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  1. #1
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    Your opinion on skipping the agent entirely.

    I have done some research lately and there are a lot of compelling articles online regarding publishing. There are a few that totally recommend skipping an agent entirely, since there's no guarantee that even if you ever DO land one they can get your work published.

    There are a lot of recommendations to go indie and then work one title to a bit of a success, go to a traditional publisher with the next work and pitch it sans agent.

    Considering my track record with getting agents to even sniff my query, I am finding myself drawn to this. I think there's a lot of ....... frankly..... laziness in the literary agent world. Seems that most are waiting for a previous best seller to drop in so they can use the name to promote the book instead of having to work for it.

    What do you guys think, or is this just articles by people disgruntled with the process do you think?



  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt
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    There's only a minute chance your book would be successful enough that an agent would notice. Unless you have a niche.

  3. #3
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    That's the thing Rogue, I don't care if an agent notices. Other than one last really good query that I sent, I'm pretty much done with them. I wanted to get one title enough sales to try to approach a good publisher sans agent (without one).

    I've seen it done, and that seems to be the best action. I've wasted WAY too much time trying to land an agent when they're obviously not going to represent or even read my stuff. There's no telling how much farther ahead I could be (saying this approach even works) had I tried this before. OR this could bomb and be a waste of time, but at least it's some sort of progress.

  4. #4
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    I've heard many different ideas that led to success. It depends on what you're most comfortable with. If you're interested in a do it yourself kind of approach, then it probably would be just as fruitful as going to an agent.

  5. #5
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    Not as much interested in that approach as it's kind of the only one I have as an option. What's funny is that I know if it works, I'll get an offer for representation. LoL there's the decision.

  6. #6
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    Agents make their living selling your work, so they want to sell it for you. No sales, no money. But at the same time, an agent has their reputation to uphold. If they just send along any crap that comes in, their name on the envelope won't get the publisher saying, "Ahh, lets see what they found for me today." So they're selective. Unless they believe that there's a good chance of a yes, they're going to reject you. Do you really believe that by bypassing that you increase your chances of a sale?

    Send your work directly into the publisher's slush pile and you face two problems. First, other then sci-fi and romance publishers won't accept un-agented queries. And second, the first-reader (you don't get the acquiring editor, you get a lacky) will have read and rejected a dozen submissions that day, and will read and reject a dozen more after yours. They know that out of a hundred submissions only three will be professionally written, and two of them will be wrong for their house. So, they'll begin reading your work with the attitude that the sooner they find a reason to reject your query the sooner they can get to the next. They want to find brilliance. They really do. But they expect crap. So have you really helped yourself by skipping the agent?

    Another point is that it's an agent's job to know who wants what, so while you're just sending the work out, they're targeting the one who is looking for your story. And finally, if you simply sign a publisher's contract, without having it vetted by an agent, you're probably screwing yourself.
    There are a lot of recommendations to go indie and then work one title to a bit of a success, go to a traditional publisher with the next work and pitch it sans agent.
    A dose of reality:

    Self-publish and you will have a web page, one just like the millions of other self publisher writers have, all of whom tell the reader how great the work is—all of who have glowing five star recommendations from friends and family. Who will even know it's there? Will you join writers forums in hopes that people will seek out the page and buy your book? Everyone does that. How many self-published books have you bought and enjoyed in the last last year? Ask your friends that same question, and that will tell you if it's a viable path.

    I've been down that road And I can tell you from experience that you are not going to achieve great success that way, because the number who do, expressed as a percentage of the whole, has a decimal point and two zeros before the number.

    Look at me as an example. I put out, Water Dance, and the five others in that romance series at the beginning of last year. I made it free, with the idea that people who liked it would pay for the others. And it worked, partly because the subject, mermaids, has a loyal audience. But that being said, I've made tens of dollars, not thousands. Would I point to it in a query for another novel and crow that today it ranked 8,500 from the top for Kindle? No. But among self-publishers that's doing pretty well, because the average self published work, if you pull out sales to friends and relatives, sells less than a hundred copies, total, over its lifetime.

    So how do we get around that problem? It's easy. Write a story that's so good that on reading the opening three pages, the agent will say, "This is what I've been looking for." Damn few will, because damn few make the big leagues in any field. But someone has to, and maybe it's you. So the first step to writing that breakout novel is to learn everything you can about how to write for publication, what makes a story, and a character, memorable. Dig into the nuance of POV, your single most powerful tool. Learn why scenes end in disaster, and how to make it work for you.

    And most of all...hang in there, and keep on writing.

    Our goal isn't to make the reader know the character is frightened, it's to terrify the reader.

  7. #7
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    Jay I understand your points, but they do nothing to change the fact that I'm not getting a look, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that most of my letters don't get as much as a serious chance.

    I could have taken your advice as a "if your stuff's any good, it'll get a read" type of comment, but I don't. I really see what you're saying. The issue I have is that the works I have published with small POD publishers before have gotten wonderful reviews from local papers and at least one television (public) program. I know the quality is at least sufficient. I don't claim to be the next Tolkien, but I am pretty confident in my writing... especially my characters.

    I am not going to claim to be a victim in all this, as I'm sure I'm not the only one going through this. The thing is that I've been pretty patient in pitching some of these manuscripts. One of them is over 7 years old and I have pitched it off and on since its completion. While I'm patient, I don't intend to wait until I'm in a retirement home either.

    The thing was, I have NO intentions of "self-publishing". If I do ANYTHING of this type, it will be with a small independent publisher. I don't have the extra funds to drain, nor do I intend to put a strain on my family's finances to chase a chance at something.

    The last agent I spoke to... who actually did read a large sample of the book... said he would represent it but that he wasn't taking new clients. He praised the writing and the characters and said if anything, they were too developed for the target audience. He said that was his opinion, and that if he was to represent it he wouldn't change anything unless it met with difficulty. The problem is that the agents I found who ARE taking new clients aren't willing to take the time to read it. It's not possible to tell me otherwise when I send a 50 page sample and get a rejection letter within a half day. If they truly are getting as many queries as they claim (which I'm certain they are), then this is just simply not being read.

    So yeah, I'll keep going. I appreciate the encouragement. It is a popular opinion and it's better than giving up.

    And no, I have no sympathy for agents. I understand there may be some who are hard working and do the job, but I suspect they are fewer than they once were.

    I do realize this is a public forum, but oh well.. it's not like they can reject me harder or anything lol.
    Last edited by Chris Hagler; 05-05-2015 at 06:08 PM.

  8. #8
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    I know how you feel. I've been there. But bear in mind that every agent is anxious to find something that will sell and make them lots of money. Every hour they spend on a book that won't sell ias one in which their income is zero, and their effort wasted.

    It may be that you're just as good as many of their existing clients. But they don't need any more "just as good as." They already have them, and you have no following, so to catch an agent, or publisher's attention you have to be so good that the rave reviews you'll get will build that following. Anything less and they don't need you.

    And that agent wh said he liked the work but wasn't accepting new clients was lying, to let you down gently. If the book was ready, do you really believe that he wouldn't pass it on to a publisher, get a yes, and make money?

    I didn't see any work published here, so I looked around, If you're the Chris Hager who wrote Hindsight and Lioneyes. I can tell you exactly where they were rejected, and why. This forum isn't the place to discuss it, though, so if they are yours, message me and I'll let you know.

  9. #9
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    Hi Jay.
    I'm curious about what you said. Just sent you a PM.

  10. #10
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    Hey Jay.....

    Sent you the message.

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