There's no doubt a certain thrill that fills every author with a mixture of pride and accomplishment once their manuscript is finally complete. All the sleepless nights, inner monologues, second guesses and crazy thoughts are put to rest, resulting in an invigorating breath of fresh air. Of course this bliss never lasts long. All authors know that a finished manuscript is when the hardest work begins.
For those that aren't already published or represented, several things must now be put in motion. Reviewing, tweaking, finding a professional proofreader and formatter, narrowing down the final design, and lastly, seeking representation.
In this day and age, many (myself included) have chosen to self-publish. Control is fully in the hands of the author and some revel in the stress of it. After going through the motions twice with Truth
and Justice, I must say that it's a path I'm now reconsidering.
There's one thing every self-published author needs in abundance, and that's time. Time to write, hire help, promote/market, and time to book launches/singings. It's exhausting. Especially when writing is not your full-time job. Going from concept to creation with my last two books has been a journey that taught me discipline, and shown that I can truly achieve my goals if I push hard enough. That being said, it has also shown me that I just don't have the resources I truly need to bring Oleah Chronicles
to its full potential. It deserves more. More time, more eyes, and more promotion. Which is why I've chosen to now seek representation. A task that has proven to be very challenging and at times, very discouraging.
Just like writing a manuscript, seeking representation is just as time consuming. An author has to do their research on the hundreds upon hundreds of literary agencies to find the right agent that they feel could take their manuscript to the next level. The submission process alone can be daunting. From following guidelines, to tracking each query, waiting what seems like forever, and receiving rejection, after rejection, after rejection, can really do a number on one's confidence.
However, I believe the universe gives you exactly what you need at the right time. Your role as an author in aiding the universe to manifest your dreams is to set your manuscript up for success.
The Query Letter
I found it very helpful for me to research query letters within my genre that have successfully landed an agent. Many authors post theirs online to help other aspiring authors achieve their goals. A simple google search can bring about many for the choosing.
The Pitch and Synopsis.
You know your story better than anyone, and this is your time to shine. Many guidelines ask for various things, so it's important to have different versions of both your pitch and synopsis to cater to these demands.
Something that should go unsaid, but I can't stress enough how important it is to have your manuscript, query, pitch and synopsis reviewed and professionally edited. When it boils down to a spelling mistake being the deal breaker on whether or not an agent selects you over another, you don't want to cheap out.
The Selection Process
You have a long list to choose from, and want to be sure you choose right every time. It's also very important to keep track of the agents you pitch to. The last thing you want is to send your pitch to the same agent multiple times. Create an excel spreadsheet and list every agent, submission date and what the requirements were to stay on top of things. A great website I've come across that makes it easy is Query Tracker querytracker.net it's simple and easy to navigate. Definitely a handy tool for anyone seeking representation.
Be sure to customize your submissions as much as possible. Even if you're simply copy and pasting, it shouldn't come across that way. Add in the personal touches like the agents name, and other little tidbits that relate to them personally. It's the small things that count.
The Waiting Game
Typically, many agents usually respond within 3-4 weeks. Be sure to read through the guidelines for those that say things like if you haven't heard back within this time, consider it a pass. Or those that say a no from one agent is a no from the entire agency. You don't want to waste your time resending to different agents within the same company. Track your submission dates and be patient to hear back.
If you have all the above in place, you're set up for success. Just remember, it's not easy and whatever you do, do not lose hope. See it, claim it and believe it will happen for you at the right time, just as I do the exact same.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!