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message 1: by Christopher, Founder (last edited Jun 12, 2013 09:34AM) (new)

Christopher Shields (wealdfaejournals) | 171 comments Mod


MODERN GOOD READS PRESENTS: ASK AN AGENT

Come join Seth Fishman, Literary Agent representing Alex Grecian. They have graciously agreed to answer questions related to traditional publishing, an agent’s role in publishing, and all those myriad things we all want to know about working with agents and New York publishers.

ASK AN AGENT--Ask Seth Fishman all your questions in the discussion thread ASK AN AGENT & Agent Reading Giveaway at:

ASK AN AGENT & Agent Reading Giveaway

Seth Fishman (me) was born and raised in Midland, Texas (think Friday Night Lights) and received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England (think cold and rainy and millions of castles). His YA thriller, The Well's End, is the first in a series and the protagonist, Mia Kish, is roughly inspired by a hometown drama that (when I was young) really blew him away: (http://articles.latimes.com/2012/oct/...).



When not writing, Seth is a literary agent at The Gernert Company (www.thegernertco.com), and thinks writing and agenting are the two very best jobs in the world. Some of the work Seth represents includes:

"I've been a literary agent for over eight years, beginning at Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc. (www.sll.com) and now, for the past three years, at The Gernert Company (www.thegernertco.com). My list is deliberately wide-reaching, as I'm fervently of the mind that good writing and strong stories can be found in any genre. For the sake of ease, however, a few published examples in varying categories I rep are:"

Literary Fiction:

* NYTimes Bestseller and Orange Prize winner Tea Obreht's The Tiger's Wife The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht
* Liz Moore's Heft
* Alex Gilvarry's From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant
* Hugo winner Will McIntosh's Love Minus Eighty
* Ted Kosmatka's Locus finalist The Games.

Thrillers:

* Alex Grecian's Bestselling The Yard and The Black Country
* Ted Kosmatka's Prophet of Bones.

Non-Fiction:

* NY Times Bestseller Maria Konnikova's Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes
* BoingBoing Science Editor Maggie Koerth-Baker's Before The Lights Go Out.

Graphic/comic/illustrated:

* #1 NYTimes Bestseller Kate Beaton's Hark! A Vagrant
* Matt Kish's Moby Dick In Pictures

Seth Fishman’s own debut novel:

The Well's End, a YA thriller from Putnam YA February 2014. COVER REVEAL June 12th: http://io9.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Wells-End-S...

▼SUBMIT MANUSCRIPTS TO SETH FISHMAN TO WIN AN AGENT READING▼

Seth will read one unpublished manuscript or self-published book of the winning entry in our contest:

CONTEST ENTRY HERE: WIN AN AGENT READING by SETH FISHMAN




▼Giveaway Rafflecopters for THE YARD & BLACK COUNTRY▼

THE YARD Giveaway Rafflecopter

THE BLACK COUNTRY Giveaway Rafflecopter

Thank you for coming, and please post all your questions below for our special guest, literary agent Seth Fishman, and any questions you like for our special guest author, NYT Bestseller Alex Grecian. Take it away:



message 2: by Simon (new)

Simon Okill (tassyoneill) | 52 comments Hello Seth, do you have any inkling as to what will be the next big genre that everyone will stampede for?


message 3: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Sharp (MargaretLynetteSharp) | 18 comments Seth, to what degree is self-publishing impacting on traditional publishing? Are authors still seeing traditional publishing as more desirable?


message 4: by Ceri, Moderator (new)

Ceri London (cerilondon) | 464 comments Mod
Hi Seth, what's your vision for the developing relationship between self-published authors and agents?


message 5: by Ceri, Moderator (last edited Jun 12, 2013 03:04AM) (new)

Ceri London (cerilondon) | 464 comments Mod
And my next question: What are the crucial gaps you see in self-published authors' general ability to publish and market their books? Feel free to tell us how to plug those gaps!


message 6: by Seth (new)

