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Author Topic: Do Agents Care About Success in Contests?  (Read 1350 times)
kes
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« on: March 13, 2013, 09:41:17 AM »

I just made the quarterfinals in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Contest - yay! - and Amazon editors have written up some pretty terrific reviews.  The downside is that the rights to my book are tied up until the end of the contest (or I get booted in the semi-finals next month).  Do I shout my reviews from the hills or would agents rather not hear from me until the rights are completely free?  What about the fulls I already have out - do I contact the agents to encourage them to read my MS or let sleeping dogs lie?  BTW, I've never posted before but you all have kept me company on many a long night.  Thanks to all who have shared their experience.
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Brooke0701
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2013, 12:20:08 PM »

Welcome, Kes! First off, congrats on making the quarterfinals, that's excellent!!! I took a gander at the contest rules, and here are my two cents to toss or spend as you please  Grin

It doesn't look like there is anything specifically barring you from seeking an agent during the contest period--just a clause preventing the novel from being actively shopped elsewhere. And for that reason, I wouldn't mention it upfront at this point. Once you have full rights back? Absolutely! It's a great accomplishment, but I would hate to see an agent give you a no on the basis that they might have to wait until the contest is over. Hundreds of queries a day means that pretty much anything can knock you out of the running. I'd say give an agent the opportunity to fall in love with your work with no caveats. Then, if they express further interest, you can always have a dialogue about proceeding when you have full rights returned to you.

There are many reasons for delays and lots of books are not sent out immediately after signing. If an agent is crazy about your book and wants to work with you, it might take until the end of the contest period just to polish it up for submission--you never know!

To err on the side of caution, here's what I would do: for any new full requests I'd attach a brief note that explains the situation; stress that you are definitely interested in representation, but you have a brief freeze on the rights to your work due to the contest. It's only for a short time, I don't see it as being a huge problem if the agent is already interested enough to ask for a full. For any outstanding material out now I think you can wait until you hear back. You don't want to push your ms to the bottom of the read pile.


Again, just my opinion. Best of luck to you in the contest AND on the agent hunt!  Thumbs Up
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bodwen
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2013, 01:29:26 PM »

No.  Don't mention a contest unless it was world famous and you took first prize.  Even then, if it carries a lot of weight, the agents will come to you. 

The anology I like to use is that you are applying to be a pastry chef in a five star restaurant, and contests are like bakeoffs.  If you are going to list it on your resume, it had better be impressive enough to blow their socks off. 

(To add some perspective:  I know of one bestselling novelist who was dropped by both his agent and publisher over slow sales of a novel that had won a Hugo award.)
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 01:31:13 PM by bodwen » Logged

Sarah Ahiers (Falen)
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« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2013, 02:27:11 PM »

Well, ABNA is pretty much world famous at this point and the quarter finals is pretty darn impressive so i say definitely include it on your query.

I mean, it wouldn't hurt to include a note to any agents you nudge who has your full. Are you currently querying? If so, throw it in. But i don't think you should rush out a bunch of brand new queries. The agents will wait and then you won't have to worry (unless you make the semi-finals, natch)
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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2013, 03:36:30 PM »

Haha, now for yet another dissenting opinion. Not only is ABNA not famous enough, imho, it's not that attractive to an agent because of the terms should you actually win the prize. There will be no negotiating. And I wouldn't rush to tell an agent (in a query) that if they're interested, there's a restriction on the manuscript. >.>
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raballard
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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2013, 03:45:32 PM »

Just saying, I have specificaly asked agents about the ABNA contest, each Agent said do not mention that in a query letter. I will admit I asked the question in 2009.
And as far as they were concerned winners get publishing deals and won't need an agent.
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Sarah Ahiers (Falen)
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2013, 09:13:40 AM »

Haha, now for yet another dissenting opinion. Not only is ABNA not famous enough, imho, it's not that attractive to an agent because of the terms should you actually win the prize. There will be no negotiating. And I wouldn't rush to tell an agent (in a query) that if they're interested, there's a restriction on the manuscript. >.>

I do think it's famous enough, judging by how many agents recognize it, but i do agree with the your other point. If you win, there's no negotiation to be made since the terms are set in stone, so it may be a turn off to some agents. BUT! That's only if you win. You have no obligations for making the quarter or semi-finals.  It's completely up to you if you want to include it in your query or not. I know someone who made the semi finals... two years ago i think, and she included it in her query and now has an agent. But on the same boat i know someone who made it into the quarter finals last year and it hasn't helped her land an agent. There's really no right or wrong answer, it's just what you're comfortable with
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Wordwise
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2013, 11:48:29 PM »

Awards might get you a quicker read, but acceptance will depend on the ms itself.
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Sarah Ahiers (Falen)
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2013, 03:11:35 PM »

Awards might get you a quicker read, but acceptance will depend on the ms itself.

THIS
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Wordwise
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2013, 10:15:45 AM »

Falen, does that mean you agree?  eek
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« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2013, 01:33:30 PM »

I'd almost forgotten about this thread but then I saw this agent lamenting on twitter just now. Just posting as an anecdotal example, of course. Not all agents feel the same.
https://twitter.com/petejknapp/status/342707167348011009
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« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2013, 02:31:33 PM »

just flagging this for a later read, since i can't access twitter on my work PC
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« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2013, 02:41:13 PM »

I saw that too, B. I think that agent was just warning writers that some contests bar agents from shopping a book around during the contest period. I.E. it may make it impossible to both be in the contest and seek an agent simultaneously.
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ImwithCoCo
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« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2013, 09:27:29 PM »

I'd almost forgotten about this thread but then I saw this agent lamenting on twitter just now. Just posting as an anecdotal example, of course. Not all agents feel the same.
https://twitter.com/petejknapp/status/342707167348011009

I saw this too, and agree with your initial statement.
Overall, I probably wouldn't mention it.
Oh man. I hate when I can't end a post with a fun emoticon. I'll just go with  Smiley  lol
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Wordwise
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« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2013, 11:06:10 AM »

dropped by both his agent and publisher over slow sales of a novel that had won a Hugo award.

Dropped by the publisher? As in, declared out of print?
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