I have just taken on a novelist. She sent me a few questions about our relationship, and I thought I would share our correspondence.
1. To whom will you submit my work?
The 7 major New York publishers, and some of the minor NY publishers who do innovative fiction. At most, 15.
2. What timetable? Does it go out to only one at a
I hope to go out with this on the 17th to about 10 houses simultaneously.
3. Will you keep me updated on what happens?
Sort of. What I mean by that is that I'll let you know when someone has passed, but if their reason is not really relevant to your writing, I won't forward you the rejection letter. I just find it's not helpful to an author's ego to get a lot of rejection. All you need is one publisher to say yes, so who really cares what the nay-sayers say?
4. When will I get the Author/Agent contract, and how?
I work on a handshake.
5. Which rights typically go to the publisher and
for how long? Which rights does the author typically retain?
If they give you a low offer, we will try to keep the foreign rights. I have agents in 14 foreign counties. You always keep the film and merchandising rights. I have film agents I work with in LA. Audio and ebook rights usually go to the publisher with a request for reversion should they be unable to sell them after a reasonable period of time.
6. How flexible do you find those? Depends on the advance.
7. Will you be asking for a two-book deal? Yes.
8. What is the typical advance for work like mine?
If only one publisher is interested, and they see this as mass market or trade, you can expect an advance between $5000 and $12,500. If they see it as a chance to get in on a wonderful once-in-a-decade series, 10 to 20 times that, especially if more than one house sees it that way. But set your expectations on the low end and you won't be disappointed.
9. Do you charge 15%?
Yes. If we retain the foreign rights, the precentage goes to 20% because I share the agency fee with my foreign agents.