~by Charles Ameringer
You’ve written a novel. You’ve poured your heart and soul into it. You’re pumped up and ready to publish it. You don’t expect to be rich and famous, but you enjoy writing and being creative and like any artist you need an audience. So, you check out the latest edition of Writer’s Market and learn lesson number one, that is, major publishers do not accept submissions unless filtered through an agent. Okay, to meet that need, you go online to “Predators & Editors” and compile a list of agents specializing in your genre and study the tips for writing a query letter. You spend the next month or so sending out multiple queries, with zero results, except for a few agents who will take you on for a fee or request a reader’s fee (don’t do it; reputable agents work on a commission after they’ve won a contract for you, not on a fee up front). Lesson two: you can’t get a publisher without an agent, and you can’t find an agent to represent you.
The next step (which could be your first, since the agent route is likely to be a waste of time) is to send query letters to the appropriate small independent publishers; you can contact the indies directly; they don’t require an agent. The road can be littered with rejections, but eventually you may find a fit. In my case, Solstice Publishing liked my manuscript and offered me a contract, and then I learned lesson number three. Solstice put me through the editorial wringer. The editors weren’t intrusive—maybe a tweak here and a touch there—but for the most part they pointed out the rough spots and left it up to me to smooth them over. When I compared my submission to the finished product, I was tremendously relieved that the former never made it into print.
However, suppose you don’t find an indie that will publish your work, for one reason or another. Dammit, you say, this is too good to let it just die. Ah, but there’s the self-publishing option; there are some good sites to tempt you—CreateSpace or Lulu, for example, and it’s easy and relatively inexpensive. But here is where lesson number three comes into play again. Don’t do it without having your work edited. There are editorial services that you can hire, but be careful; Predators & Editors warns, “scam artists are often involved in that activity.” (Unfortunately, there are scammers lurking in the shadows at every step of the way of the booming ebook phenomenon) Still, you need that extra eye to protect you against yourself and bring out the best in you. P&E has a listing that separates the good guys from the bad guys, and websites such as this (AHA) can steer you in the right direction. The main point: do it right. It’s better to have your work critiqued by an editor beforehand than by a reviewer, when it’s too late. There’s an old song that goes something like this: “Life ain’t the same since Nellie got the gong.”
~~~~~~~~~~~Charles Ameringer Author of the spy/mystery novel, The Old Spook
For more about The Old Spook, follow these links: http://www.amazon.com/Old-Spook-Charles-Ameringer/product-reviews/1477654623/ref=la_B001HD1 http://store.solsticepublishing.com/the-old-spook/
Additional Helpful Links:
- Query Advice (writerhughes.wordpress.com)
- Querying the impossible Query… (7evildwarves.wordpress.com)
- Query Letters: Should You Mention Your Blog? (slstacy.wordpress.com)
- The R.A.H. Way To Land a Literary Agent (thebestchapter.com)
- 8 Steps to Finding the Right Agent (kathytemean.wordpress.com)