My novel is going to be published. Not that I am successful by any means yet, I have however, reached the point where in a matter of months – my story will be in the hands of readers. Getting to this point – was not instant. I spent hours upon hours scouring the web looking for literary agencies that were accepting manuscripts of my genre, looking at their client list. Finding an agent/editor – it takes time. A lot of time. In my next few posts – I am going to do what I can to help make that search a bit easier for writers who are just starting out. Take some of the frustrations out of finding a home for your story.

I should back up – the query. The query is, without a doubt one of the most difficult things you will ever write. I didn’t believe anyone who warned me– until I had to write one. In a matter of a few words, you must capture the attention of an agent, convince them, make them curious enough to even read the blurb you have spent days perfecting. Truth is, it doesn’t matter how amazing your blurb is – if you can’t get them to read it.

You’ve now captured the attention of an agent or editor – they might be interested in what you have written – they are going to read your blurb. Once again, your odds are against you…if they are an established agent – they have clients…who, most likely write in your genre…and could very possibly have written something quite similar to yours. Once again, it doesn’t matter how brilliant your manuscript is – if they already have something like it, they are not going to accept yours.

Let’s say they don’t have anything like it sitting on their shelves – they are interested. They want to read more. Like 5-10 pages more. Yes. After all that, you’ve have gotten someone to read 5-10 pages of the manuscript you have spent the past three years perfecting.

Your first page better be brilliant.

I became a member of SCBWI – Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators. While the Romance Writers of America was extremely beneficial to me – I am not a romance writer. Whatever your genre is – there is a professional association for it. Join it. Go to their conferences. Absorb everything you can from everyone you come in contact with. Everyone has a different way of doing things. One day, all of those random tips are going to come in handy. There are local and national conferences – I tend to go big so I bypassed the local chapter and went straight to NYC.

At these conferences, you will receive information from agents and editors you otherwise would not have access to. What makes them tick? What catches their eye? And – a free pass to submit to those who are not currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts. THIS IS HUGE, especially for an unpublished writer.

When you attend a gathering with other writers, you start to find your way. You begin to discover what works for you. The key word here being YOU. The way I went about becoming published may not work for anyone else. Taking bits and pieces from everyone you come in contact with – you will find a rhythm that will work for you. And once you find what works for you – it’s just the beginning.

But – if you’ve got a manuscript that you believe in. A query letter you are happy with – it’s go time and you should get ready for a roller coaster of ups and downs. Complete rejections to the ones that show some interest. Some that show a lot of interest. For me, I found the rejections that had wonderful things to say about my writing and/or story the most difficult to move on from; the agents/editors who really, really like the story – who said I had talent, but for some reason, they just didn’t love it but they were positive that someone else would. The thing to remember, no matter how long it takes and how many rejections you get…..all it takes is one. One person to see the potential in your manuscript. One person to believe in it as much as you do. Just one.