Below is a correspondence with a writer that just amazed me. He's finally got a good agent, who helped rewrite the book, but he wrote another book while waiting for an agent. He sent the new novel to the agent, who said it was not for him. So while his agent is sending out his first novel, he wants to know if I want to see his new novel.
"Hello Ms. Perkins,
About a year ago, you sent me this email and I wisely held on to it. You had read a ms. of mine called "MY FIRST HORROR NOVEL." That manuscript is now with the Semi-Famous Agency, and, after a long revision process, is about to be sent to publishers. In the meantime, I have written a very dark literary book. Mr. Famous has looked at it, but it's not the type of material his agency usually handles. I thought it might be a better fit for you if you were still interested in reading some of my work."
This was the letter I wrote to him a year ago that prompted this response:
'Believe it or not, I've finally got around to sitting
down with this. I get 30,000 requests for submission
a year and have 70 existing clients.
But the bottom line is that this title is best suited
for a small press, which I hope you'll tell me you've
already sold it to.
However, if you have new work, please email me about
I told him to let Mr. Famous see what he could do with the first novel and give him the courtesy of representing him as an author on his next novel, should he make a sale.
Before I had even written this blog post, I got the following:
"Thank you for the reply. I did ask Mr. Famous if he wanted the new book and he declined it. I wouldn't shop it around if he hadn't already looked at it. This manuscript is not really SF, but more dark and literary and I don't think his agency handles that type of work."
And here's my response, which would have been a lot less explanatory and patient, if it weren't for you explaining to me just how out of the loop writers can be.
"But the editor he sells you too may do dark "literary" fiction, or some editor who has read your first novel might ask for your next book, which is why you need to let Mr. Famous have dibbs on it until you know what your first novel can do.
And you might write yet another novel or partial in the time it takes to sell the first novel, and Mr. Famous might like that one, and find it more sellable.
Also, there are only seven publishers for this kind of dark/horror fiction, so in all likelihood Mr. Famous and your other agent would be sending your two novels to the same editors, which just is not done."
But the reason why I posted about this is that I'm just astounded that this writer couldn't understand how lucky he was to have an agent with a good reputation work on his book (which I told him was a small book) and thought nothing of having two agents, or one to get you started and one to grow on, at the same time. It's just wrong.
I know he's anxious to get validation on his new novel, but what part of publishing is a slow business amongst people who all know each other have we failed to make clear?
The author just wrote to me again, and he got it, so I guess you've taught me to be just a little more gentle and patient.
"I see now. Thank you for explaining. I'm afraid that I know very little about the business. I'll hang on to the new ms. and see what happens. You've been very kind.
Thanks again. I'm sorry if I've taken up much of your time."