Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Submitting to agents - Part III

Last week I provided the breakdown of the number of agents I have submitted to and the number of replies.

This week I will reveal the update as well as provide the link to the resource I've been using to query these agents. Note that this resource is only for Science Fiction and Fantasy writers. So you'll need to check the agent websites for other agents in that agency whom might accept other genres.

Total so far:

49 queries sent (2 were closed to submissions so really 47)
11 thanks but no thanks replies (as above so really 9)
1 request for a partial manuscript (50 pages)
1 request for the full manuscript (Yah!!!!)

This is good. 22% responses means that there is still almost 80% that might still read and say yes. However, as a professional courtesy to the agent who has requested the entire manuscript, I am now on hold for sending more agent queries.

Now for my source:

Published to Death BlogSpot
Erica Verillo has written seven books and published five. She has a blog dedicated to helping authors avoid the mistakes she made. Definitely add this to your favourites bar because this blog is always revealing agents who are looking for new authors.

Google is another resource for finding agents. Check out some of your favourite authors and checked out their agent websites.

Query Tracker is the other resource I'll get stuck into once I've utilised all the addresses in the Published to Death list. You use the search functions to narrow down your search to genre etc. You sign up but its a free registration and then you can search the world.

I cannot stress how professional and responsive agents are in this business. They totally understand that without authors they have no jobs, and they receive hundreds of submissions a day yet they still glance or read over every query. The replies I've received have given me a great admiration for the hard work they do. Now if I can land myself an agent I'd be pleased to tell them all this personally.

Good luck in your querying and please let me know how you go.
D L Richardson

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Submitting to agents - part II

A week ago I began submitting to agents for my latest novel. I spoke in the previous post about submitting in batches of 5 to 8 agents. This way you can get an idea if the pitch isn't working, or if the sample pages you sent aren't intriguing enough.

I thought I would give an update on the progress so far.

Number of agents pitched to: 43, though 2 have since closed to submissions, so 41
Number of replies so far: 7
Number of partials requested: 1

Most interesting rejection:

Unfortunately, it is not right for my list.  However, I wish you the best luck in your search for the right agent (and hope to see you in print soon).
My response: Huh? Isn't wishing to see me in print kinda what the agent's task is?
Well, there you go. Part II of Pitching to agents in a nutshell.
Pitching to agents is a rough and rocky road. don't let anyone tell you it's easy. On the positive side, agents are much faster at responding than publishers. Agents read the submissions, and most will send a reply. Read these replies carefully as there may be hidden meanings.
What could make the pitching easier?
If I didn't have a full time job at the moment. The job is winding up but before that happens I'm working full time. So I can only submit to about 5 agents per night. But, as I mentioned this does give me the chance to teak my pitches.
If I had a faster internet connection. Do not let anyone from Australia dare tell you that we have fast internet. We don't. Turkeys bake faster than it takes to load an image to a blog site, hence why there are no images.
If I knew somebody who knew somebody who was looking for somebody that they knew who wrote a book.
I'll keep you updated. I'm off ot submit to a few more agents tonight.
In the next post I'll share with you my resources for where I got the agent information from. Stay tuned.
And best of luck to you if you are pitching to agents. I'd love to hear how you're going.
D L Richardson

Monday, 8 June 2015

Submitting to agents

Hello everyone. Long time no speak. I've been very quiet on the blogging and social sites for months and months now, while I've been busily writing and editing book one of my sci-fi/fantasy series. Writing, editing, promoting, conducting workshops, pitching, and I still have to juggle a full time job, housework, exercise, and family and friends. This would be so much quicker if I could just write every day, but I also want to live. Which leads me to the next bit.

Two of the most often asked questions asked of writers are:

1. How long does it take to write a book?
2. How long does it takes to get that book published?

There is no definitive answer. It takes as long as it takes, and with most writers having lives and jobs, unless we can write full time, it is going to take longer. But with practice and a lot of discipline and ignoring friends and hygiene, you should get better and therefore faster.

I set a personal goal a few years back of having two books written per year. I have to say that I'm on track in some ways but not on track in others. I did get two books written in a little over a year but by the time I add in the edits for book two it will probably be more like one book per year.

Just to give everyone an idea of who much work goes into the writing and publishing process, I thought I'd share the timeline for my latest book:

WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE is an adult sci-fi/fantasy series. I have 3 books definitely planned, perhaps up to 6.

Book One:
Feb 2014            Writing commenced
May 2014           First draft finished, 118,000 words
May 2014           Editing commenced
Aug 2014           Book one completed, 127,000 words
Aug 2014           Submitted to publisher
Sep 2014            Followed up with publisher - received but not read, asked to check back in a few months
Dec 2014            Followed up with publisher - still not read, asked to check back in the new year
Feb 2015            Followed up with publisher - still not read, asked to check back in two months
Apr 2015            Followed up with publisher - advised should have an answer soon
May 2015           Publisher passed but provided feedback
May 2015           Re-writes began
Jun 2015             Re-writes finished
Jun 2015             Query to agents

Book Two:
Oct 2014            Writing commenced
Apr 2015            First draft finished, 124,540 words
Jun 2015             Edits will commence- once I have finished sending the queries out to agents.

I'm going to do things differently this time. I'm going to submit to agents first.

Does a writer need an agent? No. There are many publishers who accept submissions from unagented authors. BUT once a publisher says no you can't go back to them, and this can leave an agent with a reduced number of publishers that they can push the book to. Maybe they have a better rapport with the publisher and maybe they can sell the book, but not if a publisher has already said no.

When you send off query letters you must keep a register. I use excel so I can record the agent's name, the agency, the date I queries, what I sent such as query letter and first ten pages, what the usual response time is if listed on their website, plus the email address.

What is VERY important to remember at this stage is that you MUST follow the submission guidelines. Every literary agency has them. Some want five pages, twenty, nothing but a letter. The reason it's so important to follow these guidelines is that you don't want to give them a reason to say no.

This can make the query process a lengthy one. You need to read each submission guideline, you need to read the agent profile so you're sending your submission to the best agent.

For example:

Jun 6, 2015       Submitted to 5 agencies:
  • one page query letter x2
  • one page query letter and first 5 pages x1
  • one page query and first 10 pages x2

June 7, 2015     Submitted to 10 agencies:
  • one page query x1
  • one page query and first 5 pages x4
  • one page query and first 10 pages x2
  • one page query and first 20 pages x1
  • one page query and first chapter x1
  • one page query and first 50 pages x1

Well, I am off to write some more query emails (there are hundreds of agents I can approach and I will) so I will keep you updated on the progress. Just a quick note on queries to agents. I've discovered that they expect you to send queries to multiple agents. So don't bother with exclusivity at this stage, or at any stage for that matter - until someone is sending you a contract there IS no exclusivity. Still, this doesn't mean you can't tailor your query to suit the agent. Use their name in the email and if they have any interested in the profile it's nice to mention them. After all, they are human too.

If you have any similar tales I'd love to hear them.

Till next update, take care.

D L Richardson