To agent, or not to agent—that is the question

So, I’ve been waiting months to hear back from a publisher I queried for my first novel, The Glass Man.  On average, their wait time is two-hundred and forty days, and they don’t allow simultaneous submissions.  That’s a long time to wait if the response is a rejection, but I waited anyway like a good little author.

By chance, I happened across a thread on my favourite writing site last night that listed a website called Predators and Editors.

It lists every Publisher and most agents, along with known issues and detailed information about their shortcomings. Apparently the publisher I’d been querying has a habit of publishing books without rights from the author to do so, often didn’t pay royalties due, and their contract is subpar compared to others in the industry.

I take everything I read with a grain of salt, but as a newbie to the publishing world, this startled and frightened me.

What do I know about publishing contracts?

How do I know if I’m getting screwed?

I guess that’s where an agent comes in, but then I think about the percentage they’ll take off the small amount I’ll earn. Is an agent worth the money they take off the top of my hard earned dollars?

I intend to find out.  In the meantime, I’ve pulled my submission from my original publisher and sent it to another with a better reputation and contract. Their suggested return time is 6-8 weeks. That length of time I can deal with happily, and I feel more confident going in with at least a little education about their reputation in the industry.

As for whether or not I’ll pursue an agent–I’ll let you know.

3 thoughts on “To agent, or not to agent—that is the question

  1. Ooooh the cunundrum. You know, Little White Lies is out with a publisher and they have exactly 3 days to answer me or I’m going it alone. 🙂 Even if they take it, I may pull it anyway. The thought of making 70% on ebook stuff alone has me wanting complete control. I will, however, if I do go the agentless-publisherless route, do all the due diligence (editor, etc) on the book like the publishers would do … I just won’t have as big an audience to start with. 🙂

  2. Good for you for researching and pulling back. If I ever finish my novel, I have a publisher in mind for it. If worse comes to worse, I have no problem ePublishing it. I really think eBooks are the future.

  3. PredEd is an excellent resource, which should be in every writers toolbox. I never submit without first checking on there. And I totally get the issue over forking out for an agent. But those who know next to nothing about the industry are afraid to take matters into their own hands on the publishing front. I’m fortunate enough to have a writer buddy who understands the industry and never minds giving advice when I nag with a query–she’s also the first person I’ll get to read the contract that’s currently being drawn up by a publisher who wants my novella (yes, they’re legit–voted number 1 on PredEd). If she tells me the contract is naff, I trust her enough to believe her.

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