Seth | 80 comments Hi Simon (and everyone, as this is the first answer). This is a fairly tough question, I admit. We agents read and sell books 2 years before they come out, so we DO want to look ahead. Some things, when written well, will be around forever (Vampires). And, of course, various age groups and genres have variant answers to this. For YA, realistic fiction is on a comeback (John Green), for genre, it's literary genre (The Passage by Justin Cronin). But as to what I am looking for - honestly, it's whatever moves me and is told in an imaginative way. But a good, tricky question.


message 7: by Seth (new)

Seth | 80 comments Margaret and Ceri have questions that involve a fairly in depth answer; please know I'm working on them and will have an answer up soon!


message 8: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Sharp (MargaretLynetteSharp) | 18 comments Seth wrote: "Margaret and Ceri have questions that involve a fairly in depth answer; please know I'm working on them and will have an answer up soon!"
Thank you!


message 9: by Seth (new)

Seth | 80 comments Margaret wrote: "Seth, to what degree is self-publishing impacting on traditional publishing? Are authors still seeing traditional publishing as more desirable?"

Margaret, hi. To answer the second question first, I think you just need to look to yourself (I say this generally, to all readers and authors). We live (and this is not necessarily a bad thing) in a world of structure, norms, and ego, and the traditional publishing model nurtures that. I think the vast vast majority of self-published authors would love and prefer the traditional route. An agent to take care of any problems and help plan the future, an editor to edit and guide the book through publication, a publisher to put money and strength into distribution and ad/marketing space. But this doesn't happen for most, and what's great about self-publishing's current iteration is that it is now a VIABLE alternative. We speak a lot of the success stories, but they are fairly few and far between (all told). Still, the Hugh Howey's and Amanda Hocking's of the world get very big and wealthy and are able to dictate terms to publishers, which in turn changes the dynamics of the industry. But remember, those authors almost always end up working with a publisher, and definitely with an agent. And, to the publisher, they are sure things. Publishers love them. Bestsellers that do all their own career-building and then come to them with a product AND platform in hand. In some ways, those writers are like celebrities, which publishers love connecting to and paying big money for. You can make more money, potentially, doing it the self-published way, but I think most would prefer to have their books published by a traditional (with the caveat, in this scenario - most prefer their books to SUCCEED). No one wants to be a failed writer. More to this answer in future questions. Thanks for asking!


message 10: by Seth (new)

Seth | 80 comments Ceri wrote: "Hi Seth, what's your vision for the developing relationship between self-published authors and agents?"

Ceri, hi! I might be biased, but I believe the agent is fairly important to any author (whether or not they are at the point where they can get one is another conversation). As I mentioned earlier, self-published authors often start their careers solo, but then work with an agent. One of the major reasons why is that agents do SO much more than people suspect. At a very basic level, we act as intelligent and knowledgeable sounding boards in the world you work in. We know who is the editor that's the best fit, and we know the backstory to the publisher you might want to work with. Let's say you're a big self-published author and don't want a publisher. No need for an agent, right? Well, an agent can still sell your books to foreign markets (my client, Tea Obreht, has deals in about 40 territories!), each with their own advances and royalties and editions. We sell and set-up film rights. We deal with contracts. I, personally, work hard to connect with periodicals and online sights to push my clients' material so that if you wanted to sell a short story to The New Yorker or Asimov's, I can help.

I think a big issue at the moment, though, is that self-published authors aren't LOOKING for agents. They aren't looking for the correct fit. Instead, they are approached by agencies and agents (some, granted, might totally be the correct fit) that have heard about their success or seen their numbers. This is what a good agent does: looks for clients. But a traditional submission usually has a debut author researching agencies and agents for the person who will become the partner for their career. I think it's worth spending some serious time finding an agent with similar vision of the relationship.


message 11: by Heather (new)

Heather Hart (AuthorHeatherHart) | 8 comments Hi Seth. To what extent will a history of self-publishing hurt or help an author in their quest for agency representation? Or a history of sales through e-book publishers? Do you have a feeling one way or the other about this? Patti (published as P J Perryman)


message 12: by Lucy (new)

Lucy Pireel (LucyPireel) | 8 comments Hi Seth,
You say it's worth spending serious time in finding the perfect fit, when looking to find an agent.
But how does one find a perfect fit when I'm not even sure in which genre my novel fits?
What I'm really asking is when an agent says he/she will not consider crime, is it pointless to send them a manuscript which has crime elements in it? Are they always rigid in their 'list' and never look outside their box?


message 13: by Seth (new)

Seth | 80 comments Lucy wrote: "Hi Seth,
You say it's worth spending serious time in finding the perfect fit, when looking to find an agent.
But how does one find a perfect fit when I'm not even sure in which genre my novel fits..."


