In a few weeks I will complete the first draft of my novel. I've been workshopping it from the beginning with three other writers, all of whom have published novels or books of poetry. One is a performance artist who writes and performs extensively in the San Francisco Bay Area. I've also shared the ms with a few editors working in the area but have not submitted the ms for developmental editing.
The feedback has all been strongly positive and encouraging. I do not have an agent and I've not published a novel before. My question is: what do I do next?
If you are interested in hooking up with other/objective readers before (or during) a querying process, feel free to join the new group - Reader to Reader:
Whether or not you are interested in this group, good luck and congratulations on finishing your first draft!
well, I guess you need to edit that draft until it feels it needs no more, package up the first three chapters of your novel, write a brilliant one-page selling letter and start pitching to small handfuls of agents at a time!
I am with Vanessa - get the second, third or forth draft done (whatever it takes to get the work completed to YOUR satisfaction). I would then get some beta readers - folks that will be open and honest about what they are reading - and implement their feedback into another draft.
THEN get a list of all the agents that accept your type of manuscript. Break that list down into A, B, and C - A being the agents you would MOST want to work with. Now complete their list of requirements for submission and send it out to your A listers - be sure you include a note that you are sending it out to other agents and also be sure that the agents you query ACCEPT simultaneous submissions.
Repeat the process if necessary for the B listers and then the C listers.
Thank you, Kathryn.
Writers Digest has a helpful online guide to agents, etc. You can find it here:
Hope that helps!
Thanks so much!
What I did was compose a one-page query letter and send it out to one agent with whom I'd taken a couple of classes on "How to Write a Query Letter" believe it or not. That was in December of 2010. I didn't think she'd read it over the holidays, but in case she passed on representing me, I planned to attend a Writers' Conference held the 3rd weekend of January the following year. I needed to get the early bird registration discount, so I actually asked the agent if she could give me her decision on the first working day of the year, which I think was January 3.
All the members of my novel critique group laughed about that one -- it's a serious faux pas in agenting etiquette to give THEM deadlines. But, too late. I'd done it.
I waited all through the holidays and the first email in my inbox at 9 a.m. sharp was from the agent. She said she loved the novel, but couldn't represent me because she had moved into foreign subsidiary rights and consequently had neglected relationships with editors at the major publishing houses. But she offered to send my ms along to all her other agent friends with a strong endorsement if I agreed. Of course I agreed!
Literally 5 minutes after replying to that email, I got another email from another agent requesting to see the manuscript. She eventually passed on it, but her partner took me on and four months later, I landed a contract with Penguin books. My novel is set to be released in May 2013.
I'm in the same boat. I've also just finished my first draft, working with a group of writer friends (although none have been published) for critique and feedback. I don't think it's quite "ready" to be sent out; I know I need another, professional set of eyes on it. I've contacted several editors and their prices to read through the whole thing - approx. 87,000 words - are way too expensive. Should I lower my expectations and just find an editor who's inexpensive and then search for agents myself? I suck at queries, BTW. I feel like I'm being tied down; I finished the hardest part, but can't seem to move forward to the next step.