I feel it was the best thing but -- still -- I'd love an agent at some point!
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MOONGLOW - A Lesbian Romance Set In A Future Fashion World
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Re: Literary agents

Postby FranW » 17 Jun 2011, 07:30

Moonglow, as I noted above, literary agents simply aren't interested in lesbian romance, because lesbian romance is exclusively published by small presses, which don't sell enough copies-per-title for the agent's commission to be worth the time she'd spend on the client.

Offhand, I can't think of any author I know who secured agent representation based on their first novel, and I can't think of any agent I know with literary agent representation who didn't spend a year or more querying agents. It's a long, slow process. And of course every author has to find the path that's right for them. However, if you're looking for alternatives to self-publishing, I'd recommend a few things:
1. Put your work through a critique group or set of beta readers who are wholly unrelated to you, and get unbiased feedback.
2. Read one or more of the many books out there on getting published. There are books on craft, on self-editing, on writing query letters and synopses, etc. Many are available at public libraries.
3. Do a bit of research to see who is publishing books like yours, and then look to see who are the more prominent authors with those publishers in your genre, and then look to see which literary agents (if any) are representing those authors. Then query those agents.
4. If books like yours are being published with small presses rather than the big presses that accept agented submissions only, research the small presses in your genre and submit directly to them.
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