Lucy,
That's a great question. The first answer is that you want a perfect fit, not necessarily someone who bends rules to work with you. Now, that doesn't mean you shouldn't go with an agent who usually doesn't do crime - if they love the book they love it, but why TARGET them? Quick, good ways to find agents that fit you:
1) Pick up the books you LOVE and flip to the acknowledgements, where the agent is most definitely listed. If it doesn't SAY agent, the name should be there and some googling will find the truth. Query that agent and make sure to let them know you loved that book.
2) Do the same thing, but with books that are similar to yours.
3) Also, make sure you read their guidelines.

I rep across the board, and I do so because I love trying new things. It makes me a better agent. But not all agents will WANT to try crime, you know?


message 14: by Seth (new)

Seth | 80 comments P.J. wrote: "Hi Seth. To what extent will a history of self-publishing hurt or help an author in their quest for agency representation? Or a history of sales through e-book publishers? Do you have a feeling one..."

P.J., If the book is good, it won't hurt at all. If the sales are good, then it will actually help. The one thing that's BAD is if you queried editors at big houses by yourself. I wouldn't recommend that.


message 15: by Lucy (new)

Lucy Pireel (LucyPireel) | 8 comments Thanks Seth, a great answer but its like you say, not all agents like to try new things or even if they like it the agency do not allow them to take on the ms. (had that with one agent. She loved the ms, but it didn't fit the agency's 'list')
Your answer to P.J. about self-pubbing being a possible good thing in looking for an agent raises a follow up question.
What if you have self-published but not do much promotion for your own work. Instead you are building an audience for your blog and try hard to promote fellow indies. (The reasoning behind this is that it's good to help others and in helping others you help yourself too.)
Any sales now are a bonus.
Does it make sense to first try and get your name known and then when you are kind of 'known' promote those self-published works by your own hand?


message 16: by Seth (new)

Seth | 80 comments Lucy wrote: "Thanks Seth, a great answer but its like you say, not all agents like to try new things or even if they like it the agency do not allow them to take on the ms. (had that with one agent. She loved t..."

Lucy, hi. First of all, that agency is abnormal. Agents take on what they want, they don't have a 'list' that fits in a brand of agency.

Second, and this is important: focus on the writing. Get the book good. Once that's done, the options become easier. The agency model is established to find talent, and once you have a good book, as long as you query appropriately, you'll be fine. I think you totally should grow a platform, that's great, but the book matters the most, you know?


message 17: by Leonardo (new)

Leonardo Ramirez (leonardoverse) Seth wrote: "Lucy wrote: "Hi Seth,
You say it's worth spending serious time in finding the perfect fit, when looking to find an agent.
But how does one find a perfect fit when I'm not even sure in which genre ..."


Hi Seth,

Hope you're well and thanks for answering our questions. You say that authors are not looking for an agent but that almost presupposes that we have a choice when it comes to who we pitch to. To some extent we do but what we run into is 1. The sheer number of proposals that an agent receives. It's not easy waiting 6 months to hear "No, I'm too busy." or 2. Our genre. In my case, it's Children's Steampunk. I'll admit I've done a limited search on agents who represent this genre but when I have I've found a very small number of folks who do. Finding an agent is almost like finding a life mate! ;o)


message 18: by Lucy (new)

