Agent realities

When I started writing fiction seriously, I had a plan. It went a little like this:
1. Continue to hone my craft by taking classes, entering contests, getting feedback from CP’s (and write, write, write)
2. Network and establish relationships with other authors and agents
3. Get an agent
4. Get published

Simple, right? Well, yes and no. The first two items went well. And after two years and three manuscripts (and a lot of help from #1 and #2), I got my agent.

That was a little over a year ago, and the manuscript is still making its rounds…so part four of the plan…still a work in progress.

I had this lovely delusion that once I had the agent, the book contract would follow immediately. Don’t get me wrong—I knew full well that this didn’t always happen. I just believed it would for me. In part, this was because my agent believed so strongly in my manuscript, she actually had me write the second book in the series. In part, I KNEW that this manuscript was good—as good or better than much of what was already being published. And we were both right.

What we were both wrong about (or maybe too optimistic about) was the current state of the publishing market. It is a tough, tough, tough world out there. Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time. And that day will come. I even believe it will come soon.

I have a great agent, and my new manuscript is shaping up nicely. But what do I do in the meanwhile, while waiting for #4 to happen?

See #1 and #2.

I don’t enter contests anymore; I got what I was going to get out of that experience, although I believe it was extremely valuable. I don’t take many classes anymore, although I do plan to take Lucy March’s “Discovery” class—I’ve heard great things about it, and it is tackling the exact area where I am weakest (the pre-writing stage of character and world-development). Mostly, I intent to write, write, write. And edit, edit, edit. And listen to my critique partners when they say, “I loved this bit, but that part…bleh.” After all, that’s why you have CP’s—so they can read your work, tell you what’s wrong with it, and then you can fix it.

Do that enough, and with a little luck, you’ll get to part #4 of the plan. I’ll keep you posted.

Deborah Blake


5 responses to “Agent realities

  1. Raymond Bolton

    Good luck. Still working on #3. I almost had #4 last year (even before #3), but the publishing house decided they were looking for works “of more epic scope” before the editor finished reading my Ms. So they passed, despite his recommendation they pick it up. Sometimes everything about the book can be right and the timing’s wrong—by weeks.

  2. Jar O' Marbles

    I am a firm believer that everything happens when it is supposed to. And I am also a firm believer that you have to do your part or nothing is going to happen lol.

  3. There’s a susbstantial bit of luck/timing involved in #3 and #4, which puts them out of one’s control. So it’s better to focus on #1 and #2, because they’re the other necessary ingredients for the next two – and they are the things you can control. More or less. =)

  4. Lather, rinse, repeat. 😀

    Good luck Deb!

  5. Deborah, I totally get this. You (all of us) have an idea of what will happen in the publishing world – it is rarely, if ever, what happens. Like you, I have to keep going. Sometimes I have to adjust my expectations. Sometimes I have to try something new and completely different. The trouble is that you never know which of these things will work – it’s kind of like walking blind.


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