SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

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I agree to not submit to publishers widely if your goal is to have an agent, but a small number (less than a handful) of publishers who really seem to align with your manuscript or you have an opportunity via a conference or something, doesn't hurt in my opinion.

And Steph, congrats on the nearly 20 deals!
I'd make the sub, and query agents as well. I probably wouldn't submit to more than a few publishers if I were trying to get agent interest on a book, though. However, even with an agent, almost all of my deals (I'm up to almost 20 now!) have been through direct submissions to publishers or by responding to audition calls/expressions of interest. It absolutely pays to be proactive!
If you want to seize this opportunity, do so. Timing is huge.

A submission to one publisher isn't going to sink your chances with an agent if you decide to query agents. (I wouldn't try more than that, though.) Especially if it's a smaller publisher that agents might not try anyway, because for them these houses are usually much more work for much less pay.

Whether to query agents or go directly to publishers is a bigger-picture, career-trajectory question. It depends what path you want to follow. An agent on your side can open many more publisher doors for you, which helps so much because this is a numbers game, in addition to everything else an agent can do for you. But if the best markets for the type of work you do are smaller publishers that might have a certain niche, you might do okay on your own. It is easier, though, to make a go of it without an agent if you already have a number of good editor contacts of your own.
Sally, if your ms fits a publisher really well, I don't see a problem submitting directly. That's what I do. But it's also because I don't have an agent. But if I were looking for an agent, I would still go ahead with the pub. Sometimes timing is everything. I agree with the others that if you want an agent, start researching and querying agents. Good luck! V.
Thank you both for your replies. I appreciate the feedback!
If you want an agent, submit to an agent. Once you submit manuscripts to publishers it's a shopped manuscript and agents are unlikely to be interested. Some authors don't use an agent (it's just as hard to get an agent as it is to get a publisher) at all and sub to publishers directly, but that limits which houses you can submit to as some houses are only open to agented submissions. There are sometimes exceptions like if you heard the editor speak at a conference, but generally you have more limited submission options without an agent. If you submit to agents first and don't snag one you can always submit to open editors afterward. It's a decision everyone has to make for themselves.
I think if you want an agent, them start querying agents. But if you also want to submit this one publisher bc your ms fits, go for it. Just don't submit to too many pubs or an agent wouldn't have anywhere to send the ms to.
What are everyone's thoughts on submitting a PB directly to a publisher instead of focusing on getting an agent? A reputable publisher is open to un-agented submissions and I have a story that aligns with their mission as well as all of their criteria. I'm leaning towards submitting directly to them. But, would love to know what others think.

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