My manuscript is now at the hands of another agent that wants it exclusively for four weeks. This agent also happens to be the agent of my friend Jenni James. Having friends in the business definately helps! Hopefully her agent will either be interested or be able to refer me to someone that might be.
It's crossed my mind that some of you might not know the process for becoming a published writer. It's something I've had to research extensively so now it doesn't seem so daunting to me. I will try to give a quick overview of the process. First you have to write a book. That is easier said than done! For the past five years, being a published writer has been my goal but I haven't quite been able to get past the first step until recently. I knew I wanted to write and had begun several books, but the "magic" never seemed to happen. If you've ever tried to take pen to paper then you know what I was looking for. I expected to suddenly be inspired to write and not be able to stop. Well it wasn't until I read a book entitled "Becoming a Writer" by Dorothea Brande, that I was able to find that magic. It is there, ready for the taking, you just have to be willing to do the work to find it. Her book helped me to harness my own magic. Another thing that helped me was online writing groups. They are full of advice and inspirational posts.
Second, you have to rewrite, edit, reread, edit, have friends read, edit, etc. Once your story is something you are proud of (not perfect mind you, because I could sit on my book forever with the excuse that it's not perfect if I let myself.) then you write a query letter. This is the point where you decide if you want to find an agent or send to publishers without an agent. I personally would love to have an agent. For one, some of your bigger publishers only accept agented works. For another, the book business is about connections, when you get an agent you are getting connections. This can only help. Plus the agent only works on commission so you know they will do all they can to sell your book and get you the best possible deal. Once you have decided which way you are going to go check out "Writer's Market" from your local library. It is full of advice on how to write a query letter and how to approach agents or publishers. It also has a full reprotoire of agents and publishers. It gives you detailed information on what each agent/publisher is looking for, who to contact, how to contact them, and what to submit.
So now that I am submitting query letters to agents, I hope for them to request the manuscript (which is what happened today) and review it. Now I wait. This is the hard part. Now let's say she likes my manuscript the next step is a contract, then she will give me some edits for my story to make it more marketable. Then I have to have a synopsis, and any other things the publishers may require, that I can give to my agent so she can get a novel proposal together. She would then approach a few publishers at a time using her connections. Once I land I publisher I am told the real work begins, but I'm not quite sure what that is yet. As I move through this process I will keep you all informed.
If you have any questions I will try to answer them. Also check out my friend Jenni Jame's website. www.authorjennijames.com There is a link to her blog on there as well. Pretty soon she will posting an interview from her agent about how the publishing world works. It should be pretty informative.