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Any advice on how to get an agent and/or publisher? I’m thinking of publishing my novel “Under the Crescent Moon,” which was workshopped here, soon.

Edited by BKHunter
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First, you need an agent. Then, he finds a publisher. However, there are a few small publishers that will accept an MS without an agent. Unfortunately, I don't think I have a list of those. Others will know.

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Both @Shamrockand I are in the process of querying agents.

 

First...start querying literary agents first.  They are your gateway to most publishers.  Read up on developing an "elevator pitch," a query letter, a two-page synopsis of your book, and figure out what other books out there are similar to yours.  Also know your genre (non-fiction, memoir, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance, etc.), and your audience (children, Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, Adult).  These are ALL essential to querying an agent or publisher.

 

Second, be prepared for a long, hard slog.  I've been querying since August of 2020, and I've had 1 potential bite (from whom I am waiting for feedback).  It can take a year, minimum, for a book to be queried and picked up my mainstream publishers.  Expect lots of rejection letters.  Expect lots of generic rejection letters with words like, "I just didn't love the work enough to be a champion for it."  Odds are, they didn't even read what you submitted in the first place.

 

Third, know who to query.  "Christian" literary agents exist but if you have genre fiction outside of Romance, they are few and far between.  If you have a devotional, Amish Romance, some sort of Christian non-fiction, then you'll find a few that might pick you up.  If you're like me, and have a Fantasy book, you'll be querying "Secular" agents.

 

Build a list of agents and publishers you want to query.  Query 6 to 10 agents at a time.  When you exhaust your list of agents, THEN start querying publishers.  This is because you want to avoid the situation where both you and an agent may be talking to a publisher about the same book.  Or, if you find an agent, you don't want the door closed to them at any given publisher because you've already submitted your book and it was rejected, or sitting in the publisher's slush pile. 

 

Most large publishers will not take unagented manuscripts.  There are those that do, mostly smaller, indie publishers.  Your list of these publishers will be far smaller than the list of agents.  To this end, it is worth the investment to pick up a copy of Writers Marketplace (2021).  They will have a full list of agents and publishers you can query.

 

When all else fails, there is self-publishing.

 

 

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Be prepared for lots of disappointment and tears.  And lots, and lots of patience.  They will take several weeks to months to reply - if they reply at all.  I would recommend setting up a spreadsheet and noting not only when you send your work in but also their anticipated date to get back to you or the date they say if you have not heard from that it is a 'no'.

 

As Jeff says work on your 1-line pitch, synopsis, marketing plan etc. You will need it. And good luck.

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On ‎3‎/‎2‎/‎2021 at 11:57 AM, Shamrock said:

Be prepared for lots of disappointment and tears.  And lots, and lots of patience.  They will take several weeks to months to reply - if they reply at all.  I would recommend setting up a spreadsheet and noting not only when you send your work in but also their anticipated date to get back to you or the date they say if you have not heard from that it is a 'no'.

 

I agree.

 

Your "take them off the list" date, I've found here in the US, is anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks.

 

There are those that will have you submit through a service called "QueryManager."  I've found that the people who utilize this service tend to be the most prompt in returning a reply within the timeframe they specify. 

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8 hours ago, Shamrock said:

Query nanager? That's a new one. 

Yep.  The submission form is a "fill in the blanks" kinda thing.  It sends an acknowledgement that your submission was received.  AND, you can go and check the status of your query.

 

 

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Sounds similar to Writers Edge and Christian Book Submission - from neither of which I got any interest from their publishers and agents. (and both require a fee for 6 months subscription). Think I will stick to the direct approach. 

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4 hours ago, Shamrock said:

Sounds similar to Writers Edge and Christian Book Submission - from neither of which I got any interest from their publishers and agents.

 

It is important to note that some Christian Publishers will accept agented proposals or proposals from Writers Edge or Christian Book Submission but not from an author without an agent. Years ago I read that those two services work better for nonfiction, not fiction.

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It's also worth noting that your query and/or book proposal (some agents/publisher want them now, even for fiction) needs to be flexible and easily edited. If you look at what an agent or small publisher asks for during submission, it will be different every time. There are common threads, of course, but I must have 20-30 different versions of queries/proposals by now.

 

And it is a long, hard slog. Don't give up!

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While all the major publishers do now accept manuscripts through agents, there are still some small press publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts or at least queries. 

 

You've gotten good advice already. I'm in the process of creating my book proposal(s) and researching publishers for a new project. If you don't have Christian Writer's Market Guide, you can accomplish a lot just by googling publishers who publish your genre. Then go to their website and find out specifically what they publish and what they require about submitting (or not). 

 

The submission process is tedious, lengthy, and often discouraging. Then suddenly you might get an email rejection with the comment--I enjoyed your writing style. Or interesting topic or story. Any sort of personal note will lift you up and send you forward to the next publisher. 

 

Good luck.

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

24 minutes ago, Shamrock said:

Has anyone used Query Tracker? If so, is it any good?

 

I joined, tried it, but went back to my spreadsheet.  Not all agents use it, and when you factor in agents that aren't open to queries, and those looking for specific genres, you're not left with a whole bunch of possibilities.  

 

Speaking of QueryTracker, I just got my last rejection letter today.  The agent that requested more chapters said my work "didn't fit her lists at this time."  But she added, "You are very talented," as a consolation.

 

🙄

 

On to hitting up publishers, I guess.

 

 

EDIT: Ignore that part about using it.  I thought you meant QueryManager.  My bad.

Edited by Jeff Potts
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Having looked at both manage and tracker I think I will pass. I have a system already for tracking and I don't understand why an agent would use a 3rd party to search for MS when they got lots anyway.

 

29 rejections/no replies.  1 waiting list.  2 pending

 

Onwards and forwards.

 

 

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