publishers, editors or agents?
I was reading below a question concerning where to place protagonists and this theme came up.
Bob K. had written this in his reply.....
"Unfortunately, the system is such that publishers actually are willing to take greater risks than agents are, on the whole."
so my question is...Begin with an agent? An editor? Or go straight to the publishing houses? If agents are so much more careful then why not shoot straight to the top? I ask this understanding that agents are more likely to gain the other's attention.
Re: publishers, editors or agents?
Because many of the editors at the big publishing houses won't look at your work unless you are represented by an agent.
For smaller houses you can contact the editors and publsihers directly.
You speak of editors in a seperate way, but if you submit work to publishing houses, an editor is the person that will be reading your work.
Your question of which one, a publisher or an agent, to submit to, is a good one but difficult to answer.
Agents are very selective because they are gambling their own time and energy on selling the work they choose to represent. Since, like anyone else, they'd prefer not to waste their time, and they like making the money that comes from making a sale, they only take on those works that they think they can sell, and quickly.
Submitting directly to a publisher is an obvious choice for unagented writers, but this route can take a long time and might never bear fruit, or even a reply. Though I wouldn't say don't submit directly to publishers per se, I would caution you that results, for an unagented, unpublished writer, might be long in coming and anemic as well.
My advice would be to submit to agents first, after targeting those ones that handle your sort of writing. Good Luck.
That quote is from me, not Bob K.
Where you can best target your submission (agent or publisher) is largely determined by your book and your own credentials. If, as you say, you are shooting "straight to the top" (which if you've done your research means you have a highly competitive national/international audience book and/or are a bankable celebrity in your own right), you do, as Lisa says, need an agent. Because the top publishers use agents to weed out what they have to consider.
Over 95 percent of those eventually getting published, however, do so somewhere short of the "top." Most books will be released by mid-level, small, or academic publishers and by various means of self-publishing, none of which require the use of an agent and some of which would not work with an agent (as there's not enough money in the deal to support an agent in addition to the publisher and author).
An author's best bet is to objectively understand where his/her book fits (that's why you do your own market survey) and to hit somewhere toward the optimistic side of an objective reading of where the book fits in the marketplace.
so sorry Mr. Kessler. I got the two replies backward. when me and my partner first started writing we initially went straight to the publishing houses but discovered quickly enough that wasn't necessarily our best bet. we did get an agent, which we had for two years, but her legitimacy is now in question. Supposedly she's dead, but no one can prove it..anyway that takes me off track. We had it in our minds to research new agents and resubmit our manuscripts while we're working on our new one, but during the course of this research I've seen so many different opinions. Based on the responses I've gotten here at this site it seems we are correct and having an agent will benefit us the most. So thanks a lot for helping. No doubt I'll be back with more questions as I go along.