I’ve been reflecting back on the last year, and yes, I realize that most do this inside a narrower time frame more closely around the beginning of January, but hey, I’m on holiday and it’s only the 5th in any case – so, yes, reflecting – 2013 was a fantastic year for me, my first book came out late in 2012 (October) and I began blogging a month later, so at the beginning of 2013, I was very much still new kid on the block and finding my way – But wait, let me go back to the beginning – I should point out I’m one of those writers guilty (if that’s the right phrase) of putting all my effort into WRITING, giving no thought at all, or very little, to what would happen afterwards, meaning that my life revolved around writing and polishing and little else.
Most of my effort concentrated around The Khekarian Threat, the first book of the series simply because I couldn’t see the second book getting accepted if the first one wasn’t.
So, my entire life up until 2013 consisted of writing and polishing, then sending my attempts to an agent. Back it would come weeks or months later with the “No thank you” note we all get, ruling out that particular agent for further contact. Publishing agents are not thick on the ground, publishing houses deal with a limited few, so the entire lot is rather tightly tied together. That means I soon ran out of agents and options – at home and overseas.
Every reject letter sent me back to my desk to polish or change bits – to improve and improve and improve, and to try again.
As my chances ran low, I began studying the industry and was quite disturbed by what I found: Agents too busy to get through their slush piles. Agents (a LOT of them) deciding on or rejecting an entire manuscript based on the FIRST sentence of the COVER LETTER. Agents frightened to take risks with unpublished writers (then how do you get published the first time?) and agents not wanting any writer who writes outside the box.
MOST agents do MOST of those things.
Well, that was me dead in the water. I’m a writer, not an advertising specialist. How do I trigger excitement for a 600 page story in ONE sentence – the very first one in my cover letter? How do I NOT be an unpublished writer if I’m not published. How – in flipping God’s Universe – do I capture an agent’s interest if I am outside the box completely?