Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Q & A 53 Agent for small press?


If my novel gets accepted by a small press, would it be an insult to the editor if I got an agent to help with the contract? I simply do not have '"contract brain cells." Would an agent even want to deal with an author on a contract for a small press, as there is typically so little money involved?

An insult? No. A surprise? Yes. I doubt an agent will be interested in 15% of your take on this book, so you'll have to convince him that taking you on will be lucrative in the long run. Which means he'll have to read your book. And if he doesn't like it, you're back to square one. (On the other hand, if he loves it, he may tell you he can get you a $30,000 advance from a major publisher.)

It would be faster to have someone to look over the contract for a fee, a lawyer, for instance. Agent or lawyer, you might end up spending as much as you'll make. Consider finding a sample contract online. There are some model contracts at http://sfwa.org/contracts/. And other places. Compare your contract to these. If you find a major discrepancy, ask Miss Snark if you're getting shafted. Tell her Evil Editor sent you--that way there's no chance she'll call you a nitwit.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a remarkable resource we have, the loose association and cooperation of Evil and Snark...

Anonymous said...

This is a remarkable resource we have, the loose association and cooperation of Evil and Snark...

Maybe, but wouldn't you pay to watch them fight?

-Like the word ver says: I'm Ctce.

Anonymous said...

Now if only the two of them would get together and have a love-child. I've offered to join in to facilitate matters, but thus far...

Anonymous said...

I wonder if EE and MS would recoginze each other (as being EE and MS) at a conference? Are they part of the select group that knows who they really are? Or is that like wondering if Batman knows Superman's day job?

Anonymous said...

Dear EE,

When we ask Miss Snark questions, we expect to be called nitwits. That's half the fun.

From a No-shame Snarkling and EE Minion.

Anonymous said...

Come to think of it, have you ever seen MS and EE in the same place at the same time? Hmmm ...

Anonymous said...

Asker,

Find a lawyer who specializes in publishing; a regular contract lawyer will tear a standard contract apart and make you look stupid.

I get excellent advice from a retired gentleman who donates his services because he enjoys his work. (And his wife wants him out of the house.)

Contact your chamber of commerce and ask about associations of retired professionals. I believe most towns have these associations. This is one context where "you get what you pay for" doesn't apply.

Don't sign anything you don't fully understand.

Best of luck!
-V

PJD said...

Has MS ever been seen in the same room as EE? Curious... Perhaps it's more like asking whether Bruce Wayne knows Batman's true identity...

tlh said...

Of course Batman knows Superman's day job. Didn't you see that crossover? Besides... Superman's disguise is a pair of glasses.

kgowigpb: keg'o'wigs (please buy); a better disguise than a pair of glasses.

Anonymous said...

have you ever seen MS and EE in the same place at the same time?

I'd pay to see EE in stilettos!

Robin L. said...

Hmm, I don't think anything makes you immune from the feared "nitwit" label over at miss snark's blog.

BUT I've seen this question over there and her blog is easily searchable. I'd look up her answer too. As I recall, she has said this is when you e-mail agents and the subject line should state that you have a contract and need an agent. It isn't an automatic that an agent will accept you, but it raises you out of the slush.

Good luck and congratulations on having a contract! Woo hoo!!

Stephen said...

In the UK the Society of Authors will run their eyes over a contract for free, if you are a member. Receiving the offer of a contract (from a bona fide publisher) is enough to qualify for membership.

I don't know whether the equivalent bodies in other countries offer a similar service.

Anonymous said...

I believe Author's Guild, in the U.S., will review contracts as well.

Anonymous said...

Collaboration of EE and Snark???

Next thing you know there will be dogs and cats living together!!!

Anonymous said...

Canadians can check out the Writers Union of Canada page. There's a reasonable fee for non-members.

http://www.writersunion.ca/shcp.html