Lucy Pireel (LucyPireel) | 8 comments Thanks Seth and you are right the book is what matters most in the end.
But isn't it a bit strange to have to have a finished product in hand and query that to agents? I know they want to know you can do it right, but am I wrong in thinking that if they like the ms the final editing will be done by the editor of the publisher?
If I fork out a couple of hundred $ for an editor to get the final t's crossed and all the commas in their proper place I can just as well self-publish the book and keep all the royalties myself.
What I'm basically ask is, "Doesn't an agent recognise talent and a good story even if it's not fully polished when they get it through a query?"


message 19: by Gordon (new)

Gordon Andrews | 2 comments Seth,
I have one published Book
Love Letters From Oz
Published by Redmund Productions (American)
And one unpublished book I have just finished writing
I live in Australia
Redmund told me to develop my ares to sell my book in Australia and I have found this hard to do, friends have told me to get an Agent, I have been thinking of looking at An Australian Publisher
Either way I don't know what to do should I choose a new path or stick to the one I am on


message 20: by Kirstin, Moderator (new)

Kirstin Pulioff | 252 comments Mod
Hi Seth! Thanks for being here and answering our questions!!! With the query letter being the first impression an author has to make,are there any common mistakes that you wish more authors were aware of?


message 21: by Ceri, Moderator (new)

Ceri London (cerilondon) | 464 comments Mod
Seth wrote: "Ceri wrote: "Hi Seth, what's your vision for the developing relationship between self-published authors and agents?"

Ceri, hi! I might be biased, but I believe the agent is fairly important to an..."


Very helpful answer and it makes sense to me that an established self-published author might still need agent help when it comes to negotiating contracts for foreign languages, movie rights etc. Good to bear in mind that just because an agent comes knocking, it doesn't necessarily make them the best fit for a future relationship. Thank you!


message 22: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Pierce (boomerauthor) | 26 comments Hi Seth! Thanks for taking the time to do this. Which acquisition avenue do you find most fruitful when you're looking for new clients? Cold queries? Conference pitches? Do you cruise sites like Goodreads? As a self-published author, I am a marketing octopus. It would help to know where to focus my efforts to get the best results.


message 23: by Seth (new)

Seth | 80 comments quick fyi to everyone: I'm at work, so there will be stretches when I can't answer your questions. Thanks so much for being patient while I take care of various matters here.


message 24: by Peter (new)

Peter Prasad (goodreadscomPeter_Prasad) | 33 comments Hi Seth! I sent the first chapter of GOAT-RIPPER by way of introduction. Your agency does a great job on international rights. So what's the business model for you? What kind of sales by market do you need to project to justify translation expenses, etc?

I've been published on three continents, but I never figured this out. THANKS. Texans rock!


message 25: by Heather (new)

Heather Hart (AuthorHeatherHart) | 8 comments Thank you, Seth. When querying an agent, is there something in the submission that will automatically turn your tummy? Do you have a pet query hate?


message 26: by Seth (last edited Jun 12, 2013 07:57AM) (new)

Seth | 80 comments Leonardo wrote: "Seth wrote: "Lucy wrote: "Hi Seth,
You say it's worth spending serious time in finding the perfect fit, when looking to find an agent.
But how does one find a perfect fit when I'm not even sure in..."


Hi Leonardo. I don't think finding an agent is easy, but there are many things you can do to get higher on the pile. Write a simple, clear, good pitch letter. The first line should be the line that get's you off the slush pile. For instance, "Dear Seth, I saw your AAA on Goodreads this week and thought you might be the right agent for my novel, THE BEST BOOK EVER". Or, that other example I used above. Also, submit stories to magazines, attend (if you can) readings and book events (though try not to spend money; seriously!). 6 months is too long, but even I've been guilty of losing things and letting them disappear. I've even rejected an eventual client before because, AT THAT MOMENT, I was too busy to take on someone new. But, I can guarantee you this: if an agent reads your writing and genuinely likes it, you will be signed.

Oh, and to your 'genre' - that's just Middle Grade. Just find a middle grade or steampunk agent. I, for instance, have worked on a book called Steamhunk - YA Steampunk...


message 27: by Seth (new)

Seth | 80 comments Gordon wrote: "Seth,
I have one published Book
Love Letters From Oz
Published by Redmund Productions (American)
And one unpublished book I have just finished writing
I live in Australia
Redmund told me to d..."


