On Friday’s Open Thread post, Mike asked:
Could you share about the process between author and agent for the second (and all subsequent) books after their initial polished manuscript was accepted for representation by the agent? Is there more bouncing ideas off one another? Do you want to stay out of the ms development until first draft is done or even final draft? Is the relationship as different as the individual authors and agents themselves? Curious to how the long term author/agent relationship evolves. Thanks.
Sure, Mike! Thanks for asking.
First of all, basically, yes, each relationship is different based on how each author wants to work. I may work differently with each of my authors, depending on how they work, and what they want. But here’s a rough idea of things.
Because I want to work with my authors for their careers, while we sign retainers for a specific book at first, there’s room in the kt literary author agreement to add subsequent titles. For the most part, though, new books don’t go on the retainer until we’re about to begin submissions. Before we get to that point, I’ll often talk to my authors about what new projects they’re working on. If they have several ideas percolating, I might ask to see a brief synopsis, and share my opinion about which one I might be most excited to read. That said, if one of my clients said they HAD to work on a novel about vampire mermaids, no matter what I thought of the idea, I would wait to read it before I made any final determination of quality.
Some clients don’t share their new novels with me until they have a complete draft, which I’m always excited to read. Sometimes, I’ll admit, it takes me a little longer to read a client’s new manuscript than it should — though I’m trying to be better with that. And that varies depending on where the author is in their career, too. If an author under contract is sending me her new novel before she sends it to her editor, then I know I have to get to it sooner, so I can give useful feedback. Whereas if an author was only contracted for one book, maybe, and the option clause says we have to wait until 3 months after publication before they’ll talk to us about a new deal, then I have a little more time before it’s a high priority. Which doesn’t mean it goes to the bottom of the pile — the fact is, my clients’ manuscripts will ALWAYS get a higher priority that partials or fulls that I request from authors.
Where an author is on submission, without a contract yet, chances are I’ve already asked them about what others novels they’re working on, so while I’m submitting Book #1, they’re off working on Book #2, and I will read that when they think it’s ready, and make a judgment call with them if we want to keep Book #1 on submission (if it hasn’t sold yet), switch to Book #2, or talk about if maybe the next novel is going to be the one that sells.
Basically, it’s about communication. I base my relationship with my authors on what they want from me, and hope that I’m providing it.
Does that answer your question, Mike? Any follow-ups from other readers? Oh, and how do you guys like the new commenting system?