Author Topic: Why I Left My Mighty Agency and NY Publishers (For Now)  (Read 17913 times)

Offline violet

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Why I Left My Mighty Agency and NY Publishers (For Now)
« on: July 21, 2014, 04:19:43 PM »
Wasn't sure where to post this. Thought some people might be interested in this author's journey.

http://janefriedman.com/2014/07/21/i-left-my-agent/



farseer

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Re: Why I Left My Mighty Agency and NY Publishers (For Now)
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2014, 05:47:36 PM »
It's an eye opening read and unfortunately these stories keep coming out of the woodwork.

I know someone with an agent & large trad deal who is currently taking the agent to court. 2-3 years down the track she has never seen a single penny. Either the Big 5 publisher has never paid the agent or the agent has kept all the money and never passed it on to the author. Plus her book rights are tied up for decades. Sad thing is we all warned her, she self published one novel and did hugely successful and given her genre (contemp romance) she could have been highly successful on her own, but she wanted the validation of an agent/trad deal (which has caused her more grief and now a court case)  :sad2:

dannymctx

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Re: Why I Left My Mighty Agency and NY Publishers (For Now)
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2014, 11:00:50 PM »
VERY interesting article.  Thanks for sharing!

Offline violet

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Re: Why I Left My Mighty Agency and NY Publishers (For Now)
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2014, 11:49:10 PM »
Farseer, yeah, it's all too common, unfortunately.

And can you believe the end of this article, what the agent tried to pull? SMH. I'm glad people like this are stepping forward. We need to make informed decisions, not one-sided decisions based on writers being too terrified to speak the truth. 

Offline Tabris

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Re: Why I Left My Mighty Agency and NY Publishers (For Now)
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2014, 06:52:03 AM »
The minute I started seriously considering self-publishing, I told my agent I wanted to rewrite our contract to exclude self-published works. She was willing to do so, and her agency head was fine with that. It's not all agents that would fleece a writer, but yes, we do need to be careful.

Offline KimE

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Re: Why I Left My Mighty Agency and NY Publishers (For Now)
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2014, 07:54:33 AM »
very interesting. thanks for posting. I'm re thinking whether to query anything in the future based on stories like these
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farseer

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Re: Why I Left My Mighty Agency and NY Publishers (For Now)
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2014, 01:58:56 PM »
What saddens me is its the second time this week I have heard of an agent demanding 15% of revenue from self published titles  :sad2:


Offline violet

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Re: Why I Left My Mighty Agency and NY Publishers (For Now)
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2014, 02:20:41 PM »
I think, like in all industries, there are good people and bad. Good agents exist, bad ones do too.

Flagirl, I wouldn't let it deter you. It's just good to stay informed, to know the realities of this business. There's so much, "Hey, if JKR can do it, I can too!" People think that being trade pubbed is going to be problem-free. It's starry-eyed and unrealistic. Now, that being said, there are plenty of problems that crop up when going in any direction. I have friends who haven't received payment from the Big 5, and friends who have experienced this with small publishers as well.

This business is changing at lightning speed, unlike even 5-6 years ago. So who knows what's ahead? I will say that small pubs are the new mid-list, and that's where 95% of most authors fall--mid-list.

Offline Pandean

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Re: Why I Left My Mighty Agency and NY Publishers (For Now)
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2014, 02:26:25 PM »
I'm glad it worked out for her. She was in a pretty tough position and made it all work out. The part where the agent asked for commision for stuff she wasn't even helping with bugged me. It makes me mad, honestly, that people are like this in the business world. But I guess that's what happens. Dishonest people everywhere.

I recently saw someone I'm aquainted with on Twitter sign with an agent who has a really bad history with repping things (as of December 2013 on AW) and I don't really know if I should say anything...or yeah.

I'm glad it all worked out okay for the person in this article though. I think it was a good thing her genre was something that works well in self-pub. I've already heard that romances and things like that work a lot better self-pubbing than, say, YA.

