Tip #1: Call for Help!
Written by
Laura Brennan
October 2015
Written by
Laura Brennan
October 2015

Quick recap: I've finished my first novel and am tackling the traditional route. Step one: query agents.

As I was combing through lists of agents and trying to find those who represented my kind of novel, the first thing I realized was how little I knew. We can call it "beginner's mind" or we can tell it like it is: I had no idea what I was doing.

So I phoned a friend.

My friend had been in publishing as an editor before moving into television, which is where we met. I took her out to lunch and peppered her with every newbie question I could think of: how the business worked, what common mistakes I would probably make, what I was already doing wrong. She very kindly critiqued my query letter and looked over my list of agents, then went above and beyond and asked one of her friends, someone still in the biz, to do the same.

I learned so much.

Having heard that one needed to be concise, I was perhaps too concise. My hook was not the bit I thought it was. Each of them (my friend and her friend) added an agent to my list and gave me a better sense of some of the others and their preferences. It was invaluable.

Lesson learned this week: reach out. Ask for help. Really listen when it's given.

I think it's hard sometimes for writers to reach out for help -- maybe it's hard for everyone, but we seem to be a particularly introverted lot! But really we are so connected, from professional associations (shout out to Sisters in Crime and the Horror Writers Association, which are both incredibly supportive) to Internet groups like SheWrites. And I truly believe that people love to help.

Up next: sending out the first query letters!

Let's be friends

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  • Laura Brennan

    Thank you, Kalisha! I am focusing on the journey part of it, and starting the next book. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Kalisha

    Congratulations Laura on the start of a wonderful journey! Blessings, Kalisha