Looking for some Agent help...

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hai
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Looking for some Agent help...

Post by hai » Tue Aug 30, 2005 4:01 pm

I'm kind of wondering if you guys have any tips on how to get or how to approach agents regarding comic art (especially graphic novels) representation.

I've already published a 150+ page manga gn and I'm working on the 2nd volume at the moment. However, I'm hoping to start the illustrations for a non-manga story I've been working on for a while and I'd like to get it published by a different company. So I'm kind of thinking that maybe I'll need an agent to help me in this case.

I really would appreciate any insight you guys may provide.
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hope
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Post by hope » Tue Aug 30, 2005 5:35 pm

I really don't think you need an agent unless you're trying to jump to a book publisher rather than a comics publisher.

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hai
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Post by hai » Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:00 pm

oops, I forgot to mention that I'm aiming for a book publisher for this one. I've already made the initial contact and they're waiting to see my pitch.
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Dan Santat
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Post by Dan Santat » Wed Aug 31, 2005 3:51 pm

Don't sweat the agent man. Most book publishers are pretty fair and a lit agent is gonna end up cutting 15 to 25% of what you're being offered and they seriously do nothing except bring the contract to you. BUT, if you want an agent I guess the best course f action is to find anillustrator/writer you admire and look up their sources and then contact that agency with a letter and samples.

You already have a contact who's interested though, you're doing fine on your own. In some case, if you bring in an agent now it might even offend an editor. Is this a children's book publisher? Some places can be pretty fickle about how you handle things.

I say you do it on your own... The agent doesn't have much more to do if you already made the contact on your own and if you have any questions about fair pricing I'm sure there are tons of people on this board who know enough to give you the answers you need.
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Kazu
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Post by Kazu » Wed Aug 31, 2005 4:47 pm

I disagree with Dan on the value of an agent, but I do agree that you don't need to worry about it at this point. Try to get the publishing deal on your own and if you feel you do need assistance with the rights and payment negotiations, then it would be a good time to look for an agent. Agents are also human, so some of them may not help very much while some can really help you out tremendously. You have to choose wisely. In my experience, I have seen a little bit of both sides of the spectrum, and I see now that finding an agent that fits your own personality, tastes, and vision will benefit you greatly. Otherwise, I suggest going it alone and ask for advice from other artists who have gone through the process.
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Post by ChadTHX1138 » Wed Aug 31, 2005 7:36 pm

My Agent works in the animation industry, I have only been with her a couple months now. She has been pretty beneficial and made some negotiations that I dont think I could have made on my own, even if the job did come to me first. I need her to help me take care of what I cant, so I can work. She also looks for jobs and it allows me to work in Texas where the cost of living is considerably lower than CA.

I dont think 10% is too much...Considering that they help you out legally as well help get you and your pitch to the right people. The agency i'm with was responsible for helping Fairly Odd parents get on the air and get the creator the best deal possible.

I will wait awhile before I make any judgments. So far so good.
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Dan Santat
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Post by Dan Santat » Wed Aug 31, 2005 8:59 pm

Well, let me clarify my statement....

I have TWO agents.

One for illustration and another for animation.

And I love them both.

I guss what I should say is that you should be very selective about the agent you choose. In my experience, agents for illustration, for publishing, and for animation are three totally different animals. Also, There are some agents who are so busy you end up not getting the focus and attention you may want.

My animation agent has been invaluable in terms of connections and meetings and dealing with large contracts that are literally three inches thick. I almost feel like you can't really do anything (pitching shows, negotiating money etc.) in the animation industry without an agent (there are exceptions of course). I deal mainly with Disney and a litttle bit at Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, and I have NO experience in animation whatsoever, and there is NO WAY I could have gotten to where I am now without an agent. 10% is more than fair for a cut.

The animation agents also from time to time represent my children's book work but they leave open the freedom for me to not deal with them in terms of handling my publishing business. My foot is already pretty well established in children's books because once you get in that particular market, the work you publish works seems to pretty well serve as your own portfolio because that particular market is very intimate. Most art directors and editors for Scholastic, Harpercollins, Random House etc. tend to move all over the place and your name gets out there. At least in my experience...

I wouldn't say your chances of getting published will improve if you have an agent. If the work is good then a publisher will buy it. BUT If you're looking to have more eyes of prospective buyers see your project then, yes, an agent would be handy.

I jumped the gun when I said you don't need an agent because it's different for each person. When I heard you say that you had a pitch I figured you were hoping that having an agent would improve your chance of getting it published at that house, which I don't think is correct line of thinking.

My illustration agent goes out and find work for me but there's no guarantee that they will generate MORE work. If anyhting, I'm getting about the same amount of work as before but they free up my time from promotion so that I can focus mainly on the work. Illustration agents take 25% and that's pretty steep when it all adds up. If you do 50K worth of work in a year and they take 25% that's a little over 12K a year and you have to weigh your options of whether you think 12K is worth all the time you would spend promotiong your stuff and mailing it out. For me, I consider 25% worth the time because I SUCK at self promotion and I'm too busy to manage my time to do so even if I wanted.

So in essence.....I like working with my agents. BUT I do feel that YOU have to find the right one for yourself and one that really has faith in your work.

Sorry to be so ong winded but I just wanted to get that out there to clarify my point.
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Joe Shig
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Post by Joe Shig » Thu Sep 01, 2005 12:53 am

Does that happen every time you disagree with someone Kazu?

;)
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Dan Santat
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Post by Dan Santat » Thu Sep 01, 2005 8:52 am

I was reading my first post and and the brevity of it all just seemed a little too mean spirited towards agents which was the wrong overall idea. I started typing and all of the sudden I ended up getting on my soapbox.

:oops:
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hai
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Post by hai » Thu Sep 01, 2005 5:17 pm

Thanks a lot for the insight guys! Yeah I know it sounds kid of premature to look for an agent when you're still working on the pitch but I've been reading some books and the things I've read regarding contracts are sometimes rather bothersome.

So I suppose the best time to look for an agent is when your pitch actually get's accepted and it's time to talk business. I'd prefer not to get an agent actually but I'm thousands and thousands of miles away in a small island and I'm hoping an agent can do some of the essential footwork.
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