I'll admit that the foreign English speaking writer scenario is tricky. But if you can land in Australia, I'd recommend that. Otherwise, try to connect to a UK agent, not US. UK publishers actively scope in Australia.


message 28: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Knauss (jessicaknauss) | 2 comments Thank you for coming to answer so many questions! I've had someone at your agency recommended to me and plan to query. Can you tell me who are some of the agents out there who are actively looking for new historical fiction authors?


message 29: by Seth (new)

Seth | 80 comments Lucy wrote: "Thanks Seth and you are right the book is what matters most in the end.
But isn't it a bit strange to have to have a finished product in hand and query that to agents? I know they want to know you..."


Lucy, hi. That's a good question, but it also undervalues the agent. First of all, for nonfiction, we DO sell on partials. But otherwise, a partial ms. will be harder to sell, and make get less money. Doable, but not recommended. Editors DO edit a book, they always do, but you have to remember that a) they see dozens of books a week and b) it takes several people reading a book to decide at a publishing house to buy that book. You HAVE to put your best foot forward. Not only that, I, personally, receive hundreds of queries every day. And while, yes, I've taken on plenty of projects that needed work (The Age of Ice by J.M. Sidorova (which is coming out in July from Scribner) took two years of editing before we pitched it), just put yourself in our shoes. We work on spec, so the effort we put into a book is time that could be used elsewhere. I LOVE getting a book into shape, though. I think the issue is more that, why would you ever send out something you know needs edits? Why ever present your own work in not the best shape you can get it? And I don't mean paying money to an editor. You don't need to do that - you can pair up with people you trust and edit each other. If an agent isn't going to sell your book on a partial, why take it on on a partial, especially when so many others are submitting complete? Finally - talent doesn't always prove true. Sadly, I've read many first chapters that were beyond stellar, only to see that author not follow through with the promise in the rest of the book. Sometimes it just doesn't work. We take the risk when we love a project, but you have to be honest with the scenario: the odds are less. This is about doing what will work best for you and your career.


message 30: by Belle (new)

Belle Blackburn | 14 comments Hi Seth. You said, "But, I can guarantee you this: if an agent reads your writing and genuinely likes it, you will be signed." I found that interesting because I had a number of agents tell me how much they loved my book but could not sell it, could not take it on. Some told me they would be rooting from the sidelines for me and watching for it in stores and will kick themselves when it comes out. Maybe they were just taking the time to do a generous rejection as opposed to the form letters but they seemed genuine. I did get a publishing contract but decided to pass on it. But thanks for posting here.


message 31: by Seth (new)

Seth | 80 comments Kirstin wrote: "Hi Seth! Thanks for being here and answering our questions!!! With the query letter being the first impression an author has to make,are there any common mistakes that you wish more authors were a..."

Kirstin, hi! And YES, so many. I think the thing that authors don't realize is that we see enough of these that we get really good at judging a book by the query. You want your query to be professional and simple, something that draws no red flags. Basically, you want us to get to page 1, and then your writing will take over. The things below might sound silly, but all agents follow them:
1) Standard query letter has three paragraphs: intro/connection, synopsis, bio. That's it. Keep it there.
2) Easy to read font please.
3) Spell the name of the agent correctly, also, know their sex accurately.
4) Don't send any additional material, like pictures.
5) Don't start the query letter with quotes from your book.
6) Sample pages: ALWAYS start from the beginning. Don't turn in chapters 5, 8, and 12.


message 32: by Seth (new)

Seth | 80 comments Ceri wrote: "Seth wrote: "Ceri wrote: "Hi Seth, what's your vision for the developing relationship between self-published authors and agents?"

Ceri, hi! I might be biased, but I believe the agent is fairly im..."


