Ask Daphne! About my next project

February 3rd, 2009 • Kate

Lily contacted me on Facebook to ask:

If one is lucky enough to snag an agent, what is the etiquette on pitching new books? Do you send in a normal query and assume you’ll be given a little more leeway than non-clients? And, from an agent’s point of view, do you feel pressured to take on a novel you normally wouldn’t because a client wrote it?

Thanks for the question, Lily! For the most part, when I sign a client, I may already have a sense of other projects that they’ve been working on besides the one I’m signing. With Kiki Hamilton, for instance, she actually contacted me on a more traditional fantasy novel, then told me about her historical urban fantasy. I ended up signing both at once, and went out first with the second manuscript. With other clients, when we talk about one project and my offer of representation, we also chat about other things they’re working on.
Basically, I’m hoping to not just sign a client for a single book, but for their whole career.
So, etiquette-wise, say I’ve sold Book #1 for Client J, and it was a one-book deal. There’s likely going to be some revising the author will need to do for the editor and publisher, but afterwards (or concurrent with), we’re likely to chat about what else Client J is working on, and where she may want to focus her energy next. To take another recent example, Trish Doller just turned in a draft of My Way or The Highway to her new editor, and followed up with a list of no less than 7 projects she had percolating. We talked about each of them, and I helped (I hope!) steer her towards the two that I thought would make the best follow-ups to her debut.
I don’t like to think I’m pressured to take on a book just because a client wrote it, but if I thought it weren’t up to snuff, I might work more diligently with the author on revising it before sending it out. Then again, if your first book was a black-patent leather kind of pump, and your next project was more akin to the paisley wedges pictured above, we might have a serious talk about what direction you want for your career.
Hope that helps!

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6 Responses to “Ask Daphne! About my next project”

  1. jeanoram Says:

    Whew! I had a little moment there. For a second I thought I had to query every novel and that an author-agent agreement wasn't what I thought it was. But you explained it all which is what I had previously assumed, so basically my heart rate back to normal. Whew, though!

  2. Trish Doller Says:

    jeanoram, while you don't have to query every novel to your agent, you certainly want to know that she thinks you've got something worth pursuing. You should feel every bit as passionate about your NEXT book as you did about your first, but I'd hate to pour my heart into a project that isn't working.
    And, Kate, I'm really bummed you nixed the project about the teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire and whose best friend is a werewolf. I was sure that idea would be a blockbuster. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Stina Says:

    I would have loved to read that vampire book as well. It sounded like such an original idea. They could have even made it into a movie ;0)

  4. Don Lily Says:

    Hey Daphne! Thanks for answering my question. That clears things up a lot!

  5. chocolateinspir Says:

    Trish, you crack me up!
    And Kate, I like how you work with your clients. This is just another reason why having an agent is so needed, to steer your writers in the right direction.

  6. Kathy Says:

    I'm almost ready to begin sending out my first MG novel. I've got four more drafted using the same characters as they age over the years.
    I don't hear other characters talking to me, so these are the ones I've worked with.
    Is this going to be a problem with an agent or a career?