Monday’s as good a time as any to lay down some happy news, right?
I thought it might be, but I called in some help in the form of Merida from Brave. Who else would be so handy in this situation?
Because a lot of our readers are also writers at varying stages of the life, I’ll intersperse this news with some of my experience getting from Point A to say, N.
There are heaps of articles and websites out there to help writers through the slog of the Query Trenches to find an agent, but there’s not a ton out in the turgid wilds of the interwebz that talks about what happens next. My journey’s not the same as everyone’s obviously, but it’s one that could lend some insight into the process for those who are wondering about life after agent. With, of course, some Brave GIFs, because funsies.
When you first hear about the submission process, it can seem daunting and a little bewildering. I mean, you just got done querying. Now you get to do it again!
Of course, it’s super exciting. If a wee bit overwhelming.
Your agent will put together a list of editors she thinks would be interested in seeing your book. This means she has to research different houses’ imprints, who works there, who’s actively acquiring (and in your genre), who has a hankering for stories like yours, and who’s been yammering for exactly what you have.
I know it’s a lot to take in.
My agent and I agreed to a weekly digest style of communication. She’d send me an email on Fridays to let me know who’d requested the full manuscript based on her proposal, who’d referred us to someone else, who’d passed, etc. She also sends me a color coded spreadsheet, because she’s an absolute boss. Every agent works a bit differently, and it’s up to you to discuss this bit with whoever represents you to make sure you’re on the same page. Agents ought to be forthcoming with this information when asked. And if you’re still querying, any agent offering you representation should have at least an idea of where your work is to be submitted!
Once all the groundwork’s in place, your agent will take aim.
Then comes the all-too-familiar waiting bit.
Some days you’ll sit quietly in the peace of knowing you’ve achieved this awesome next step.
Some days you’ll be afraid to poke your head out of bed.
And the painful truth is that that first book might not sell. You’ll be sitting on Twitter someday (it is the Writer Way, methinks), and you’ll hear about somebody signing with an agent and somehow having a six-figure major deal fall on top of their head two seconds later. It’ll make you feel elated and jealous and terrified and encouraged and excited and bummed and horribly confused about the welter of emotions in your brain-room.
But. That’s the thing about going the traditional route. You gotta keep trying. Just this week, a fellow writer I’ve known around from query websites and Twitter for a couple years got an offer of representation. She’s queried a couple (or few) different manuscripts with no luck. Then suddenly with this one she had 13-odd full requests, got an offer from a rockstar agent, and now is fielding about 5 offers of representation. A writer Kristin and I met at Capclave this year told us his book was on submission for two years before it sold. You just have to keep at it. Whatever path you take for publishing, make it your own and own its trials and triumphs.
Because one day, something will pop up.
You’ll get an offer of publication. Which feels something like this…
Right around my birthday, my awesome agent Jessica Negrón received an offer of publication for SHRIKE, my Bridget Jones-meets-Spiderman superhero novel, which is set against the backdrop of the upcoming Scottish referendum for independence. And just this weekend, I signed my first ever publishing contract.
I’m absolutely chuffed to announce that SHRIKE was acquired by Executive Editor Mary-Theresa Hussey of Harlequin in a two book deal, negotiated by Jessica Negrón of Talcott Notch Literary Services in her first deal as an agent.
And yeah, I feel a bit like this…
SHRIKE will be coming out in August in digital first distribution, which is super fast. Which is very exciting and overwhelming and awesome!
So…erm…that’s uh….mah news. 😀 I hope you enjoyed the show, or at least adorable baby Merida. Thank you to all the Spellbound Scribes for giving me a place to blab today and all the other days since I joined!