When I self-published my first book, I followed a dream I’d had since I was in my early twenties. I’d read so much about applying to agents and trying to get a publishing deal that I felt paralysed whenever I even contemplated writing a book synopsis or a cover letter.
I’m proud of that first novel, and a subsequent Memoir, but I also learned a lot during the process. I was very lucky to have found a fantastic group for Indie Authors on Facebook IASD (Indie Author Support and Discussion). They are a generous and friendly bunch and most supportive.
I also found a great cover artist, Jane Dixon-Smith, for my novel, and a developmental editor to check over the umpteenth edit and give me an overview of pacing, plot, consistency of voice etc. Jennie Kremmer of www.bookanvil.com was an excellent match for me and a most accomplished editor and writer too. Jennie hails from Australia. She offered me a sample edit. It was comprehensive and most helpful. I decided to invest in her and she in me. This is the power of connection through the Internet, which is a double-edged sword, as we all know. Paying for a copy edit was not in my budget.
And believe me, you’ll always find errors, even if you’ve read your work many times and had generous friends and beta readers doing the same.
I didn’t bother doing too much marketing because I wanted to wait until I had at least a couple of novels out there and perhaps even feel like a real author. But I kept on writing because I need to. I write poetry too and love the rhythm of the words. The first couple of lines of a poem will pop into my head at the most unlikely moments, e.g. changing the sheets, weeding, walking or cooking.
With a couple of other novels on the go and a new one finished, I received a message from a friend with a link to win a Date with an Agent for an upcoming event to be held in Dublin.
She sent it not once, but thrice. The dread of writing a Synopsis and the fact that I had very little time to do it gave me a good excuse not to apply. But then, I changed my mind and buckled down to the dreaded task.
After much struggle to tell the story in a synopsis (the guidelines were for a max word count of 750 (if I remember correctly), to formulate a cover letter and a short bio, I did a quick online search and realised the synopsis the agent wants should not conceal the outcome of your story. Good thing I checked on that. So, you don’t write something like, “Will she succeed in fleeing her pursuer,” or “Will he manage to gain back the millions wrongfully stolen from him.”
I sent off my short bio, my email, sample pages and Synopsis and maintained a very Zen-like attitude about it. I was sure I had a slim chance of being chosen, especially as I discovered I’d made an error in my Synopsis. As it turned out, the agent would have preferred a one-page Synopsis.
Imagine my delight when I discovered I was one of the fifteen authors chosen to have an extra session with an agent.
No, we weren’t flown in and put up in a top-notch hotel, no limo either. We had to buy our tickets too, like everyone else, but I’ll reserve that dream for a future date
This was definitely thrilling. Success is measured by small steps.
There were five agents, YA Fiction, Sci-Fi, Women’s Fiction, Literary fiction and Crime/Thriller. Of those fifteen chosen, five had an extra session with their selected agent..
While it wasn’t a one-to-one session, it was insightful and I wanted to share the information with others who like me may have been reluctant to look for an agent for their work.
This is the condensed information for authors looking for a publishing deal.
To be continued … (I’m sorry but I realise I need to split this post into two sections. I promise I’ll post the next part within the next few days!)