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Ask Daphne! About my next project

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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