Hey, all! Sorry in advance that this post is so short—I completely forgot that this was my week to write a post and I’ve been doing homework all day, so…it’s probably going to be pretty short! 😀
So, I never actually thought that I would be the expert on this in the group—I honestly expected that Renee, Holly, and Chief would have gotten publishing contracts long before I did. Somehow I actually managed to sign one last year (on my main character’s birthday to boot), and the first book of my YA high fantasy series, “The Empire of Tarn: A House Divided”, will be published by Beacon Publishing Group next September. (YAY! 😀 ) The way I went about it, however, was a bit…different, and I wanted to give y’all some tips on traditionally publishing so you don’t have to go the way I did! 😀
- Research agents before you send your manuscript to them.
When I started trying to traditionally publish, I basically just went on Google, searched “fantasy agents” and sent my manuscript to as many of them as I could find. That’s not the best idea, however. While you can find agents in your genre that way, just blindly searching without looking into their reputation or their current clients means that you could end up with an agent who is known for being shady or making disreputable deals. I still don’t actually have an agent yet (I’m trying to find some to send my dark fantasy book to at some point), but I’m doing research to make sure that I find an agent who has a good reputation both with their clients and the publishing companies. One of the best places to look is PublishersMarketplace, though you can find other agencies through Google or Bing. Just make sure you take a look at their reviews! (also, here’s a helpful list of (some) agencies to AVOID: https://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-authors/writer-beware/thumbs-down-agency/)
- If you’re previously self-published, reviews are key
When I got in touch with Beacon, one of the things the editor didn’t necessarily like was that my book had no reviews on either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (I self-published through places). It may feel weird asking for reviews, but if you want to go from being self-published to traditionally published, they are essential to letting agents and editors know that people liked you book. I’ve had more than one person tell me that they love my book but aren’t going to leave a review, which is more than a bit annoying. If you know someone who has read and enjoyed your book, this is the one time I’m giving you permission to bug and pester them. Annoy them so much that they finally review the book in protest. (xD xD) Reviews give future agents and editors confidence that people actually like your book, and are further motivation to pick up your book.
- If you’re going to send your manuscript in unsolicited, be prepared to WAIT.
Like everything else, writing takes time. Time to develop the plot, time to world-build (if you’re writing that sort of novel), time to write, time to edit, time to edit again (because you’re never done editing), etc. Something that takes the most time, however, is waiting to hear back from a publishing company, especially if you’re unsolicited. Most companies that take unsolicited (at least the ones that I looked at, though I also had to search for ones who also took previously self-published works) manuscripts gave a waiting period of at least a month (6 weeks at the most, most times) before they make a decision. Depending on how many places you send your manuscript to, you could be waiting months before you find out whether a certain company passed on your WIP. Also, on a related note, make a note somewhere of where you sent your WIP to. I never really kept track, and even after signing my contract I’m still receiving emails from different companies passing on my work. 😊 😉
That’s all for today…as previously stated, I would write more, but with my homework (doctrinal statements & a thesis) at the moment I don’t really have time. 😀 I hope you’re all having a great day, and I’ll talk to you all soon!