Category Archives: * Getting published

Finding an agent vs. just writing a good book

I just found some very good advice re: getting a book published and finding an agent. (And yes, sometimes it actually goes in that order, believe it or not.)

On the Aspiring Author blog, Alexis Grant talks about a conversation she had on Twitter with an author who gave her a lot of good advice. It pretty much boiled down to

  1. Don’t spend all your time studying the publishing industry and trying to decipher the “tricks” to use to get in;
  2. Most agents don’t find clients through the Query pile, but through contacts, and especially if they see the author’s writing somewhere and like it;
  3. Have something to say; find your voice, and say it clearly.

Have a peek at the whole post; there’s a lot of meat there. And follow the blog! 🙂

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How far to go when trying to publish?

Good MayorNow, here’s something I think I’d advise against, no matter how desperate you are to get your book noticed. Although if this is the sort of thing that turns your crank…

Andrew Nicoll, on his agent’s advice, allowed her to pass him off as a woman, as she tried to get publishers interested in his book, The Good Mayor. His article describing the situation was published this week in the Books Section of the Globe and Mail. In the article, A miss, then a hit,” he talks about how his agent told him that “If a woman had written this book, it would be deep and insightful and moving…. If a man had written it, it would be creepy.”

It seems to me that that should probably have been the first red flag. Perhaps the flag that made him yell, “Run away! Run away!”

He learned a great deal more about the other assumptions in the publishing industry, though, at least as it was in London at the time. (Like the one that says if something worked before, then everything that follows has to be done the same way. You’d think the people he ran into were the same idea-bereft people who are currently running Hollywood. But I digress…)

Nicoll was fortunate that his agent finally dropped him when she couldn’t seem to market the book with him as a female, or under any category (or meme) she could dream up for it.

He finally got his own deal, as himself. And the book has been published in 19 countries now. While half of his agent’s current clients, as he says, “remain unsold.” He’s not that fond of the crowd that his agent ran with, as you can imagine.

I guess this is a good object lesson that there’s probably a limit to how much you should try to masquerade for the sake of getting published.

On the other hand, tell that to George Eliot…

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