I was approached this weekend at a work event by a mom whose daughter takes my creative writing classes.
This young lady is quite good at writing and wants to be an author when she grows up.
Her mother asked me, "How does she get published?"
Well, there are many answers to that.
With self publishing available, anyone can be published. Anyone. I could ghost write a book for my dog and publish it on Amazon. Blamo - done, published author.
While I think that anyone that not only takes the time to write something, but is courageous enough to put it out there for the world to see deserves kudos, I wanted a more traditional approach.
Traditional approach 1:
Get a fabulous literary agent, have them shop the top 6 publishers, get contracted, get huge sign on payment against royalties, and publish my book. Ta-da! Published author.
First of all, I have no patience.
I wrote the book almost 5 years ago. It took me a year of writing on and off to complete the manuscript. The second I was done with it, I researched EVERY literary agency to find the perfect match for my book. I looked in the back of every acknowledgement page of every author I loved that I thought "sounded" like me or wrote in the same genre as me. This was how I found the names of their top shelf literary agent. I gathered that list, wrote a query letter without researching the best way to do so, and sent out my unedited, but surely phenomenal piece of literary genius to everyone on that first list of "I HAVE to work with" agents. There were about ten of them. Ten spectacular names in the agenting business, ten companies that SURELY needed my book in their portfolio of NY Times bestsellers.
They all rejected me.
Some took a day, some took 6 weeks, and some never answered at all.
SO I made another list.
There were surely great agents, not as spectacular as the first list but great all the same. I had my very best friend read over my MS and query letter.
She was very frank with me.
"The letter sounds like you were having a manic episode. Kind of like BLAH LBLHABLAHBLAHAHAHHAH (she said this at 90 million miles an hour), sincerely JC."
"And the manuscript needs some editing."
Hmmm. Surely she was just being overly cautious, but I read it over just the same. It needed a little tweak. I mean it WAS 120,000 words long. (Typical adult fiction, not counting some of the door stoppers out there run around 90,000 words).
SO I read it over. And she gave me more suggestions on wording, and comma splices (my nemesis) and sentence length.
I read it over again, and tweaked a little more.
And then I sent it out to more agents. I did everything they wanted me to do. Some just want a query letter and some want a query letter and three chapters, some want a synopsis (I didn't send anything to those agents yet) and some wanted the first fifty pages.
And they all rejected me.
This went on for months, until an agent wanted to see more! Huzzah!!
I'll continue tomorrow.....Now it's back to the playlist countdown!
Chapter two has two songs:
Band of Horses “Is There a Ghost” & The Ramones “I Wanna be Sedated”