Friday, July 01, 2005

Submitting Partials Versus Completes

Sasha said...
What about if an already published author has an unfinshed ms, but has editor interest from one house. Would you take that author on, and help them develop the ms and sell it to the "best " house, even if it isn't the one that has already shown interest in it?

If you like the authors voice, of course. I guess what I'm asking is would you consider taking on a published author based on the proposal of an unfinished ms?

We absolutely take on published authors and shop partials—and we’ve even (very rarely) shopped new fiction authors on proposal too. That’s a very risky proposition, though, and in no way am I endorsing authors shopping out a raft of unfinished manuscripts. That is truly annoying to the agents on the receiving end, because they want to read more—a finished book—and are then told something like, “Well, I wanted to see if there was a market for this before putting more time into it.” That always strikes me as short-cutting the system, and in a fairly tacky way. Is that just me? Maybe so, but I find it a bit angering when I hear it from prospective clients. It’s as if they don’t respect my time enough not to play coy, but respect their own enough to do whatever they want. NOT an impressive answer to your potential agent.

But with a published author—and this situation would depend on how that author is published—yes, we would shop on proposal, absolutely. If an author has only published through e-publishers, the list of credits and publications would need to be fairly extensive for that plan to work. Otherwise, for e-pubs with only a few books out, we’d need complete works to shop.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess everyone's out celebrating Canada Day but me. Another great explanation, Deidre. Despite that I'm an epubbed author myself, I agree with what you say. NYC can look shifty-eyed at the epubbed, so it's best to give 'em completes.

Now I gotta go wave the red, white and ain't got no blue! Happy fireworks, everyone! I just get mine three days early.

Try not to be jealous!


Friday, July 1, 2005 at 7:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

I'm very pro-epubs, don't get me wrong (not that you did--but others might), but it's just that I'm analyzing this from the likelihood of making a sale only. :) Just wanted to be sure nobody misread me as not thinking epubs are a great thing. Deidre

Friday, July 1, 2005 at 7:32:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I already knew that about you, Deidre, but thanks for the clarification, anyway, for the reasons you mentioned. A lot of agents ALSO look shifty-eyed at the epubbed, so it's great to hear when an agent realizes the pros.

Okay, so I haven't left for the Canada Day barbecue yet. You got me. But I am leaving soon!


Friday, July 1, 2005 at 7:38:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I totally understand where you're coming from. Even without being looked at shifty-eyed. E-publishing has come a long way, but there are still publishers who put out mediocre or even bad work, and most don't have huge sales records. You still need the quality of the work being pitched to know where on the continuum the author stands.

I imagine (I'm hoping, anyway) that some of the trappings of being e-published are just as important as the fact of it. Like getting 4-star reviews from RTBC? Winning published author contests? That kind of thing.

Saturday, July 2, 2005 at 9:21:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks For the detailed response, Deidre.

I was out enjoying Canada Day!! :)

And I completely understand the agents point about time and commitment to a novel.

You answered my question Clearly. Thanks again.

Sunday, July 3, 2005 at 11:57:00 PM EDT  

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