Sunday, January 6, 2008
Is 2008 the Year You'll Get Published?
Akemashite omedeto gozaimasu is one way to say “Happy New Year” in Japanese. Literally it means something like, “Congratulations on the opening of the new year,” and I like to think that at this time we’re all open to new possibilities. For those who want 2008 to be the year they get their novel published, here is some info and resources I hope you’ll find helpful.
Before you send out your queries to agents, you should make sure that your manuscript is ready. In an illuminating series of articles in the latest issue of Poets & Writers magazine (Jan/Feb 2008) one agent says that the biggest mistake a writer can make is submitting a manuscript too soon. Do you have trusted readers who can critique your novel who will give you honest, constructive feedback? Have you considered hiring a manuscript consultant to look at your work? A good place to start might be researching writing teachers at your local colleges and universities who may offer such a service. And, you never know, some of your favorite authors may also do manuscript consultations on the side--check out their Web sites. If plot is one of your weak points, you may want to look into Blockbuster Plots.
As far as finding an agent, there are a couple of sites I recommend. One is AgentQuery.com, which offers loads of useful information on the process of querying agents. Another feature is the ability to search for agents who represent particular genres and styles of novels.
Publishers Marketplace is another great site. The first thing to do is to sign up for their Publisher’s Lunch and Deal Lunch e-mail newsletters. These are free and will give you industry news that is useful in finding what types of novels agents are selling. A paid subscription to the Web site will give you even more features, including your own Web page and the ability to search on agents and what they’ve sold over the last several years.