Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's a Secret

I know you love your agent blogs. But have you seen this one? It's at the Absolute Write Water Cooler, so *technically* it isn't a blog, but it's not like she's up to much that's different from what happens here. And agent extraordinaire Laughran has been answering pages and pages of questions. Have fun in the previous pages.

8 comments:

nw said...

Jennifer Laughran is the coolest agent ever. Ever, ever.

Kim Kasch said...

Oh I love getting FREE advice from professionals 'cuz I can use all the help I can get. Thanks for the directions.

Anonymous said...

She gets these every single day: "Totally boring ordinary average kid with boring hair and boring clothes and a boring name on a boring street, nothing at all special about them, [finds an amulet / meets a demon / develops superhero powers]... get ready, cause this is going to be the WEIRDEST day ever!"

I totally wrote that. Gr.

Ginger*:) said...

Thank you for this and all the other links and great advice. It all applies to illustrators as well, so I visit here often *:)

Jm Diaz said...

I needed the laugh today. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

This is for my dear Literaticat.

I read your wonderful answers, thank you so much!

I am an author/illustrator who has sent my dummy material directly to art departments thru contacts at conferences. I have been at this for YEARS and most houses have my art samples on file. I got into Rutgers with my manuscript the first time I submitted (felt good at the time). I have been told me writing is strong. ADs seem to love my specific art pieces and have asked for drop-offs, and tell me what they want and I have sent them packages.

I have queried a few agents only to get nice "nos" but they don't see the dummies (never ask for them) which are hugely relevant. The ADs do. I don't think that the time spent on manuscripts and writing will warrant them enough immediate cash, and that they can't tell which editors would really like both of my skills. Although long term that could be another story.

The editors I've asked ALL ask for dummies but the agents DON'T. And therefore they don't "get it".

But my question is this: You say that once you get an offer not to go back to agents who originally said "no" (even tho they never saw the dummies). ...because they said "No".

And then you say to query others when you get a deal. How do we know that these "others" really like our work or not...or are they just seizing the opportunity?

love ya...just confused :)

This is why after nearly a decade I don't know what to do anymore..I try to remain optimistic but the game is different for us writer/illustrators... and nobody can help. Nobody.

Literaticat said...

But my question is this: You say that once you get an offer not to go back to agents who originally said "no" (even tho they never saw the dummies). ...because they said "No".

I presume you have an online portfolio? If you have an online portfolio, and you are querying agents with manuscripts and links to your online portfolio (or manuscripts and sample illustrations) that should be enough for them to either request more material (ie, then they'd see the whole dummy), or conclude that your style is not right for them.

You are quite correct that this is not a perfect system. Still, I think that I can tell a lot about an illustrator (for example, the key question: do I like their illustrations?) by looking at their portfolio or samples, even if I don't see the whole dummy. So yes, I think that if an agent declines you might as well cross them off the list, at least with that manuscript.

And then you say to query others when you get a deal. How do we know that these "others" really like our work or not...or are they just seizing the opportunity?

You don't KNOW, I guess. You HOPE that you are querying a scrupulous agent. I personally only take on clients whose work that I like, even if it is a "bird in hand" situation, and I think most agents probably feel the same, since we have to work with you for far longer than just this one book.

You might consider taking the deal and having a literary attorney take a peek at the contract, then querying agents. The picture book market is so uncertain, and so saturated, that agents are skittish about taking on brand-new picture book clients - you might get more takers if you've already got pb publication credits.

Anonymous said...

Thanks!!