We’ve had some crazy Alabama weather as of late, but I hope the sun is shining wherever you find yourself today!
I am pleased to share my blog with another fabulous guest, Kezy. Today, Kezy is sharing some great advice, straight from her own experiences as a writer.
What I’ve learnt from contacting Literary Agents
The moment before I begin to write, there is this surge of excitement as a story develops in my head. As I pour it on to paper I know I am writing for my eyes only so there was no anxiety about what people thought, I would write for me, read it, love it, then put it away. One day against my own better judgement I decided to write a book with the intention of sending it to agents. It can’t be that bad I told myself. After all, I write all the time, how different can it be?
I now look back at poor naive me and shake my head in dismay. How innocent I was back then. So completely immune to the fate of rejection and the tight rope of rules one must adhere to.
Now when I write, I build myself up as though I am an athlete getting ready for a game. Now when I write, I am bogged down by technicalities that I know agents will look for. Things I never bothered about before, likability and sale, word count and edit, edit, edit. My writing is not free to roam anymore because now people might read it, and people have opinions, often very strong ones.
Now I prepare myself for the long wait whilst seeing said agent on twitter talking about an amazing manuscript they just received only to find out it’s not mine.
Now, after pouring my heart and soul on to paper, making sure I have a decent word count, editing until I can’t stand to look at the story anymore, I send off the manuscript I have loved to complete strangers who will either take months to read then not reply, take months to read and reply with standard email, or if you’re lucky which I have been a few times, reply with those gold plated words : ‘Can you send me the full manuscript?’
So, here is what I’ve learnt from soliciting agents in the most non-prostitute way possible.
1. Slush Pile – ugh hate that word. It’s a hard word to swallow when you have spent the best part of a year writing, only for it to be called the slush pile. I feel as if I am on my hands and knees hungry and dirty, not eaten a meal for days, my hands cupped before me. Most pretend they don’t see me, turn their noses up or cross the street. One maybe more if you’re lucky will scoop you off that floor and feed you a few scraps of encouragement. It won’t fill you up, but it’s enough to keep you going temporarily.
2. Sell your story from the first word. I have written many standard introduction emails with the usual short bio, story introduction, and I have received a lot of no’s and one ‘yes tell me more.’
The last time I contacted agents I included a tagline at the top of my email. I also injected a tiny dose of my personality. I received the usual rejection letters and two ‘send me more’, both on the same day. And of all the rejections, I received two personal replies explaining why they had to say no. One in particular seemed to like my humour and made a point of mentioning it. I still remained professional in my email, and no, I didn’t write a comedy sketch. It was just a touch of humour (one line). But I think it was the tagline that worked.
3. Do your homework (find out who you like, what they like, and if they’re open to submissions.)
When I first contacted agents I only contacted the popular ones. Now after soliciting a few times, I’ve come to realise that for me, smaller is probably better. Research is key, the work does not end after the book is completed. Now you have to find a list of agents open for submission in your genre, and agents you think may do your book justice.
4. Getting a reply takes as long as it took you to write the book. When you have researched your agent and decide which ones to approach, you send your polished manuscript and your kick ass letter. Then comes the waiting, most agents, writers, publishers say go on to the next project while you wait but I have not been able to master that yet. I can’t think of another book while I’m waiting, and if I’ve refreshed my email a hundred times a day it would not be an exaggeration. Entering into the publishing business is like no other business I have ever experienced. Nothing happens fast. Like, nothing. And for someone like me who likes things to happen yesterday, the waiting is torture.
5. Polish your manuscript until you can see your reflection. I must admit my biggest flaw is that I get sick of editing. Plus see number four, I have no patience. I know many people put their manuscript aside for a few months and go back to it with fresh eyes. But the longest I have put mine aside for is a week. This is my problem, I don’t edit with fresh eyes. I edit with very tired and fed up eyes.
6. Dust yourself off and try again. Rejection stings like vinegar in an open wound. Some get over it and move on. Me? I have the wind knocked out of me and it takes some weeks to get back on track. I was exhausted after my last manuscript. I worked into the early morning to get it finished. I gave myself a deadline and worked on it every spare minute I got. When I sent it off I was physically and mentally drained. The waiting drained me more. The rejections laid me flat out. I lost my inspiration to write. I questioned if I could actually write a good book.
I still don’t know the answers to that. What I do know is that I need to write whatever the platform, whomever the audience.
So, I think I’ve pouted long enough, time to get back on that horse.
Now where did I put that horse…..
About Me: I am a Freelance Copywriter by day and a writer all other times. I am lucky enough to have had a few short stories published online and in an Anthology.
Currently I write short stories for social media and my blog. I am also writing a new manuscript about a girl who finds herself on the run when her father entrusts her with a deadly secret. And by writing, I mean just started.
Thank you so much for visiting with us today. As always, your support is appreciated. Please continue in supporting today’s guest with likes, shares, and comments. Don’t forget to check out her website & other links, too! She’s one to follow! ;)
Until next time, lovelies…………………………Happy Reading & Reviewing!!!