How to Survive Becoming an Author…Week 6…Surviving Literary Agents

Sorry it has been a few weeks since I’ve posted new material. I have been very busy with work and getting my latest book “Selfie Portrait” launched and promoted. If you are interested in seeing what it is all about, just check out https://www.amazon.com/Selfie-Portrait-Terry-James/dp/1537781677/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1475871764&sr=8-2

I also had an interview with the Toledo City Paper that came out this week. for more information on that, check out http://toledocitypaper.com/online/terry-james-fact-or-fiction/

Anyways, enough about me, this is about you, and your the reason I do this in the first place. You’ve written most, if not all, of your book. You’ve got dreams of walking into any bookstore in the country and seeing your months and months of hard work prominently displayed on their end cap. You get your ducks in a row and send a random copy of your manuscript to a publisher and eagerly await for them to send you that check for a hundred-thousand dollars to buy the rights. Fast forward forty years, your wife/husband asks you to come back in from you standing next to your mail box in the dead of winter, you never got a reply. That’s because your beautifully printed manuscript and brilliantly written cover letter got thrown out years before, unopened, and is now compost in some elderly woman’s cabbage garden, or was recycled into a political endorsement mailing which will also get shit canned.

The reason, publishers no longer deal with authors nor do they accept unsolicited manuscripts anymore, you need an agent. It seems sort of disheartening to think you will have to spit your book’s profits with someone else, but if you are one of the lucky few authors to snag one, it could really make your career as an author really take off.

So how do you get a literary agent you ask, well let me tell you, with the power of the ever dreaded “Query Letter…letter…letter… (just imagine the echo effect)”.

What is a query letter you ask? It is a letter basically asking an agent to represent you and your work, it details the project you are working on, and explains to the agent exactly why your book will be the next best thing to Harry Potter or 50 Shades of Grey or a combination of each (though I’d rather not know what happens behind the closed doors of Professor Dumbledore in that mash-up). Anyhow, the letter follows up with a brief description of you, your background in writing, and why you think you are qualified to write this book. easy right…WRONG!

You can ask just about any author who has succeeded in getting representation, and I bet this is the answer you get, “I was rejected hundreds of times beforeĀ I found my agent and publisher.” Agents are always looking at the market, seeing what sells and what doesn’t, unless you have something that fits that mold, is absolutely irresistible, or are a celebrity who can sell their name better than they can sell a book, your going to have a hard time finding one that is willing to put his/her reputation and royalty check on the line, especially first time authors. The key to getting someone’s attention…The “Query Letter…letter…letter… (just imagine the echo effect, again!)”.

Luckily, there are literally hundreds of resources online you can look up, the bad thing…there are literally hundreds of resources online you can look up. Not all will give you the best advise on the latest trends on what gets the agents attention, and when a single agent can receive upwards to hundreds of query letters per day, yours better stick out and be magnificent enough to put a tear in their eye. So who better to tell you how to accomplish this feat of letter writing…an agent, that’s who!

I recommend, if you are brave of heart, to look to none other than the “Query Shark” at http://queryshark.blogspot.com/ She is ruthless and painfully honest, but it is a resource that is invaluable and will help get you in the right direction.

Till next time, don’t give up, you can do this!

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