Publishing my first novel - what should I be doing?
October 22, 2012 2:30 PM Subscribe
I just got an offer to publish my first novel. I know very little about the publishing industry and the business aspect of being an author. Help!
posted by inire to Writing & Language (13 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
(asking on behalf of mrs inire)
The novel is historical fiction. I have written about a third of it; the publisher made the offer on the basis of the first half of this and a synopsis of the rest of the novel. The publisher is UK-based and relatively small; my novel will be published under the historical fiction imprint that it set up this year.
I know that the best thing to do would be to get an agent, but as far as I can tell that will take me weeks (the agents whose websites I've looked at all say that they will respond to work submitted within six to eight weeks) and the publisher is keen to start drawing up the contract. So:
- How important is it to have an agent when negotiating a contract? I don't want to sign a terrible contract, but I also don't want to put off the publisher by delaying for six weeks while I get an agent.
- What should I be doing to get an agent? I've gone to the library to look at the Writer's Yearbook and I'm going to call a couple of agencies tomorrow to ask about representation, but I don't really know what to say beyond the above, or what questions to ask. Is it even possible for me to get an agent at the moment, given that I don't have a complete manuscript?
- If I can't get an agent quickly enough, what should I be asking the publisher and looking out for in the contract? I know that I should ask about the royalties (they've offered ten percent on national / international / ebook sales, which on the basis of the Writer's Yearbook appears to be fairly standard) and the timescale for completing the novel, but presumably there are other things that a slightly overwhelmed first-time author should be thinking about as well.
Any other advice gratefully received!