Exactly!


message 33: by Drako (new)

Drako | 91 comments Hi Seth,

I have currently published five books through self publishing. My question is how would you recommend querying an agent if your books have a few different genres to it? For instance, mine can be put in paranormal, fantasy, romance, and LGBT all at once. I've been contemplating trying traditional publishing for a while But haven't been able to find the right agent that would accept all of those


message 34: by Jason (new)

Jason Parent | 43 comments Been reading this very informative Q&A. Just wanted to chime in and thank Mr. Fishman for his time.


message 35: by Krista (new)

Krista Madden | 7 comments Hi Seth! Thanks so much for volunteering to help us or starving artists get a better understanding of the publishing world.

I am a brand new author, self published, that began my journey with a New Year's resolution. After finishing my first book, and publishing on Amazon, I have been told by total strangers that they are impressed with my manuscript being that I am brand new to the game. It is humbling, but I am curious about your point of view on this. As an agent, what are the top 3 elements you look for in a spankin' new author? I have heard agents won't even consider an author if they have not been published in some way, shape, or form already. That seems like a catch-twenty-two to me. What are your thoughts?


message 36: by Lucy (new)

Lucy Pireel (LucyPireel) | 8 comments Seth wrote: "Lucy wrote: "Thanks Seth and you are right the book is what matters most in the end.
But isn't it a bit strange to have to have a finished product in hand and query that to agents? I know they wan..."


Thanks Seth for this great answer. Good thing my novel is finished and only needs the last editing stage by either a line editor I hire or an editor from an agency/publisher. But reading your answer I shouldn't fork out a lot of money to get that done and query my ms to the right agency now.
But like with Drako's ms mine fits in quite a few genres and not all agencies like all of them. Anyway, you've answered that part of the question I guess when you said that if the ms is captivating enough they will look past that part of the novel which has the genre they normally won't represent.
I think I need to write myself a query letter. Ugh! I'm always afraid my rubbish query letter makes my great ms land on the slushpile.


message 37: by Christopher, Founder (new)

Christopher Shields (wealdfaejournals) | 171 comments Mod
Hi, Seth,

Thank you so much for joining us for this great event. I hope you're enjoying it, and I hope all our members are getting some great information. It's a pleasure and an honor to have you with us. Is Alex available in the next couple of days for members to ask questions of as well? By the way, your cover is gorgeous. I want to read it just from the excitement the cover connotes. Brilliant work.



The Well's End, by Seth Fishman--Coming 2014

Would you care to say anything about the upcoming book, Seth? If not, we'll understand :)


message 38: by Linda (new)

Linda Covella (wwwgoodreadscomlindacovella) | 6 comments Hi Seth: Thanks for your time answering our questions! As you said, self-publication is a viable option these days. But for now, I'm on the track of finding an agent and a traditional publisher. To me, one of the main advantages of going with a traditional publisher is the distribution channels they have--getting your book to reviewers, bookstores, etc. Can you please tell us your thoughts on that?


message 39: by Seth (new)

Seth | 80 comments Courtney wrote: "Hi Seth! Thanks for taking the time to do this. Which acquisition avenue do you find most fruitful when you're looking for new clients? Cold queries? Conference pitches? Do you cruise sites like Go..."

Courtney, hi. When I was starting out, I read magazines to find new talent. And while I still do that, the wheels have grown to a point where new clients come from recommendations most often. But I still find via slush and via random coincidences or conferences, etc. Not very helpful, am I? Sorry!


message 40: by Seth (new)

Seth | 80 comments Peter wrote: "Hi Seth! I sent the first chapter of GOAT-RIPPER by way of introduction. Your agency does a great job on international rights. So what's the business model for you? What kind of sales by market d..."

Peter, hi. We aren't the publishers, so we don't care about sales really, just content. When we take on a book, our able foreign rights team will pitch it abroad to various publishers and they will buy the rights to publish in those territories. Usually, though, this happens in waves. Some deals come when I sell the book domestically, some when we get the edited ms., some when we get a cover, and some when the book comes out. If it comes out and sells 100k copies, it def. will help foreign sales...


message 41: by Seth (new)

Seth | 80 comments Jessica wrote: "Thank you for coming to answer so many questions! I've had someone at your agency recommended to me and plan to query. Can you tell me who are some of the agents out there who are actively looking ..."

