Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How to get yourself an agent (the impossible promise)

As the days go by I am becoming more and more familiar with the whole self publishing thing.  I know, I know, I haven't yet made myself enough money to call myself a successful writer (at least financially) but I have made enough money to buy me and my friends a round at Starbucks, and for now at least I will enjoy these small trinkets of success and the taste of a hot Chai tea latte.  My book is slowly being picked up from the electronic shelf and given some consideration, sometimes enough to purchase one.  I am especially pleased to see books being sold in America.....I only know a handfull of people there and so maybe, just maybe there are people I don't know who are buying my book out of nothing but interest.  Now that to me seems like a good start!

Yet the more I make my way around this electronic self publishing world there are people and stories that promise me the world.  I click on blog posts that promise me that if I have a killer first letter, and a cracking manuscript it's as easy as pie, but even with a recipie I was never very good at making that work either.  The thing is, I believe I have a good story in The Loss of Deference.  I believe that my approach letter was not too shoddy either.  Yet there is a box that I have so far refused to label 'failure' tucked in a cupboard in my house jam packed with standard rejection letters.  It's sits next to my recipie books.  I hold on to the hope that sometimes it simply wasn't read (at least I know that I can't read thirty or so pages without creasing a few).  I hold on to the fact that they are so overloaded with work that they couldn't give me a proper chance.  So the promise of agent representation if you can tick your way down box A, B, C and D doesn't wash with me anymore.  I believe you need all those things, plus a hefty slice of luck (and maybe if you know somebody who works at B and N, thats quite high up on the list too!). 

I will forever be grateful to the agent that shall remain nameless for taking just a few of his precious '100-new-manuscripts-today' filled moments to send me a personal email to tell me that he liked my story and my style of writing.  That he took a moment to tell that he thought I had something, but that he wasn't the right agent for me made my day.  It was the best rejection/failure ever, and the whole I-am-going-to-publish-my-book-come-no-matter-what attitude was born.  Somebody liked it.  Not somebody who loved me.  Somebody who didn't even know me.  Somebody thought my writing didn't suck.  So in with the letters of rejection, I stowed away my Writer and Artists year book (2009 copy) and stuck to my guns.  I may not have got the support of an agent yet, but what I am learning as an author is that the other thing you need is a hefty dose of self belief.  Maybe if I hang on to that, the agent might find me instead a bit further down the line.


  1. If we combine sales we can buy TWO rounds of Chai Tea Lattes!!

    1. Ok, but let's rain check until we have enough to buy the tickets to share that round of chai tea somewhere geographically in the middle of us both!