I did something crazy last night. Depending on your perspective, it might actually be bordering on brilliant, but at the very least it’s not something I expected to do. Do I have your attention now?
A catch-22 exists within the publishing industry for us new writers. In order to land a top-notch agent, you pretty much need to be a published author. And what’s one of the best ways to become a published author? Why, land a top-notch agent, of course!
I may be fooling myself, but I have my sights set on a top-notch agent when it comes to represention for my novel. I have one tiny publishing credit to my name–not quite what’s needed to land a major player. So, what’s a girl like me to do?
Well, I decided to submit a query (along with the first 10 pages of my manuscript) to a publishing house that accepts unsolicited material. Why? Well, because I’m curious. I want to see what happens next. I get to spend the next few months avidly checking my email waiting for a reply. Perhaps I’m a little crazy, but I like the anticipation–it’s like waking up on Christmas morning everyday! Even if I end up with a rejection, I’ll have had a whole bunch of exciting mornings where I’m looking forward to tackling the day ahead.
Here’s another reason: What if I don’t get a rejection? What if they contact me asking for a partial or full manuscript? This scenario is so exciting it almost defies description. I imagine I will spend several hours bouncing off the ceiling and shouting my news to the world; and I know I’ll have a goofy grin plastered on my face for weeks afterward. This is another step along my journey as a writer, and I am looking forward to every aspect of it. Again, even if this step is followed by a rejection, I’ll know something about my novel appeals to readers. How cool is that?
I started this post with the suggestion that this wild action of submitting my manuscript to a publisher contained an element that may be bordering on genius. Let’s think about that catch-22 again, shall we? If, by some amazing act of providence, the publisher wants to buy my novel, I can then approach a top-notch agent saying, “I have an offer for publication. Would you be willing to represent me during the process?” Agents who would otherwise pass on a new and unproven author will quite often agree to represent him/her if presented with an offer already on the table.
So, what exactly do I get out of this crazy scheme? Best case scenario: I land the agent of my dreams by presenting him/her with a manuscript that a publisher has asked to purchase. Worst case scenario: I get three months of Christmas morning excitement as I wait for a rejection letter. I can’t lose!
Now, I’m not going to sit back and do nothing; I will continue to polish my manuscript because I will be sending it out to agents if the publisher rejects it (and so it’s as fabulous as it can be in case the publisher wants to see more of it). I will also take the time to begin working on my next novel. I like to plan things out before writing, and I am looking forward to sinking my teeth into my next project.
What do you think? Am I crazy, brilliant, or something else altogether?
From beyond the keyboard,