The Business of Writing

So I’ve decided to make a renewed effort at publishing my novel WE, THE WATCHED.

I bought the most recent edition of Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market, and have compiled a list of about 62 literary agents (yes, 62) who I think might be right for my novel. I’ve already e-mailed query letters to about 10.  Since yesterday, six have replied and one asked me today to send the first couple chapters of my novel!

The fact that five agents said no in one day, after reading only a query letter, should give you a sense of how competitive the market is. Check out this response from one agent who I’ll leave anonymous:

I’ve begun receiving more than 30 submissions a day and, as a single agent with no assistants, I simply can not get to them all.

Given my present workload, I must wish you well with another agent.

30 submissions a day? That’s like 900 a month! Good luck with that, guy.

The usual process for submitting a novel, if you were wondering, is as follows.

  1. Send a one-page query letter including a short summary of the work, why people would pay for it, and a bio.
  2. Wait. Hope.
  3. If agent expresses interest, send a synopsis and part of the manuscript — usually the first 5-50 pages, depending on agent’s workload
  4. Wait. Hope.
  5. If they still like your novel, send the full manuscript
  6. Wait. Hope.

So far I’ve gotten to step 3 two times. The first time ended in rejection, the second…is currently pending. The important thing is to keep trying. And if it doesn’t work out, write something else and try again. That’s my plan, anyway.

2 Replies to “The Business of Writing”

  1. Thanks. I just sent out 20 more e-queries this weekend! It takes longer than you’d think. Everyone seems to have different submission requirements — a good number want to see a sample of the work upfront, but only a few like attachments. Hopefully I’m following the rules!

Leave a Reply