Industry Question: Literary Agents

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angeldevil
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Industry Question: Literary Agents

Post by angeldevil » Tue Aug 28, 2007 10:18 am

So, um, Literary agents for marketing and stuff... do many folks in comics use them for publishing? Is this a new fad? I mean, Lit agents picking up graphic novels, I know lit agents have been doing this for writers for forever...

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Post by William Ward » Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:29 am

It is really not that common (and sometimes frowned upon) to use an agent with traditional comic publishers (DC, Image, Ect. ect.). However I believe the book publisher working with Graphic Novels in many cases require it, but not all the time.

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Post by angeldevil » Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:43 am

I have a friend who is a YA Lit editor, she says basically if an agent doesn't bring a publishing company a manuscript then the manuscript goes in the bin. They don't even glance at it. Interesting to know that regular comic book publishers don't deal with agents at all on principal. I wasn't aware of that.

Honestly, having a Literary Agent show interest in my Graphic Novel project was as big a surprise to me as anything, but I'm told comics are the "hot thing" this season (like flipflopps with your Armani). The world of book publishing isn't something I've dabbled in, so I figured I'd go fishing for info here...?

Thanks for your input WW.

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Post by Mac McCool » Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:25 pm

angeldevil wrote:I have a friend who is a YA Lit editor, she says basically if an agent doesn't bring a publishing company a manuscript then the manuscript goes in the bin.
No, it would go in the "slush pile," but with GN's being in such demand with traditional publishers, it would actually have a decent chance at getting fair consideration.
angeldevil wrote:Interesting to know that regular comic book publishers don't deal with agents at all on principle.
That's fairly true. They have a different tradition of doing business that's very different from "regular" publishing.
angeldevil wrote:Honestly, having a Literary Agent show interest in my Graphic Novel project was as big a surprise to me as anything, but I'm told comics are the "hot thing" this season (like flipflopps with your Armani). The world of book publishing isn't something I've dabbled in, so I figured I'd go fishing for info here...?
This is a real trend! So yes, it's a good idea to investigate trade publishing practices to maximize your chances. Good luck!

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Post by angeldevil » Mon Sep 17, 2007 7:16 pm

Mac, thanks for your input!


Just to update, I guess I'm about to find out all sorts of things when it comes to lit agents selling a graphic novel... I'm signing my book with an agency later this week it seems. I don't know if anyone here is interested, but I'll be happy to chat about it if they are.

Gah, this is new territory for me!

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Post by dart32 » Thu Oct 04, 2007 10:38 am

I have a YA graphic novel and I'm ready to start looking for an agent as well. I've got the pitch, finished samples and finished pencils for the first half of the book (second half is penciled as well but I've got a few weeks of revisions).

Did you meet your agent at a convention, through your site or therough a queery letter? I was thinking about going to SPX and seeing if any were around. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

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Post by Kazu » Sun Oct 07, 2007 12:50 am

I dunno if this is helpful, but I had a deal on the table from a couple of major publishers before I had an agent. If you focus on just doing good work, and show that you can deliver the product, then everything else will fall into place naturally. I created an entire graphic novel for no money (Daisy Kutter) before I sought a big publisher for the next one (Amulet), but it was important in that it served as a proof-of-concept for the publishers and I also got the training necessary to tackle the next book. It was a good exercise all around. I recommend to just go ahead and do a book, and then worry about publication when it comes time to cross that bridge. I even told my potential publishers that I would find a way to do my book with or without them.

Also, when it does come time to choose an agent, just remember that it's like choosing a family member. Judy, my literary agent, and Nick, my film agent, are family to me. You'll have to work very, very closely with your agent, and remember that when they go out to publishers or studios your agent IS YOU as far as they're concerned. So, it's imperative that you and your agent get along and share a lot of the same sentiments and goals.

I actually left a film agency a few years ago when I realized that I didn't share their philosophies when it came to the business. I left without knowing I'll ever get another agent, but knowing full well that I didn't want them representing me as a person. Looking back on my decision to leave, I feel that it was one of the best things I ever did. When I talked to my current agents for the first time, I knew at once that we were on the same page and that I was going to work with them. My working relationship with Judy and Nick has so far been absolutely wonderful. I don't know what I would do without them.

