HAVING WRITTEN A full length manuscript and awaiting beta feedback, there’s a real emptiness as an almost-writer. I thought I’d be overjoyed at finishing a solid piece of work, but apart from occassional back slaps to myself in moments of reflection (no mirror involved), until I send the manuscript into a literary agent’s inbox, I won’t be satisfied, and even then I know I might face a lot of rejection until finding an agent who wants to work with me.
If you want to be published in print a literary agent is essential. First off the ‘bad’ news; they take 15% of earnings, but they deal with contracts home and abroad, they have industry contacts and knowledge of how it all works. By having a stake in you they have a vested interest in getting the best deal possible from a publisher. From what I can gather, you need one! But you lose 15% or more through Kindle also, an important thing to keep in mind.Before even getting a lit agent, you need to have a polished query letter (YAY! more writing!). And a tightly written synopsis; Jane Friedman has a plethora of great articles to help in that department and much more besides. The query letter briefly outlines who you are and why your story is worth publishing. A synopsis goes in depth to reveal the range of your story, but once you have a good synopsis it becomes your template. At first they seem quite daunting, yet another hoop to jump through, but nobody said this writing malarkey was easy (Actually I did, but not in reference to publishing).
Once a lit agent is on board the Lion Express, there is no guarantee that any of the stops we make will be with a reputable publisher, meaning the journey will likely be arduous and unpredictably long depending on our fortune. Getting a publisher to join allegiance will be a fantastic acheivement, but may take months to happen. So on the back of four months hard graft, there are many more months to go until I see my book in print.
With a better knowledge of publishing I really see the appeal of self-publishing. You control your own destiny. If my first book was different, I might well have just gone through Kindle, the process is so much more streamlined in comparison.
Publishing: One step at a time.
I’ll leave you with some Russian wisdom: The two most powerful warriors are patience and time – Leo Tolstoy