Jessica! I can't recommend my competitors! Ha. Seriously, though, my job is to know editors, to pitch to them, and while I certainly know a few agents, I'm not acquainted with their lists, so I'm fairly unhelpful there. Back of books that are like what you write is the best clue...


message 42: by Seth (last edited Jun 12, 2013 09:58AM) (new)

Seth | 80 comments Belle wrote: "Hi Seth. You said, "But, I can guarantee you this: if an agent reads your writing and genuinely likes it, you will be signed." I found that interesting because I had a number of agents tell me ho..."

Belle, we can admire a book and not take it on. But if we love a book, we'll do it. That's my experience. It is also my experience to be as kind as possible when passing on projects. But it sounds like these agents legitimately liked your project, but maybe didn't have the enthusiasm needed to champion it to editors... It's a tough game, I know. I really appreciate your question.


message 43: by Seth (new)

Seth | 80 comments Drako wrote: "Hi Seth,

I have currently published five books through self publishing. My question is how would you recommend querying an agent if your books have a few different genres to it? For instance, mine..."


That's a GREAT question. I'd focus on ONE project first. There are agents who move across genres, and they are worth looking for, but an agent can only deal with one book at a time (unless it's a series). I don't think you should find a new agent for each book, but it's worth focusing on one and getting that to happen first. It's a problem, a pigeon-holing, but if you succeed in one place, it will help you in the other.


message 44: by Seth (new)

Seth | 80 comments Jason wrote: "Been reading this very informative Q&A. Just wanted to chime in and thank Mr. Fishman for his time."

Very kind of you, Jason!


message 45: by Mike (new)

Mike (mmullin) | 1 comments Hi Seth, thanks for taking so many questions! I love the work you do with Kate Beaton so you are basically my dream agent. I'm a cartoonist and I recently submitted a work (Hug Me I'm a Sex Addict) to you via DropBox. So I guess my question is, is that a good way to reach you? Illustated works are large and difficult to send in any other manner. Is there a preferred way to recieve illustrated submissions? Should I send them snail mail?


Thanks, and congrats on The Well's End!


message 46: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Dougherty (goodreadscomvictoria_dougherty) | 13 comments Hi, Seth - thanks so much for your time and insights. My question is perhaps a bit complicated. Agent/author relationships often extend beyond a working relationship. Our agents can become our friends, our advocates, our sounding boards. But this can also have an impact on our ability to judge whether the relationship is working the way it should. Can you give us three signs that an agent/author relationship is going well (apart from the obvious - that books are being sold - and ok, that's probably a pretty good reason to stay the distance) and three that it's perhaps time to shake hands and go in separate directions?


message 47: by Seth (new)

Seth | 80 comments Krista wrote: "Hi Seth! Thanks so much for volunteering to help us or starving artists get a better understanding of the publishing world.

I am a brand new author, self published, that began my journey with a N..."


Krista, hi! First of all, whoever told you that is wrong, sorry to say. Or, rather, happy to say. I'd not get anywhere if I only took on established authors. I'll not deny that if you were published in more places that helps - it shows me you're serious, researched, and familiar with the market, but it isn't the end all be all.

My top three: Real creativity, strong writing, and good pace. Obvious? Maybe... but it's hard to get all that together.


message 48: by Seth (new)

Seth | 80 comments Lucy wrote: "Seth wrote: "Lucy wrote: "Thanks Seth and you are right the book is what matters most in the end.
But isn't it a bit strange to have to have a finished product in hand and query that to agents? I ..."


goodluck!


message 49: by Mark (new)

Mark All Hi Seth,

Books with paranormal elements are so popular in YA and SF/Fantasy, do you foresee this influencing mainstream fiction subject matter?


message 50: by Danika (new)

Danika Stone (DanikaStone) | 13 comments Hello Seth,
Thanks for joining us today. I wondered if you had any particular tips for preparing a manuscript before querying agents?
Cheers! Danika


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The Tiger's Wife (other topics)