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Rest Stop: Checking In From the Path
[Path to Print, Vol. 2]
It’s been a little bit since we checked in on my Path to Print but don’t worry — you haven’t missed anything. It’s moving, but it’s slow. 🐢
If you’ve been keeping up with me, you’ll know it’s been a rough couple of months on my end. Between my father’s death and other general work/life things, I am still walking this path, but it’s become more of a leisurely stroll than when I hit the ground running at the end of July.
I thought I would have submitted to agents by now, but I haven’t. It’s fine! (See, this is me giving myself grace and patience.) Perhaps it’s time to set some deadlines? After all, goals are just dreams with deadlines attached.
In my last post on this endeavor, I mentioned my goal was to get a list of five to ten agents. Well, long story short… that number has definitely changed.
(Except not “Sicily, 1912”—it’s “Midwest, 2023”) Picture this: Me. Pouring a cup of coffee. Opening the laptop. Typing into the search bar “how many agents should I query.” Me finding the most perfect advice. Me, jotting down a few more names, then finally, pressing SEND on those submissions.
Just kidding. This didn’t happen! There’s no way I’d find a “right” answer. Or get letters out that quickly! LOL!
Instead, what I’m doing is reading advice from agents who make it their business (Kate McKean’s Agents and Books is a good example) to help us aspiring authors find good information about the publishing game.
What I knew I would find is that this process isn’t easy.
What I didn’t expect to find is reading about other aspiring authors in their query journey sending letters to 100 agents or more! Exhausting work, this is!
I originally said I would be putting together a list of five to ten agents to begin my query journey.
Another LOL moment! Five to ten is barely the tip of the iceberg, from what I’m finding. I was reading that others will put together a list of at least eighty-five. EIGHTY. FIVE. GAH!
Look, when I think about it, it totally makes sense. You can’t just pick five to ten people and hope one of them will accept your work. Rejection is the name of this game, and us writers know that all too well. It’s a part of the journey. Aspiring authors are known to get hundreds of rejections. HUNDREDS! Some of us might even be lucky to get an actual rejection response, because most agencies have it listed in their submission guidelines that if we don’t hear back from them within a certain amount of time, consider it a pass. And that amount of time can wildly vary — I’ve seen it can take anywhere between four weeks to a year to receive a response.
So, obviously, I am modifying that goal. I’m not putting a number on it right now; rather, I’m doing more in-depth research on agents. Then… once I get a list of about, oh let’s say, thirty agents together, I will begin sending letters to the ones I’ve picked. After that round of letters go out, I’ll continue adding to my list. I’ll continue to submit to agents until I get something back from someone.
I’m still keeping my options open.
Option A: Secure an agent and sign a book deal! Yay! 🎉
Option B: Hire a professional editor and self-publish.
In July, I said if Option A took too long, I would go with Option B. What’s too long? TBD. Option B could even have a modification… and maybe that’s turn it into a podcast. IDK. It could happen. Fiction podcasts are becoming more popular, right? Anyway, I don’t think it’s wise to throw a date on the query process. I’m just going to do it, keep doing it, and hope I hear back from someone who wants to publish my story.
And I’ll keep working on novel number two in the meantime. 😉
You may be asking… what else is happening on the query front? Well, I am refining my query letter! Here are the roadblocks I’m working through:
Comp titles/authors. These are “comparative titles” or authors I could sit next to on the shelf. This is SO hard. I mean, how can I even compare myself to the authors I love reading? I sought feedback from one of my beta readers (Hi D, you’re the best) and without a beat, she said… Taylor Jenkins Reid. GAH! I can only hope an agent feels the same way.
Synopsis. For the query letter, the synopsis will be a bit more fleshed out that what you’d read on the back cover. It’s necessary to go into more detail for the query letter because you need to get the agent hooked quickly and make them want your manuscript like, yesterday. I received some feedback from two agents when I attended a literary conference through Writer’s Digest a while ago, and I was thrilled to find they both said my synopsis was concise and clear. I didn’t need to do much work to it after that.
Thank you, dear reader, for sticking with me through the end of this post and while I continue down my Path to Print . Hopefully in a future post, or one to paid subscribers, I will share the synopsis. If I’m “allowed” to — who knows if that’s a faux pas while actively looking for representation? I’ll try to find out before I update you on my progress.
What I will tell you is… it’s a mystery! And there’s a murder! I’ll give you a one-liner for now…
A journalist discovers the house she just bought was the scene of a murder-gone-cold that took place twenty years ago.
Until the next rest stop, my friends… ✌🏻✨