In 2008 I began writing my first SFF novel and completed 3 chapters. In 2009 I finished it, 456 pages (if printed as a trade paperback) and 118,939 words. I'm very proud to have done so. In July 2009 I began looking for a literary agent. I soon realized that getting any to take a look required an excellent query letter. Like other authors, I'd rather write a 500 page novel than a 1 page query letter. But query I did, changing the letter every 6 agents to see what bait would attract a bite. Fishing was bad. Regardless of bait chosen, the fish lay sluggishly on the bottom of a cold pond, apparently well nourished.
While looking for an agent, I began connecting with social media and soon realized that many other wanna-bes were also finding it difficult to locate an agent or a publisher for their work; but I took no solace in being part of the crowd. When I located any notice of a publisher seeking new authors, their submission guidelines appeared daunting. The most attractive seemed always to require printed materials (it's about $50 to copy my manuscript) mailed in with SASE. So I initially preferred e-mail submissions but, after 45 rejections, I think e-mail screeners only read until they encounter the first word, sentence, clause, paragraph or concept they can construe as a reason for rejection. I finally realized that connecting with an agent who is not just looking for what I've got to sell, but also looking for my way of expressing it -- that is the actual search I am undertaking.
Entering 2010 with something to sell (while writing my follow-up), I think I must proceed simultaneously on the following fronts:
- Continue trying to sell the Ebook version of my first book on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords.
- Continue to locate and query prospective literary agents. I'm using authoradvance.com to track my submissions.
- Continue writing articles about my writing experience on ezinearticles.com where I am listed as an "expert author".
- Continue to BLOG and TWEET looking for connections and information.
- Begin to contact small presses looking for a direct publisher.
- Begin to examine Print on Demand (POD) or short run printers to see if I can buy printed review copies of my book at a low enough cost to allow me to sell paperback versions of my novel either directly from my website or through outlets like Amazon.
2010 is the year in which I want to find out whose right.