Friday, December 16, 2011

1) Write well. 2) Be interesting.

As some of you know, I had little to no intention of having my book *cough*GetItHere*cough* be anything more than a spine sitting up on my shelf that I could point to as my own creation. Opening that first box from the printer and seeing an actual book with my name on it... wow.

Once I finished writing it, though, I became part of a writing community that surprised me with terms that were foreign to me or that I hadn't considered: Query, YA, AAR... Agent. So, I thought to myself, what does it actually take to find an agent to represent you? What does it take to get a publisher? The long and the short of it is that it's like any interview.

You need something to be sold. Note: This helps if it's actual writing experience, but what's important here is a completed manuscript. My research into contacting agents shows that a surprising number of writers contact literary agencies without having finished (or started?!) their book. Huh? I don't get that at all... Perhaps they don't want to 'waste' time writing if no one will buy it. As someone who wrote for the sake of the product and not the sale, I don't follow that reasoning.

You ne
ed a résumé. This is separate from the "I have been published in such-and-such magazine," though that's a great start. That stack of résumés on your bosses desk that he or she is sifting through in order to find the next salesman? The literary equivalent of that is the query. It's a brief introduction letter that has to 1) explain your novel, 2) explain who you are, 3) tell why you are the one to write the story, 4) show what books on the market are similar to give context, 5) show how it's different from those same books since no one wants to read the same thing, 6) explain what .............

....... 47) offer the word count, and 48) convey the voice of your book.

All in about four short paragraphs. Oh, and it's thrown in a pile with dozens of other queries. And, you're not filling a desk in a sales office that NEEDS to be filled. It's entirely possible that the whole stack will get skimmed over and slid into the trash can.


I couldn't wait to get started, even if it meant no one ever answered my queries. I was mesmerized by the process. The amount of 'help' and advice online is staggering, though most agree on the main points (except for the surprising things that are totally contradictory). Entire books are devoted to How to Write Queries.

And, what have I learned? What insight do I have to offer? Easy.

It's all crap. Not queries, mind you, but the arduous process to get the perfect query. Each agent wants different things. Some want information about you, the writer. Others want sample chapters. Others want a detailed synopsis of the entire manuscript.

But, the truth is, as long as you can write, it'll work itself out. You just need a story people want to read. Agents WANT to like your book. They WANT to sign you and start lobbying for a publisher. It's how they get paid. So, here's my full-proof way to get an agent. Trust me, this will not fail... not a chance.

1) Write well.
2) Be interesting.

There ya go. That's it. As long as you aren't a crappy writer, you're through the first wicket. [Note: This is much more difficult than it sounds.] After that, all you need to do is get noticed. Be funny. Be unique (not just your writing... YOU). Be spontaneous. Be random.


Just like a desk job: be good at what you do, and be a pleasure to be around... and you have nothing to worry about.

Best Blogger Tips

No comments:

Post a Comment