This is my last blog, and I’m going to say for now. I still have hopes that some time in the future, we can bring Mama Writers back to current. But until then, the community will still be open and all past posts by both Mama Writers and our guests will be available for your viewing pleasure.
I’ve really enjoyed my time with Mama Writers, and getting to “talk” with all the readers of our site—readers/writers/authors alike. It’s always fun to meet new people, and this place that we’ve created has been especially wonderful, because we all have so much in common.
For my last post, I wanted to talk about something that I myself had struggled with for a long time. The age old writer’s question: Who do you submit to first: an agent or an editor?
I’d asked myself this same question for YEARS. Now if you’re asking yourself this question, I think you also need to ask yourself where you see your career going. (Ugh, did you notice I wrote some form of “you” six times in that last sentence? Lol—internal editor)
Do you want to be an e-pubbed author or a small press author? Do you want to write and be published with a larger house? Mass-market or trade paperback? Hardcover?
Once you’ve established that answer, then I think you can work on the original question. If you plan to work exclusively for an e-pub or small pub, I don’t think it is all that important to have an agent, and honestly, it would be hard to find one. Why? Agents don’t get paid until you do, and typically smaller houses will not give an advance, which means your agent would have to get paid a year or so down the road after you’ve signed a publishing contract and your book has been published and royalties start coming in—and even then it wouldn’t be that much, because you’re only getting quarterly (sometimes monthly) royalties. Now, I’m not saying authors of small prints don’t make decent money, because they do. But unless you’re established, it will be hard to find an agent who is willing to take you on for only small press publishing. (Kudos to you and your agent if you found each other!)
Most authors published in traditional print houses have an agent, and their advice to you will be: get an agent.
I’d been hearing that particular piece of advice for years, and believe me I tried! I wrote a book, and subbed it to over 20 agents who all politely (and some not so politely) rejected the book. In the meantime, I kept writing, kept querying. And I have to tell you, querying is my least favorite part of the whole writing process. I’m a story teller. I write, I create worlds, I don’t know how to sell myself. Well, you learn real quick how to do that! But just because you learn doesn’t mean you want to do it.
So, I queried to agents, kept getting rejected and started querying to editors at NY pubs. While I received a lot of requests for fulls from the editors, and even an “almost contract” that fell through, I was still getting rejections. I won’t say that I gave up, but I was close. I remember sending an email to a few of my mama writers (eggplants), saying I was just going to throw my manuscript in the trash. But that’s what friends are for, and they encouraged me to keep on trucking, and I’m glad I did.
Recently I found an agent (or the other way around really…) who is a perfect fit for me and she offered me a contract. Imagine my relief when I sent her my finished book and SHE sent it out to editors! It was the best feeling in the world, now I can concentrate on doing what I do best: writing.
As for still having to sell myself, sure if my books are picked up I’ll have to do promo, but promoting your finished work is so much different than querying to an agent/editor. When you’re promoting your work, you already know that people like it—you’ve gotten a contract right? There will be critics who don’t like your work, but for as many that don’t there will be two or more who do!
So in this entire jumbled mess of a post… my advice? If you want to be published with a big pub—or NY pub, as they call it—get an agent. Make a tiered list of about 10 agents on each: A List, B List, C List, D List. Send out queries to the A list, wait until you’ve received answers from everyone on that list before moving to the next, and so on. Do your research—the one thing agents will tell you they despise the most, is when they receive a generic query from someone who obviously didn’t bother to find out more about their company. They won’t pick you up if they don’t “feel” you.
Eliza Knight is the multi-published author of sizzling historical romance and erotic romance. While not reading, writing or researching for her latest book, she chases after her three children. In her spare time (if there is such a thing…) she likes daydreaming, wine-tasting, traveling, hiking, staring at the stars, watching movies, shopping and visiting with family and friends. She lives atop a small mountain, and enjoys cold winter nights when she can curl up in front of a roaring fire with her own knight in shining armor.
*Warning: this is an erotic romance, and not intended for those under the age of 18.*
Sixteenth-century Highland laird Camden MacLeod wakes up in the modern world. Confused with his surroundings, he haphazardly throws on his kilt and goes in search of whoever has played such a foul trick on him. What he finds instead is beyond tempting…
Valerie is thoroughly exploring the medieval Scottish castle she’s rented for her best friend’s bachelorette party. Not only does an oddly shaped stone in tower catch her fancy—it somehow brings her dream man to life.
Review Diana of Naughty Editions: “A thoroughly delightful time-travel romance filled with deliciously sexy romps and quirky humor. Ms. Knight’s hunky Scottish warrior, Camden, tickles the funny bone with amusing observations of modern day garments and amenities…The bond between Camden and Valerie was magical and nicely portrayed in their tender yet deeply erotic love scenes. This is a story worth a read and than a re-read.”
Read an excerpt here: http://www.jasminejade.com/pm-8417-642-take-it-off-warrior.aspx