So, if you get bad vibes from your potential agent, or you just don't gel as friends, it's best to go with your gut feeling and walk away until you find someone who suits you. Otherwise, things can get ugly (a lot like ending a bad boyfriend-girlfriend relationship). Also, if you do find a great person to work with and things just don't work out on the business side of things, at least you made a new friend! Heheh. In short, think about things on the people-to-people level, not the industry-wide level.

Well, I hope this info helps somehow. Good luck finding the right agent for you! :D
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Post by Mac McCool » Sun Oct 07, 2007 5:54 pm

Thanks for the solid insight, Kazu!

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Post by dart32 » Mon Oct 08, 2007 7:29 am

Excellent post Kazu.

I think I'm going to start looking for an agent and see what happens. I figure that I have plenty of the book to show right now along with finished samples. If I can get someone interested then that's great, if not then I'll take the rest to finish and look for a publisher.

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Post by jdalton » Fri Oct 12, 2007 7:28 pm

Kazu wrote:I dunno if this is helpful, but I had a deal on the table from a couple of major publishers before I had an agent. If you focus on just doing good work, and show that you can deliver the product, then everything else will fall into place naturally. I created an entire graphic novel for no money (Daisy Kutter) before I sought a big publisher for the next one (Amulet), but it was important in that it served as a proof-of-concept for the publishers and I also got the training necessary to tackle the next book. It was a good exercise all around. I recommend to just go ahead and do a book, and then worry about publication when it comes time to cross that bridge. I even told my potential publishers that I would find a way to do my book with or without them.
Huh. Cool. I think you just helped me get one step closer to deciding how to spend most of 2008.
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Post by thirdeyeh » Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:26 pm

Kazu wrote:I dunno if this is helpful, but I had a deal on the table from a couple of major publishers before I had an agent. If you focus on just doing good work, and show that you can deliver the product, then everything else will fall into place naturally. I created an entire graphic novel for no money (Daisy Kutter) before I sought a big publisher for the next one (Amulet), but it was important in that it served as a proof-of-concept for the publishers and I also got the training necessary to tackle the next book. It was a good exercise all around. I recommend to just go ahead and do a book, and then worry about publication when it comes time to cross that bridge. I even told my potential publishers that I would find a way to do my book with or without them.
Do you mean that you finished all of Daisy Kutter and then shopped it around to some publishers? Or was it something where you submitted the first chapter to some places to see what kind of response it got?
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Post by Kazu » Tue Nov 13, 2007 2:39 pm

The Viper guys contacted me out of the blue about publishing a book, and I actually made no money up front on the Daisy Kutter deal. I just worked with Viper Comics because I thought they were nice guys with a great eye for design. And frankly, I was totally surprised that someone would want to print it as a comic. And to be even more honest, I foolishly created that graphic novel with the intention of just selling the film rights to make it worth my while. Things worked out differently, and here I am inadvertently making graphic novels for a living. :)
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Post by angeldevil » Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:31 am

Oops, I guess I've been MIA for a bit...

Dart 23 -- The agent and I met through a mutual friend. I'm not a great networker, so even if I went to more conventions, I doubt I'd meet anyone at one. Ha ha. YA stuff is a big deal right now, and there are a lot of people looking for it. The first thing my agent mentioned was Scholastic and their new tween line (but my story is kind of violent, I don't see that being an option right now). The last con I went to I did see a lot of non-comic publishers with booths, so if you have questions you might want to go to a big show like SDCC or NYCC and ask the nice folks at the Del Ray booth. I wish I had thought of that last February, but I bet I would have chickened out (deathly shy). The other way to go is to just make friends! Live Journal is FULL of editors and YA folks, seriously, everyone is there!

Kazu -- Thanks for your experience on this. I was doing my comic just to do it, with no expectation of it going anywhere, I think that's as good a reason to write/draw as any. I agree that having agents/editors that you feel comfortable with is a big deal. I wouldn't be able to work any other way. I'm not sure yet how I feel about my agent (Amy) and her boss (Peter, he is overseeing this as it's her first graphic novel pitch) but what little interaction I've had with them has been positive. Anyway it's only for a year and if things don't work out I can go elsewhere I guess.

So here is where we are at so far: I signed with the agent, spent a month learning to write a proposal (research this in advance guys, or sweet talk someone into doing it for you, that part almost ended it for me) submitted said proposal and a treatment of the actual book (it's up to 60 pages now) and now I'm waiting for all the holidays to end so we can get to the knitty gritty of selling the thing... I have no idea what that will entail, but I bet it will require me to wear something nicer then Track Pants (ah working from home!).[/i]

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