Okay, so you’ve done it. You’ve accomplished your dream of writing a novel, a bonified complete manuscript, free from plot holes and flat characters… now what?
Now, it’s time to look at getting it published. Submitting your book to a publisher can be a confusing process and the industry works in very specific ways that you might not be aware of.
Fortunately, there is advice and help out there for anyone trying to navigate the tricky world of publishing. Here is the first of three articles that will share helpful tips on how to find an agent, what the submission process looks like, and what working with a publisher looks like.
HOW TO FIND A LITERARY AGENT
Major publishers no longer accept unsolicited manuscripts, meaning you can’t send your story directly to them. Although it’s still possible to send your manuscript directly to certain smaller, independent presses, the majority only accept submissions via a literary agent.
WHAT IS A LITERARY AGENT AND WHY DO YOU NEED ONE?
A literary agent will represent you and your writing, and they are responsible for submitting your book to publishers and ensuring that you get the very best possible deal/contract.
Agents work on commission, meaning they take a percentage of what you earn from your book, usually about 15%.
DO YOUR RESEARCH IN ORDER TO FIND THE BEST LITERARY AGENT FOR YOUR WORK
Every agency has a website, and each agent will have their individual profiles, showing the list of writers they already represent as well as their own interests and tastes.
While searching for an agent, think about what is important to you. Would you prefer to work with an agent with a smaller client list who can dedicate more time to you? Would you like an agent who is more hands-on editorially?
Also, take a look at the acknowledgements in the back of your favourite books. Writers will usually name their agents. This is a useful way for you to know which agents would be most suited to your own tastes.”
ORGANISATION IS KEY
Use a spreadsheet to track which agents you have submitted your work to and make a note of their estimated response time. Agents have a busy job and they will often read submissions outside of work, as their day-to-day is filled up with work for their existing clients.