If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you already know that today was a big day for me. For those of you who don't follow me on those sites, first of all, please do, and second of all, I reached another milestone for my novel!
A literary agent is someone who works as a kind of middle man between the author and the publishing company. From what I have gathered in my research, an agent needs to love your book enough to want to represent it, then they will work to get an editor and publishing company to come on board as well. Publishing companies won't just take submissions from authors; they want to see that your book is good enough to capture the interest of an agent first.
So basically, everything now relies on me finding an agent. I can't move forward in the publishing process until I'm represented by someone. The good news though, is that I've already gotten the ball rolling in finding an agent. There's a unique kind of letter that you need to email to agents along with a few pages of your manuscript, and since I had known about this for quite some time, my letters were already written. I've gone back and tweaked them a number of times, but I basically had the letters ready to go.
Today, I re-read the letters, had my mom look them over (she's the best editor I've ever had), and then we picked my top four choices for representation. I didn't want to send emails to every single agent that I was interested in working with, because if no one asks to read the rest of the book then that's it. It's over. Instead, if you send to just a few agents, then if they don't ask to read the whole book, you can assume that maybe your letter needs to be fixed and then you can submit your work to other agents. While I do have hope that my letter was well-written enough to capture the attention of the agents to whom I submitted my work today, I didn't want to take any chances. So I decided to just email four agents, the four agents who I believe would be the best match for my book. Each of them were looking for something specific that I felt my book entailed, so I am hoping that they will be intrigued and want to read more. If they request to read the rest of the book, then I'll be able to email that later on.
The only problem with this part of the process? It can take four to six weeks to hear back from an agent! That's before I even get to send out the whole book. Four to six weeks just to hear whether or not they liked my letter and first ten pages. It's going to be a horrible month of waiting for me. Unfortunately, there's nothing that I can do to move the process along any quicker, and I just have to be patient and wait. But I believe that the waiting will all be worth it in the end.
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