Saturday, January 26, 2013

Was I correct to accept a deal directly from a publisher?

"Hi, I have written my first 98,000 word novel and one fourth of the second novel in the series. I have now got offers from 4 publishers - one in England, and 3 in the US - with great reviews. These are not from agents; they are offers directly from publishers. I did not even have to look for long. Does that mean my book and series is good? Does it mean that I might make good money from my works? I have selected one of the American publishers in order to reach an American audience. "


Congratulations. This is most unusual. If the publishers who offered on your book are major, reputable publishers, such as Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, etc., then your book must certainly be very good. It is extremely unusual for this to happen to an author. Even when agents submit a novel, in most cases, they are lucky to just get a bid from one major publisher. So I would say that the signs are very positive.

If you have not yet signed a contract, one thing to keep in mind is that if three major publishers love your work so much, it is quite likely that even more will, too. The virtue of having an agent is that she can reach dozens of imprints that you may not be aware of – and that she has very good personal relationships with the acquiring editors. In situations where authors sell books directly to publishers, authors think that they're getting a great deal because they are saving an agent's commission. But in reality, the opposite is true: if the book is good enough to be sold without the help of an agent, then that usually indicates that an agent would have been able to get far more bids for the author, and have coordinated a wide auction – and used her leverage and negotiating skills to get the advance and royalties to be significantly higher. Not to mention that the agent would also negotiate a far better contract. 

So if you have not yet signed a contract, I would suggest your finding an agent and having her coordinate a massive submission and auction for you. 

Regardless of what happens, you must be very talented, and you have a bright future ahead of you. Congratulations.

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