Author photos taken by Robert Abrams in Paris, France.

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY - Rebecca Buckley's Blog
Welcome to my blog. Here I'll talk about almost anything. Depends on the mood of the day. I'll also talk about publishing, writing techniques, and editing ... subjects close to my heart. So today, anytime you feel like it, feel free to jump in ... click on the COMMENTS link at the end of a post and give your opinion. If you sign in "anonymous" to comment, it's easier, just be sure you say who you are in the content of your comment.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Continuing on about agents ...

"The large and well-known publishing houses deal almost exclusively with agents, and many simply will not look at a proposal that is not submitted by an agent."

In doing research pertaining to agents, publishers, and unknown authors, I've found some interesting information.

First of all, one of the editor's (at the publishing house) main jobs is keeping in touch with his select group of agents and letting them know what kind of books he wants.  And on the flip side, the agent continually communicates with his list of publishers. 

Large publishing houses will not accept queries or manuscripts directly from the author, they will only talk to an agent.  So regardless ... whether you're a brand new author or otherwise, those publishing houses have to contacted through your agent.  Unless you've written a romance novel.  Most romance novel publishing houses will take queries directly from authors.

And if your manuscript is not sold on the first round, for it must go through a committee of sorts, it could later be dug from the slush pile and reconsidered for purchase and/or publishing.  But of course you wouldn't wait around for that to happen, submit elsewhere in the meantime.

"Ideally, a good agent will help you put the final polish on your proposal, and will get it directly to the editors and publishers most likely to buy your kind of book and most likely to publish such a book successfully."

And then there is always this to consider:

"Many of the best publishers in the business are independent small and mid-sized houses spread throughout the country. These houses are often much more accustomed, and much more amenable, to doing business with unpublished authors. They are often the companies that thrive on finding and nurturing new authors."

A relatively new phonomenon is the eBook and it's here to stay - just take a look at all the new eReaders that are on the market.  Most publishers - from small independents to major houses - are offering eBook versions of their list of books in addition to mass and trade paper and hardcover.  They are covering all the bases by doing so.  For instance, if trade paper sales are slow, maybe eBook sales are up and vice versa.  They're finding that eBook sales supplement the overall picture.  And they are also offering the POD process of their books in some circumstances.  POD - Print on Demand (not to be confused with publish on demand - self publish or vanity houses).  POD is especially to their advantage for short runs.  No sense in investing and  stocking books in their warehouses, when they can print on demand as the book sells.
So ... again, you'll know if it's time to get an agent to shop your books to a major publisher.   But if you go with a small to mid-sized independent publisher, you can submit your queries yourself.  Unless you just don't want to deal with it.  And I don't blame you if you feel that way, so do I.   Although, remember ... your agent gets 15% of your royalties ... but if that doesn't matter to you, than go for it!
Note: quotes are taken from


When is the right time to find an agent?  Is there a right time, or should a writer seek out that one special agent-person who will shop and sell his works from the get go?

I don't really have an answer for that one, but I notice that the writers who do go for the agent seem to have less difficulty in finding a publisher who might be interested in their work.  It makes sense to me that an agent would be an asset to a writer. I mean ... it would certainly free up time the writer would spend looking for a publisher, having to send out queries and all that goes along with it.

As a publisher, I receive queries from agents and writers on a daily basis.  I notice the queries from agents consist more of the information I want to see, moreso than the queries from the writers. Of course most agents are professionals and make their living from the polished queries they send out.  The more interesting they make them, the higher the chances that publishers will bite.

So as a writer ... I'm putting on my writer hat now ... as a writer, I'm considering finding an agent. My time is becoming more and more scarce, taken up with writing, editing, and publishing, so there is no time to shop my own books, plays, and screenplays ... IF (big if) that's the route I want to take now.  First, I'm thinking that I'd like to seek out a major publisher for my next novel, which will be a departure from the "Rachel O'Neill" novels, my "Midnight" novels.  Second, my stage and screen plays are just sitting here.  What good is that? 

So, in answer to my own question - AGENT OR NOT? - I guess one knows if and when it's the right time. 

After publishing five books and three stageplays, as well as three screenplays ... I'm thinking NOW is the right time for me.  (I'm writing my sixth book and another stageplay as we speak.)