My experience with the world of traditional publishing has been an interesting one. I've had a U.S literary agent, moved on to a terrific new agent in Toronto, had my work read at by publishers from the Big Six (or maybe it's the Big Five now) conglomerates and still haven't made a deal. In the meantime - during all the long, long, long (and I mean l-o-n-g) waits for various editors to get back to my agent, I've published five titles on my own and reached the Amazon bestseller lists with two of them.
Here are some truths that I've learned along the way for those of you interested in becoming writers or those of you who just want to know how the industry works :
- You need to have a complete and polished manuscript before querying agents AND a very polished and catchy query letter.
- Getting an agent is very difficult, but just because you landed one, doesn't necessarily mean you'll get published! Check out these comments from various editors about my novel UNNATURAL. Despite their enthusiasm for the novel, they passed. Aaaarrggh!!!!:
- She has a flair for capturing the cadence of the time period and for creating a slow-burning atmosphere of tension and suspense in the opening
- She has a fantastic eye for detail, and her prose is wonderfully propulsive—and on top of that, her voice has such great humor in it!
- The read did intrigue me, as Clara is an excellently written protagonist whose feelings are identifiable and relatable, and the passion behind her quest to discover if a person can be born “unnatural” is commanding.
- Most agents are very pleasant and very helpful people who spend a great deal of time reading your work and helping you to get it in the best shape possible. They also can be extremely loyal as I've discovered with my agent Samantha Haywood from Transatlantic Agency who is now patiently waiting for me to submit A PROPER LADY to her.
- You really do need a PLATFORM. Some publishers actually checked out my blog and the number of followers I have on Twitter and Facebook.
- You need a thick skin and a ridiculous amount of staying power to stick with it in the face of many rejections.
- You also need to be prepared to write, rewrite, write again, rewrite again, cut things out, put things back etc. etc. etc. And all this in complete solitude!
- Whether you land a book deal with a publisher or do your own thing, YOU are responsible for marketing your books. Set aside time each day for that. It really does work.
UNNATURAL TO BE RELEASED SOON!!
So after all this time I've decide to publish UNNATURAL myself. A number of people have been asking me when it's coming out so I'm giving you a heads-up. I've already got a terrific designer, Jeanine Henning, working on an amazing cover. So here goes!! I hope to have the book out before Christmas. Keep checking my page and I'll let you know the PRE-ORDER DATE.