Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Turbulent Seas of Submission

As misfortune would have it my original independent publisher, for unavoidable circumstances, has closed their doors. Thus, I find myself adrift once more, navigating the turbulent seas of submission. Fortunately, I've grown much wiser over these past four years, and have continued to refine my skills as a writer. So the idea of securing representation for my next book through a literary agent is not as daunting as it once was. To be perfectly honest, it was something I fully intended to do once I established the series and felt confident in my abilities as a writer. I look at this unfortunate event now as an opportunity to pursue that course.

The first two books in The Ernie Bisquets Mystery Series have met with wonderful reviews and acceptance, so I was not about to let this event strip the wind from my sails. With my rights returned, and so many new tools available to authors, I quickly republished both books through CreateSpace. I was apprehensive at first, but in the long run this was something I felt I needed to do. The books have an established presence in the literary world that I worked hard to create. As I move forward with the series I'll need to leverage this presence. With both of those books back on course, I turned my attention to the new book and the task of querying literary agents.

I find I'm much more thoughtful in those I query. No more scattershot into the wind. I did extensive research into the agencies to see what similar authors/books they represent and how my work might compliment their list of clients. I have a far greater understanding of how valuable an agent's time is, so if I expect to be considered I need to be considerate first. I compiled my list through– what an exceptional tool for any writer. After refining my search, and making copious notes on the agents highlighted in the results, I narrowed the list to whom I felt might find my work worth considering.

This is where it gets scary again. My list of agents is finite. There is no adding to it a few weeks later in my journey. I have one shot to capture their attention. Every word from here forward must be carefully considered and arranged in a one page query to arouse within the agent the same excitement I carry within me about the characters and story I've created. To some extent, this single page query is more difficult to write than the entire 300 page manuscript. It's also the cause of many sleepless nights.

More about the query phase in my next post.