But yeah. This was a good article. Lot to think about.
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Offline bodwen

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Re: Why I Left My Mighty Agency and NY Publishers (For Now)
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2014, 02:36:07 PM »
What saddens me is its the second time this week I have heard of an agent demanding 15% of revenue from self published titles  :sad2:

I can see this if the agent has done extensive edits, or has access to special resources that the author can use in marketing. 

But wanting 15% of everything past present and future, and demanding amazon only, and that all revenues get filtered through the agency before the author sees a dime? 

No.  The whole advantage of SP is you are able to set your own price, run your own promotions, and provide freebees at your whim.  Putting an agent in the loop just makes things messy.

Offline Tabris

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Re: Why I Left My Mighty Agency and NY Publishers (For Now)
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2014, 02:42:12 PM »
What saddens me is its the second time this week I have heard of an agent demanding 15% of revenue from self published titles  :sad2:

I can see this if the agent has done extensive edits, or has access to special resources that the author can use in marketing. 


This bothers me a bit. My agent did edits and proofreading on two manuscripts that ultimately didn't sell to the big 5 publishers. If I go on to self-publish those, technically she's not entitled to 15%. But if I offered to pay her, I think ethically, she isn't allowed to take money from me for proofreading or developmental editing.

Now yes, it's true she knows she gets paid on commission and only gets paid if the work sells. But in the case of those two books, the situation still doesn't seem fair.

(For other books, ones she hasn't touched because we knew there was no commercial appeal, I have no problem with no commission.)
« Last Edit: July 22, 2014, 06:10:00 PM by Tabris »

farseer

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Re: Why I Left My Mighty Agency and NY Publishers (For Now)
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2014, 04:28:59 PM »
I have a friend who is a successful indie. She was approached by a Big 5 to buy paperback rights to one of her best selling titles. She engaged a top NY agent to negotiate that specific deal. Agent takes her cut of that lucrative deal then (in addition) demanded 15% of revenue from all her titles she would self publish while under contract to the agent for the other deal. Agent wasn't doing any work, the titles won't be shopped, friend self publishes entirely independent. Agent wanted 15% for doing nothing...

I know of someone else with an agent/trad deal who two years later after her book published still hasn't seen a dime. She is in the process of taking her agent to court.

Personally I think the big issue is that when there are bumps in the road authors go completely silent. Newbies starting out never hear about the potential problems and assume the agent/trad deal route is paved in gold. And problems  exist in all spheres, you only have to listen to the horror stories of authors signed with small presses that go under and take all their royalties and rights with them.

Offline Sarah Ahiers (Falen)

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Re: Why I Left My Mighty Agency and NY Publishers (For Now)
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2014, 08:23:53 AM »
Personally I think the big issue is that when there are bumps in the road authors go completely silent. Newbies starting out never hear about the potential problems and assume the agent/trad deal route is paved in gold. And problems  exist in all spheres, you only have to listen to the horror stories of authors signed with small presses that go under and take all their royalties and rights with them.

Really? I hear stories all the time, and certainly when i considered myself a newb. I mean, AW forum is practically dripping in that kind of info.
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Offline bodwen

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Re: Why I Left My Mighty Agency and NY Publishers (For Now)
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2014, 10:21:59 AM »
People are relucant to say anything critical of their agents, since when they do, they are dogpiled on. 

Look at the response to AgentFail vs. QueryFail.  The majority of industry people reading QueryFail said "I fail to see anything wrong with this."  Not so with AgentFail.  Even when the beef was a serious and legitamate one (like withholding royalties or shopping a manuscript before offering representation) it received a collective gasp of outrage on the behalf poor maligned agents. Agents felt it was bullying. Fellow writers came back with "I hope airing your dirty laundry was worth ruining you career over."

Plus when all you see are tales of overnight success, it's shameful when things don't work out the way you hoped they would.

I suppose people are more vocal now that traditional publishing isn't the only game in town.


Offline Sarah Ahiers (Falen)

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Re: Why I Left My Mighty Agency and NY Publishers (For Now)
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2014, 10:32:00 AM »
maybe i just wasn't afraid to ask people about why they left their agents and junk.

I suppose if i broke up with my agent, i wouldn't publicize it, but if people asked me personally i'd probably tell them
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