Saturday, July 17, 2010

Agents, Authors and Books, Oh My!

You know that space between an ant's chin and the ground?  That's how close I came to handing off my synopsis and author bio (along with the first 3 chapters of my book) to a full-fledged literary agent today.  I suppose I saved myself a bit of frustration in the long run by not doing so.

There we were talking, laughing, almost on a first-name basis, when I reached into my bag to retrieve just a fraction of my manuscript; it's the one that wakes me up at night and gnaws at me during every waking moment, begging to be finished already!  Turns out, Agent X doesn't represent Christian authors!  Oops:(  Somehow I missed that - I was still hanging on the fact that she was desperate for young adult historical fiction.  My bad.

Today I learned that writing/finishing my book and publishing it are not impossible.  The Book Festival was full of smiling, beaming first-time authors, all sitting at tables behind neatly-stacked fruits of their labor.  And I just have to say:  How exciting!  Congratulations to them.  Someone believed in them enough to publish their work.  Someone took their manuscript, their idea and said, "Yep.  This will sell - there's a market for this.  Sign here, please."

Along with the open mingling and hum of conversation I enjoyed wonderful, information-filled seminars.  My head is still trying to download it all; I met a few literary agents, an editor/consultant, several authors, some just newly published, many book lovers, and a whole lot of folks just like me; some were stalled at various points along the writing journey while others seemed to be waving  back from the finish line!  Either way, today proved that there is much to be learned about the publishing industry, the business side of writing, and I was fortunate enough to be in the midst of it all.  But I realized that the only difference between me and those published authors is a contract......and of course, book sales!  I believe it's a totally do-able, yet ambitious goal, and with God, I'll achieve it.

Today's book festival has given me the extra kick in the sweat pants toward pitching an actual agent who DOES accept work from a Christian perspective. I trust and believe that God will do the rest.


Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, 
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:25,26 (NIV)

3 comments:

  1. Hi Debbie,

    I love your blog. Good job. And I, too, believe that you can become a published author. You absolutely may not need an agent, though. Many publishers prefer to work directly with the author. There are 37 publishers listed under the "religious-fiction" subject in Writer's Market and 32 listed in the "Spiritual-fiction" category and most of them are medium to small publishers that do not require an agent.

    If you decide to make yours a nonfiction book, there are around 175 publishers of "religious" works and nearly 100 under the "spiritual" category.

    I suggest going to the bookstore and locating books similar to the one you're writing (and/or do a search on Amazon.com)and see who is publishing these books. It is a good idea to have an idea about which publishers you are most interested in even before you complete your book.

    And as I said, you may not need an agent at all.

    Patricia Fry
    PS I'm glad you found the book festival/conference worth your time. It is always a good idea to break away from the writing from time to time and check out what's going on in the industry, with other authors, etc.

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  2. Good for you, Debbie. Keep learning...be persistent. It will happen. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I know how it feels to find an agent you think might actually respect your work only to find out that religion is a sore subject for them (or a non-subject). I wish you the best of luck with your writing!

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