Thursday, 27 August 2009

The Search Begins

So, spurred on by encouraging remarks, my next plan of action was to seek out agents, publishers or editors - or any one of them that would give me the time of day. All I needed, like every unknown writer of the No-Name Brand variety, was a foot in. Even a toenail would be nice. But because I was such a No-Name Brand with practically no experience whatsoever in the great big world of publishing, I did some oops' and oh-oh's.

I wouldn't so much as call them major oops, since having walked into it with my eyes wide open, I knew what to expect. Yes, like many, the temptation and the lure of self-publishing drew me in. But I have to admit, my experience with self-publishing or vanity publishers was not unpleasant at all. Aside from the fact that you had to pay them for services that traditional publishers would not even dream of charging the writer, the input and advice they offered me was invaluable. It made me look again at my manuscript with more scrutiny.

I re-read it and re-read it until I knew it by heart. Then I changed sentences, added more paragraphs, fixed grammatical errors, sentence structures and deleted unnecessary words and in some places, deleted entire paragraphs. I was now happy with it, but not sure I wanted to proceed with the whole self-publishing route. At the back of my mind, there was that niggling little voice that told me my work was not worth anything if I had to pay to have it published. So I went back online and scoured the networks for agents/publishers and or editors.

During the course of my quest, and might I stress that I concentrated mainly on the respectable and credible websites only, I came across a site called Preditors and Editors - P&E for short. Their site offered invaluable information and helped me to source many credible establishments. Then I hooked into, a forum-based site where writers can get together and share their thoughts, experiences, and aspirations with other like-minded people. Through them, I could then investigate each new agent/publisher via their Writer's Beware forum. It was like striking gold. Their knowledge and experience was invaluable! It was like having a fully-detailed map that took you to the end of the rainbow.

While keeping the option for self-publishing wide open (but the purse string tied tightly), I began my journey into the confusing realm of submission guidelines: query letters, synopsis, book blurbs and marketing strategies. For the better part of six months, my world revolved around creating the perfect query letter and synopsis after each submission was rejected. And with each rejection, you start to wonder if you've categorized yourself into the wrong genre, if the first three chapters were too dull, if you worded your query letter wrong, if, if, if...

As my list of literary agents who rejected me grew longer and longer and the agents left to tackle grew shorter and shorter, despair and dejection began to fester. I am sure I suffered as most new writers do when they start out. That thought alone would boost my spirits and once again, I'd plough on.

And on...

Self-publishing was starting to look really, really good...

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