Friday, March 19, 2010

(Writing) Mysteries of the Deep

funny pictures of cats with captions

Diva dog is back home from the big snip. There's a teeny weeny L incision on her tummy which the vet glued shut. Oh mama, she was sooo happy to be home. Once she was in the house, we had to take turns holding her and sitting with her on the floor to keep her from jumping around and wiggling too much.

We've isolated her in the master bedroom by baby-gate, and put her food and water dishes in here. She's on her doggy bed with a towel so she can scratch it around and bundle it up the way she likes. I moved my laptop in her so I can keep her company, too. I'm catching up on movie watching while I work. Basically, playing vids for noise. I've pretty much got to be a the theater for a movie to keep my attention these days. Right now I've got Paranormal Activity going.

I finished my editing vampire story last night. W00t! I'm about to do the final read through before shipping it off to my critique partner. The word count basically doubled on me while editing, but I'm still well within the allowed limit.

Oh! Last night I hung around for #askagent on Twitter. Tweets were flying by so fast, I could barely keep up. I asked a general question last night, and I kinda sorta got the answer I was looking for. It's not 100%, but I'm going to share what I have so hang on to your hat.

I can't count the number of times I've been asked over the past few years, but at the Shreveport conference a couple of weeks ago, I was asked 3 times, by 3 different people.

Before and after the editor and agent pitch sessions, I was asked if we pitch to an editor, submit our work, and they offer us a contract - what do you do if you don't have an agent?

My answer: Hm... I'm not really sure.

Great answer, right? Yeah, I did't think so.

Some people pitch to editors first, and I know two authors off hand who got book deals before they signed with an agent. I don't know them well enough to ask for intimate details, however. The point is, I know it does happen. Still, I don't know exactly how to proceed after an offer like that.

Now, I'm sure no one would actually tell an editor "no", or "you'll have to wait for my answer" if they are unagented and offered a contract. That kind of defeats the purpose of submitting, right? I assume you'd tell the editor, "Yes, I'm going to sign with you, but first I need to find an agent because I have no idea what I'm looking at when faced with the contract." You then proceed to query agents, mentioning your book deal and hoping one will take you on. Ideally, I would HOPE that the editor may even

Again, that is my assumption. And you know the saying about assumptions...

What I've learned (so far):

Trying to get to the bottom of this mystery (so I can fill in the blanks should anyone ask me again - and I'm 100% sure the question will crop up again)I did an #askagent, and this was my question : How should an author approach an agent if they have a book deal on the table?

My response came from Colleen Lindsay, who replied:

@corazane Make sure its a deal worth our time. Ebook deals, a lot of small presses, low $$$ - we probably won't be interested. #askagent

Good info to know on the small press deal. Still not sure on the "how to proceed" issue, but this is good for starters. It brings me back to the above theory as the most sound answer. If you do have an editor that says "yes" just tell them you'll need help negotiating the contract, and start querying.

Of course, anyone who does have the actual answer to this question, feel free to leave a comment. Inquiring minds want to know.

That's all for now. I've got to get this story out to my CP today. Enjoy your weekend, folks. Happy Friday!


  1. If it is a small house that's offering the contract, you can also hire a literary attorney. That's what I did for my Samhain contract. They'll look over the contract for you and make suggestions as to what to accept/not accept. Then you can decide if you want to do any negotiations yourself or hire them for an additional fee to do the negotiations for you. (I negotiated myself--the literary attorney I hired had worked with Samhain before and knew what they would change and what they wouldn't/couldn't. But you can hire them for a big publisher too. (Although if it was NY publisher, I'd definitely be querying agents saying you had an offer on the table. They may take you on for just that deal, or they might not, but it's going to get their attention one way or another.)

  2. I didn't even think about a literary attorney, Leah, but that is definitely an option I'll start mentioning when people ask me "the question".

    Incidentally, someone on twitter pointed me to a post where Neil Gaiman touched on literary agents on his SU Journal. So there's one more piece to add to the puzzle:


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