Tag Archive: literary agents


Agent Representation Declaration

The only excuse (not reason) that I can offer for not blogging in two months is that I haven’t really been focusing on writing or blogging, which means that I haven’t been thinking of things to blog about. At one point I was contemplating putting my writing/blogging aside while I focused on getting my financial house in order, but then I figured that was just an excuse, not a reason, to be lazy. A few days ago I actually starting thinking about things to blog about, so I have several posts for the next few weeks and I plan on thinking of more. So, onward The Soliloquy Suites goes once more!

I know at one point I had talked about wanting to self-publish my first novel (which I realize I haven’t actually blogged about yet) but I’ve decided that it might not be a bad idea to keep looking for an agent. I think what turned me off about traditional publishing were are all of the horror stories I’ve heard about massive changes being made to an author’s work that they didn’t approve of, authors having to give up certain privileges and rights with their work and authors having horrible book covers that they hate. It’s possible that I can have a similar experience with traditional publishing.

But it’s also possible that I can have a wonderful experience with traditional publishing.

Since I feel like my novel Furious can also work as a graphic novel, I think it would be wise if I could find an agent who represents both novels and graphic novels/comic books, or at least has connections in the graphic novel/comic book industry. I recently read a blog post from Rachelle Gardner where she wrote about how writers should be open to new and unexpected opportunities and not be so rigid about the path that they take for their career (number 3 on her list). Since I would like to write graphic novel scripts one day, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if Furious was introduced to the world in the form of a graphic novel instead of a regular novel like I’d originally planned.

Another reason that I’ve decided to keep looking for an agent is that I know that it will take a while for me to save up money for an editor, cover design, e-book formatting and the like. In the meantime, I could still be sending queries out to agents to at least get an idea of how likely it is that my novel will be something that people gravitate toward. Even though I might get nothing but rejection letters, I can at least know what works with the novel and what doesn’t.

If I’m open and honest with myself and my agent (when/if I get one) about my fears and hesitations with the publishing process I’ll be much better off and will be better prepared to deal with the results, no matter how good or…unfortunate they might be. There are now so many paths to publication a writer can choose, both tested/traditional and untested/unconventional. At the end of the day all that matters is getting your work out there, doing the best that you can, and being happy with the results. I don’t want to waste any more time than I already have trying to decide which road to take when I can take them all at the same time and end up at the same destination.

So what are some of your fears and concerns with self-publishing and traditional publishing? Are you willing to take the risks and accept the consequences with either for the sake of your career?

Next Post: I’ll finally introduce you to my first novel, Furious.

New Year, New Chances

There’s a sense of healing, a sense of redemption and a sense of reflection when we arrive at the beginning and the end of a year. It’s almost like reaching the end of a chapter of a book and pausing for a moment to reflect on what we’ve read up until this point before continuing on. What is it exactly that makes us wait until the end of the year to be the most reflective and to start to change and rearrange the way that we live our lives? Why not do it in the middle of the week, the middle of the month or in the middle of spring? Perhaps there’s something about 365 days of trying our best to stick to a new commitment. Perhaps when the ball drops in Times Square we drop our bad habits and hang-ups along with it. Whatever it is, I say journey onward toward the new year, toward the new you.

This year I plan on being a better me. I know that I’m capable of doing so much more in my life if I simply stop being afraid of what may happen and stop being lazy. If current events have taught us anything, it’s that we don’t know when or how we’ll be snatched away from the grip of life. I don’t want to die knowing that I could have made more of an effort to become published, more of an effort to write more, more of an effort to really explore the ideas buzzing in my head throughout the day. How many great stories and great authors have remained in the shadows of obscurity all because they were afraid to put themselves and their work out there or too lazy to truly apply themselves to their writing? I don’t want that to be said about me, and I don’t want to go to bed thinking that I wasted another day.

This year I want to work on having more of my stories published while continuing to blog and build up an audience. I also plan on continuing my search for an agent even though I’m still on the fence about becoming traditionally published. If my agent can’t get me a book deal, then maybe she or he can at least help me start my career through another medium. I would like to write comic book scripts, TV/movie scripts and video game scripts. Maybe the agent who can’t find me a book publisher will be able to find me a TV show to write for.

I’m almost finished with the final chapter of my novel and I’m ready to devote more time to my serial story Dark on the Rock over at JukePop Serials. I’m really excited about where the story is going. To think it originally started out as just an experiment. Hopefully it will help with my exposure and efforts to build a platform.

I think it’s best if I quantify my goals rather than simply state them. That way I’ll have a bullseye to aim for rather than a target. Hitting a target is easy, but hitting the bullseye requires work. (Feel free to use that quote as long as you credit me. 🙂 ) I’m going to have at least six short stories published and send out ten to 15 query letters to agents. The first draft of my novel will be finished by January 15th and I’m going to devote more time to Dark on the Rock. I also want to do more with my freelance writing. It’s always nice to have a job you like, and even better to have a job that you like and that you’re good at doing.

Alright, another 365-day long journey has begun…well less now that it’s the third, but you know what I mean.

What are your writing goals for 2013 and why do you think it is that most people wait until the new year to make major changes in their lives as opposed to starting the next day/week/month?

Tell Me Where the Road Turns

 

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on self-publishing and traditional publishing, wondering which would be a better fit for me, my personal tastes and my novel. There are aspects of both that I enjoy: the freedom and independence of traditional publishing, the level of exposure with traditional publishing, the level of control with self-publishing, the professional team you get with traditional publishing…and of course the financial benefits of self-publishing.

