There are several publishing houses out there who do not require an agent. This sounds tempting until I read the fine print for their submission guidelines.
The one that I’m considering requests a query email, a 2-5 page synopsis and the entire manuscript as attachments.
My concern centers around my constant worry that someone will ‘borrow’ my story without my knowledge. Compared to the usual process that an agent requires, which is a query letter first, after which they request perhaps the synopsis and possibly the first three chapters, it seems to me that providing everything upfront, electronically, with no prior interaction with a human being puts me at somewhat of a disadvantage.
Am I being a bit paranoid? Probably.
I’d be interested to hear from those of you who are published whether you worked through an agent or dealt directly with a publisher.
Posted in Publishers | Tagged agent, agent response, agents, fiction, first novel, first three chapters, manuscript, marketing, novel pitch, publisher, query letter, Synopsis | 2 Comments »
In my inbox this morning sat an email from an agent I recently queried. She represents another cozy mystery writer in the Sisters In Crime organization, and was recommended to me by another agent.
My fingers paused above the file, not sure if they wanted to open it or not. Would I be lucky and get a hit on nearly my first try? Or would she tell me ‘Thanks, but no thanks.’ ???
After several minutes of debate, I hit the enter key and zoomed in on her words like a starving writer…only to be disappointed. Her rejection said my hook was not sufficient to interest any of the editors she knows.
I’ve been told by both my writing groups that I’ve written a good story, so I’ll be pulling down my how-to books about query letters and improving this one paragraph description by echoing the tension and frustration of my main character.
On a positive note, the only way is up!
Posted in Agent Review | Tagged agent, agent response, agents, bad news, editor, fiction, first novel, Hook, manuscript, query letter, waiting game | 3 Comments »
Traveling this long and interesting road since I decided to try my hand at writing a novel has been a real eye opener. Who knew there was so much involved in putting my story on paper? I respect authors who have written an engrossing story, then managed to find an agent and a publisher. On the other hand, I’m sometimes disappointed with the quality of writing, wondering how a book managed to get published at all.
This brings me to my fear of putting my story out there if it’s not as perfect as I can make it. Fascinating characterization, interesting setting, thoughtful plot line, and control of back story. I’ve become a great lover of books written to educate a new writer. Most recently, I bought one called “The Emotion Thesaurus”. It provides a laundry list of examples to write the emotions of your characters without falling into the trap of cliche. As my writing group points out on a regular basis, I sometimes forget to include my protagonist’s emotions, assuming that the reader understands what’s going on in my characters’ heads. Wrongo!
As I’ve been reading through this new how-to book, I’m inspired to go back into my story and find places where the emotional impact of a scene can be more accurately shown…never told!…to make my protagonist more human.
If you have a favorite book about the craft of writing, I’d love to hear about it. Always looking for new volumes to add to my ever-expanding library.
Posted in revision | Tagged craft of writing, fiction, first novel, how-to-write books, revise, revision, writing, writing groups | 4 Comments »
…to send it out!!!
After many, many revisions, my story finally begins in the right place…I think.
My stronger protagonist encounters the “inciting incident” by the end of page seven.
I’ve moved evil back story into future chapters.
I’ve eliminated narrative that interrupts the plot.
I’ve eliminated duplications and replaced weak verbs with stronger ones.
I’ve been mindful that my internal and external character arc mesh and mingle.
I’m hopeful that readers will be hooked and not put it down until page 309…The End.
So why am I petrified to enter it into a contest for first time novelists!
Where do I find the nerve to JUST DO IT? …no idea.
My calendar is marked with a deadline of mid-October… will I push the button? Stay tuned.
Posted in Contests | Tagged character arc, deadline, fiction, first novel, first three chapters, Hook, manuscript, opening scene, writing, writing contest | 3 Comments »
During the past two weeks, I’ve been participating in an on-line course titled: “Revising Without Getting Sick of Your Manuscript” by Sylvie Kurtz. The lessons were provided daily via both email and the Yahoo Group website. Each day brought a different aspect of writing fiction:
8-20 – 1. Introduction
8-21 - 2. General Outlook
8-22 – 3. Plot and Structure
8-23 - 4. Point of View
8-24 – 5. Scenes
8-25 - 6. Characters
8-27 - 7. Dialogue
8-28 - 8. Backstory
8-29 - 9. Opening and Endings
8-30 – 10. Voice, Style, and Details
8-31 – 11. Conclusion
Sylvie is a fount of knowledge for each topic and provided examples to illustrate the point of each lesson. Her explanations and guidelines were easy to understand. But the best part of it all was her feedback! With her guidance, I now own a respectable pitch that I can send off to agents and publishers.
If you ever have the opportunity to take a course with Sylvie, I highly recommend that you do!
Posted in Online Course, revision, Seminars | Tagged fiction, first novel, manuscript, novel pitch, query letter, revise, revision | 3 Comments »
There’s a dramatic scene toward the end of my novel that begins to resolve the mystery. But I had the hardest time getting this chapter through one of my two writing groups.
The intention was to show frenetic activity as each character stumbled over the others. At first, I had each character’s actions shown in full. Then I tried alternating paragraphs of each characters’ actions to show everything happening at once.
Yesterday, as I went back and forth between the group comments and my subconscious muse, I finally figured out what was sending this scene off on the wrong track.
Too many characters too soon!
And so, I’m busy re-sequencing the timing to bring them into the scene one at a time instead of having all of them there at the beginning. One character finishes before another one enters to interact and move the story along. It seems to be flowing much better. Such a relief.
But wait! I shouldn’t get too excited yet… what if the group still doesn’t think it works???
Posted in revision | Tagged fiction, first novel, manuscript, revision, writing groups | 2 Comments »