Has anyone tried to get published or find an agent?

Lady - posted on 03/08/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )

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I'm just about to send off the first three chapters of my first completed novel to a number of agents along with a one page synopsis and a cover letter. This was the advice I was given by the writters guild as the best way to get published. Has anyone else tried this route or any other into becoming a pubished author?

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Karen - posted on 06/23/2010

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Devin is right, it is a tough market, but I know of people who nevertheless get published by the big New York publishers anyway. It does take a lot of persistence, and it's so important to educate yourself about the market. If you are writing any of the genre books (science fiction, mystery, romance, children's books, etc.) I highly recommend that you join one of their organizations (Science Fiction Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, or their equivalent in different countries). They are a great resource regarding how to submit novels, where to submit them, as well as to whom. I would also direct you to the Preditors and Editors web site, which is another good resource to search for legitimate literary agents and publishers. There are a lot of scammers out there that will demand money up front to be your agent or to get you published, and you should not fall for this. The Preditors and Editors site is at:

http://pred-ed.com/

It's free, and staffed by volunteers. I've gone there myself to search for legitimate literary agents.

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Devin - posted on 07/07/2010

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Well, you were right in what you said before...it just takes one who likes it. So, in your query letter, do you put a synopsis about the whole book?

Lady - posted on 07/07/2010

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The general rule is if you haven't heard after eight weeks then they're not intrested - although one has said three weeks and I think one other said three months. I wish they would tell you why it's not for them - whether it's just not good enough or they're not intrested in the subject matter or genre. But I suppose they get so many submissions each week it would take a long time to reply to each one and give feedback - still it's very frustrating. Everyone who has read my book has given very favourable feedback even strangers on WEbook, I just worry that the first three chapters give the impression that it's going to be an obvious ABC romance story but infact there are some twists and turns in it - fingers crossed the people reading it will want to look at some more one day and then they will be able to see.

Devin - posted on 07/06/2010

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Yeah, I guess it does need to be done. The waiting is the hardest. I sent out just a short story and waited 6 months for a reply. I can't imagine it would be much less than that if they are reading several chapters, but I guess that depends on the size of the publishing company.

Lady - posted on 07/06/2010

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I agree Devin, writing the synopsis and cover letter was almost harder than writing the books but it has to be done - whether you send them off seperatley or together it's unfortunatley just part of trying to get published.
Personally I wouldn't want to send a query letter first because I wouldn't want to have to wait on a reply for that and then wait on a reply from sending off my manuscript - the waiting is the hardest bit I think.
Thankfully as most agents are taking e mail submissions now postage isn't too much of an issue.

Devin - posted on 07/05/2010

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That's great advice Karen. I have never heard of that before...but that makes it even more stressful I think. Because not only do you spend tons of time and effort writing the novel, but now you have to summarize it good enough so publishers will want to read even part of it.

I don't want to be a downer, but I've written bios and query letters before and I always find them more difficult than your actual writing piece.

Karen - posted on 07/03/2010

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Gillian's right, although there's a "trick" that will save you postage and can get your manuscript toward the top of the "slush pile." Send a query letter first that briefly describes your story (there's a format for query letters, so do look up how to write those). If an agent or editor responds to your query and asks for a full or partial manuscript, that entitles you to put "requested material" on the front of the envelope that contains your full or partial manuscript (which should include the synopsis and a cover letter stating that on X date, the editor/agent requested the material).

If you're submitting via e-mail, the subject line should mention the title of your book and "requested material" on it.

DO NOT put "requested material" on your envelope or e-mail submission if it has not been specifically requested by the editor or agent. They do keep records of who they request manuscripts from, and you can bet they won't look at your story the next time if they find you've submitted under false pretenses.

Writing query letters is good practice, because it'll hone your skills for writing back cover copy, which you might be requested to edit or review at some time. If it's good enough, the publisher may even use it in their promotion efforts.

Lady - posted on 07/03/2010

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The submission guidlines for most agents are the first three chapters, a cover letter and a brief synopsis of the book - although one agent only wanted the first fifty pages.
If they like your work then they will ask for the completed manuscript - it hasn't happend yet but it only takes one - right? lol!!

Lady - posted on 07/02/2010

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Right well the first four don't seem interested - I've just sent out to three more so we'll see - fingers crossed.

I spoke to someone at the writers guild a while ago who pointed me in the right direction on how to get published and how to write a cover letter ect. They were really helpful.
Thanks for the link Karen - I may be trawling through the list of agents if nothing comes of these three.

Devin - posted on 06/23/2010

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I know it has been a while since you posted this, but that is really brave of you to send out your novel and I really hope you get good news. But, all the advice I've been getting is basically that it is a really tough market, so even if these four don't work out, keep trying.

Karen - posted on 06/23/2010

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Yes, I've done it this way, and I've published about 11 novels with HarperCollins, Penguin USA, and Bantam/Doubleday/Dell.

Lady - posted on 04/23/2010

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I've just discovered a lot or literary agent are taking email submissions now - something thry did't do a few months ago. So submitting your work just got a lot easier, no printing or posting just a push of a button away. I sent off my novel to 4 agents on monday but probably won't hear anything for weeks if at all, I'll let you know!!

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