With traditional publishing I may have to wait months or years for my novel to come out, I’ll probably have to do all of my marketing on my own, I could be asked to change my title and I may not have much control over what my cover looks like. All of that being said, my material will be looked over by a professional editor, I’ll have more opportunities for reaching a wider audience and I’ll have an agent who knows where and to whom to market my work.

Self-publishing is a lot of work and can take a lot of money for a professional cover, editor and travel expenses if I want to do a book tour or something. That being said, it can be that much more satisfying if I become a success knowing that I did a majority of it on my own. I get to decide how much my book sells for, where my book is sold, what the cover looks like and when the book comes out. I know it’s possible to find an agent and publisher through self-publishing, but I feel like there’re just so many authors out there with magnificent and not-so-magnificent material. How does one stand out? How much time should one devote to marketing, networking, writing and working to keep food on the table?

I’ll be honest with you, there’s a part of me that terrified, overwrought and queasy at the thought of failing as an author. While I have confidence in myself and my writing, I’ll admit that I’m terrible at garnering attention. I’m the quiet, introspective type, not the Don Draper of the professional author world. I know I’ll have to become more extroverted and assertive as a self-published author or a traditionally published author. I know a lot of authors feel like this, and the way I see it is that if we’re brave enough to show readers, many of them faceless strangers, a part of ourselves with our work, then surely pursing an agent or self-publishing should be simple.

I’m sure some of us have heard horror stories about traditionally published authors who were forced to gut their books in order to make them “publishable” only to watch them wither and waste on the bookshelves. And we also know that if you choose to self-publish you have to set yourself on fire and put on a strobe light show with full surround sound simply to get readers to look your way , and even then they may not read your work.

So which path is the right path? Which is less painful? Which is more rewarding in this day and age?

I think they both are.

Rather than looking at it as an “either/or” issue, we should explore both avenues and realize their merit. If I do get an agent before I’m financially ready to be published, then I absolutely must express my concerns with them to make sure that we both want the same thing and so that I can make sure that my career is on the right path. I know that I’ll probably do some self-publishing, just to try it for myself somewhere down the line, hopefully after I’ve built up a bit of a following.

There’s no way of knowing where the road turns, and sometimes there’s no map to look at to plot a course, so all we can do is keep going…even if we’re all by ourselves.

Take care out there.

What are some of your fears and anxieties as a writer?

I’m starting to work on perfecting my query letter(s) to send out to agents. *Pause for applause* I’ve been reading advice on how to write a query letter, what to include in a query letter and how to get your query letter trashed before the agent even finishes the first paragraph. While absorbing and taking note of all of this information, it’s occurred to me that writing a query letter is a lot like writing a book.

Let’s break it down like James Brown.

Target Audience

When writing a book, you have to know who your target audience is so you can craft your writing to reach as many people in that audience as possible. The same is true of a query letter. You have to know the name of the agent, what kind of material they accept and if they want to represent your material just as much as you like writing it. With both a book and a query letter, you want to make sure that your personality shines through. Although there are hundreds of urban fantasy series out there, each author speaks to the same audience in their own unique voice. Personality and individuality is paramount if you want to stand out on the bookshelves and in the inbox of agents.

Hook

If you don’t want readers to skip over your novel, you’ve got to have a hook. We live in an age where our eyes are constantly bombarded with stimuli, so if you want to snatch a person’s gaze, you’ve got to dazzle them. When it comes to books, the cover is what holds readers in sway. Once you’ve made them stop and stare, you’ve got to keep them enthralled with an original and compelling plot. With query letters, you’ve got to hook agents with your synopsis. I’ve always thought that blurbs are like movie previews, you don’t want to tell/show the audience everything, but you want to highlight the main points of the movie/novel and get their heart racing to see the full project. Authors have to come up with innovative and effective ways to get agents to ask for a full manuscript.

Trust

Bestselling authors aren’t always overnight sensations; it takes them time to build up their credentials before readers flock to pick up their new book the same day it’s released. One way they do this is by earning the reader’s trust and consistently putting out excellent material.  When writing a query letter, your trust comes from your publishing credentials. The more publishing credits you have to your name, the more likely an agent will trust that you know how to write and sell story, even if you’ve never written a novel before. If you don’t have many publishing credits, that trust comes from your personal background, what you’ve done before you decided to write a book and what makes you the perfect person to write a certain type of book.

Professionalism

In most cases, agents don’t want to deal with authors who don’t know jack about the publishing industry. They’re much too busy with other authors, editors, publishers and their own personal lives to give you even the nickel tour of the publishing world. The same applies to writing a book. Readers don’t want to waste time and money on an author who doesn’t care about grammar or learning the fundamental rules of novel writing, such as character development, plot and proper resolution. Remember, we live in a rapid fire age, and it only takes a few sentences for readers to decide if they want to buy a put or stuff it back on the shelves.

Now, I consider myself to be an intermediate-bordering on advanced writer, so what I’ve shared with you here is by no means holy gospel, only my personal observations on the matter. Writer’s Relief has a ton of posts on query letters, as does the illustrious Rachelle Gardner. Be sure to subscribe to both if you’re in need of a lighthouse while navigating the surging waves of the writing ocean.

Take care out there.