Mark Twain, at least according to a website that lists quotes from writers and others, opined: “All you need is ignorance and confidence and the success is sure.”
Well, we’ll see.
As I posted here last week, I wrote a novel last year, Then We Ran. Now I’m in the early stages of trying to find an agent who will help me get it to a so-called traditional publisher. Or not.
I’m a novice in all this. Although there appears to be some similarity to “pitching” book proposals to agents and “pitching” story ideas to journalists and other miscreants. And in both situations, you better be able to handle rejection.
First lesson learned: writing a book ain’t easy. Finding an agent and then getting it published may be even more difficult and time-consuming.
Yesterday I received the first of what I expect will be more e-mail rejections from agents. Here’s the missive in its entirety: “Not for me. Good luck — ”
OK. My ego can handle that.
I’ve also learned that there is a huge industry providing advice to writers on everything from how to write compelling dialogue to crafting the perfect query letter. In fact, it looks like many people prosper more by writing about how to write a book than actually writing one.
If interested, check out the websites for Writers Digest and The Writer. Note: if you visit one or both of these sites and provide your e-mail, be prepared for an almost constant barrage of offers for books for sale about writing, webinars, conferences and so on. Kinda like the Public Relations Society of America. I digress.
While looking for helpful advice, I discovered Rachelle Gardner’s blog. She is a literary agent with Books and Such Literary Agency. Here’s from a recent post, “Is Your Book Good, Great, or HOT?”:
If you’re querying agents, you may sometimes hear that they’ve taken on new clients, while your own query or a partial sits in their inbox, seemingly ignored. You’re probably wondering… what gives?
Why do some projects sit in the inbox and take longer to get an answer, while others seem like they get jumped on right away?
Well, the truth is that your project may be good. It might even be very good or even great. But the projects agents jump on quickly are the ones that are hot.
What’s a hot project?
It’s a project the agent not only believes in, but they’re also confident they can sell it relatively quickly.
- If it’s non-fiction: it’s a fresh new idea (or a fresh angle on a common idea), has a super high felt-need and the author has a strong platform and/or an obvious media hook.
- If it’s fiction: the agent absolutely loves both the story and the writing; it has a strong hook, and is a genre that’s selling well.
Sigh. I knew I should have had the main character in my book be a vampire.
But I’ll press on.