Getting an Agent
‘How did we ever get this far? I don’t know.’
Many people have asked me how I came about to get this far with the writing. I love when people ask me that as if I’m polishing my Pulitzer Prize for Literature already. The fact is, I know that this is going to be a long arduous journey. I know that I won’t be published with the next month or even six months. Hell, it could be a year before I see any results, but what I have now is:
- Step One
- And light at the end of the tunnel.
I shall explain why.
Writers are often stuck in a limbo when it comes to actual writing. We have an idea, we think it’s great and so we think, “you know what, I’ll draw up a treatment, write the first few chapters or pages and then shoot it off”…
What if they love it? What if they say, “this is great, we want the rest in six weeks!”
So instead you think, “I’ll write the book. I’ll go from page one to page two-hundred and one and get this done. Then I’ll shoot it off”…
What if they hate it? Then I’ve wasted all that time for nothing!!!
Then comes our own personal Catch-22:To get published, you must have an agent. To get an agent, you must have been published.
Does your head hurt reading that? I know mine does.
The only thing I can suggest for those who are wanting to write is this:
When you approach an agent you must have EVERYTHING that they want, from a synopsis to a character breakdown, to chapter analysis to who your target demographic is. If you are able to, post sections of it online (as I am doing now) get some feedback on what people like or don’t like. Find your audience and use that knowledge to your advantage. You are not selling a book, you are selling a product and so you must approach it like you are marketing a chocolate bar or a mobile phone.
- What makes what you have written special?
- Who will buy it?
- How many do you think you will sell?
- Is there an International market?
And the most important thing you should know:
EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT
Those of you who think your first draft is perfect, take your head out of your ass and get someone else to look at it. Fresh, critical eyes, who can say ‘man this needs some work’. There is nothing worse than thinking you have a best seller on your hands, only to find it is riddled with plot holes and half of the time makes no sense! And don’t be afraid of criticism. It only makes us better writers. If you can’t take it, then maybe you should let go of the idea of publishing and maybe just write for yourself.
And of course to quote Yoda, “patience you must learn”.
Don’t think the first agent you contact will want you… or the second or third… I sent this book to twenty-six agents before I was accepted and even then who’s to know whether they can deliver on their promises and I end up being screwed over. (Touches wood!) But if you are determined and you want to keep going then do just that, don’t get disheartened by rejection, just see it as someone who missed an opportunity… add it to the pile of people you will laugh it when you do pick up your Pulitzer or like JK Rowling laughing at publishers like Penguin and Harper Collins who couldn’t see potential in a little book about a wizard at school. (400 million copies sold across the series and counting!)
And above all else:
Believe in yourself… there’s a fine line between confidence and smugness, which is where the editing and the criticism comes in… if you can ride that wave you will come out stronger and more able to take anything the world can throw at you.