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1408

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Hey, Litopia!

My name is Sarah and I promise I’m human and not a bot, despite how my username makes me look!

About a month ago I finished the final draft (at least that’s what I keep telling myself) of my first novel, a YA fantasy, and I’ve recently started approaching agents. I’m finding it all pretty daunting so a friendly community of people who understand how lonely the process can feel is just what I’m looking for.

I’m 26 and it’s taken me a good number of years to actually finish something as opposed to writing a chapter, giving myself a pat on the back, and saying “Good work, Sarah. You’ll have it finished in no time!” I was told that after the first book I would feel I had some experience and that the second would be easier. But, all I know for certain is that in the beginning it was great fun, somewhere in the middle I had a mental breakdown, and by the end I wondered if it would be such a bad thing to just kill off all the characters. I’m glad I didn’t though because that would mean a really short second book!

Prologue: Didn’t you read the first book? They all died in the end. Yes, even the rugged Heathcliff-type one.*

So, there we have it! I think. Any questions please ask. =) I look forward to speaking to you in posts that aren’t so nerve-wracking to write!

* Heathcliff was not harmed in the writing of my first book. **

** He isn’t in it. Sorry.
 

1408

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Well done on finishing the first draft. It is SUCH a milestone.
Eep, final, final! Well, actually, final until an agent asks for full manuscript and edit, or I self-publish. Is it ever final before it's published? Even after then, does it feel final? I think I understand why some authors won't read their work once it's been published and out of their hands. I want to start on the second book, but the temptation to go back and check for something, anything, in the first is like an itch that won't go away! There could be a rogue comma or an accidental word repetition. I've found them once before, I could find them again! Okay, enough of the mad scientist. I suck at chemistry anyway.

Thank you both for your welcome. =)
 

Lex Black

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Welcome to the Colony! Are you named after the Steven King story or the adapted movie, both of which are some of my favorite things? :D
 

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Are you named after the Steven King story or the adapted movie, both of which are some of my favorite things? :D
I wish I could say yes (I love the film, need to read the book!) but unfortunately the real reason is pretty boring. 14 and 8, they're, uh, my favourite numbers. I'm a little obsessive with them and even have a character in my own book who is numbered as 1408. I'm just that cool a person! :confused:
 
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Karen Gray

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Welcome to Litopia. Well done with getting to the end of the beginning :) Now you have to broach the beginning of the end (although not in a morbid way lol)
 

1408

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Welcome! Best of luck with your agent submissions. As you say, it can be a lonely process

It’s kind of tiring as well. I read as much as I can about each agent before I submit to them and then try to figure out how to concisely (and not in any bootlicking way!) explain why I would like their representation. But it makes it a slow process. That being said, I’m submitting to ten agents for the first time round, does that sound about right? After a couple of months if I haven’t heard back, or if I’ve only had rejections, I’m not sure what my next move should be. Send to another ten agents and if that fails move on to publishers? Although they only seem to accept MSS submitted by agents! I think logically, if I don’t succeed in gaining an agent, my next move should be self-publishing. I’m not too concerned about self-publishing I would just prefer to have someone to work with. I’m trying to get a plan together but even with the “Writers’ & Artists’” books I’m struggling! I think I understand why people say finishing the book is only the beginning. :confused:

@Karen Gray Thank you! And morbid is fine, haha! The book is about death so your comment was actually quite fitting!
@booknut77 Thanks!
@tabby3 Thank you. I like your boxing platypus type thing!
 
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tabby3

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It’s kind of tiring as well. I read as much as I can about each agent before I submit to them and then try to figure out how to concisely (and not in any bootlicking way!) explain why I would like their representation. But it makes it a slow process. That being said, I’m submitting to ten agents for the first time round, does that sound about right? After a couple of months if I haven’t heard back, or if I’ve only had rejections, I’m not sure what my next move should be. Send to another ten agents and if that fails move on to publishers? Although they only seem to accept MSS submitted by agents! I think logically, if I don’t succeed in gaining an agent, my next move should be self-publishing. I’m not too concerned about self-publishing I would just prefer to have someone to work with. I’m trying to get a plan together but even with the “Writers’ & Artists’” books I’m struggling! I think I understand why people say finishing the book is only the beginning. :confused:

@Karen Gray Thank you! And morbid is fine, haha! The book is about death so your comment was actually quite fitting!
@booknut77 Thanks!
@tabby3 Thank you. I like your boxing platypus type thing!
It's actually a Tai Chi pose. Sort of.
 

Steven McC

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1408:

It’s kind of tiring as well. I read as much as I can about each agent before I submit to them and then try to figure out how to concisely (and not in any bootlicking way!) explain why I would like their representation.


Yeah, exactly. That's what I find so dispiriting about the process. You can spend hours putting together a customised package for one paticular agent only to receieve a standard rejection e-mail a few months later (or worse, no response at all). I understand why agents do this but it is soul-destroying for a writer. You feel like you're throwing your work into a black hole. Worse still, not only have you worked for a year on this project then spent a night (usually after a full day at work) tailoring your submission to the stated preferences on an agent's page, but the end result of this energy and effort is what? A punt in the dark. That's the way I feel about the process. Like I'm reaching out into darkness with all my hope on the off chance that someone else's hand will be waiting ... but the odds seem to be against you...

Ten agents at a time sounds about right. At least, that's the way I usually do it. I really hope you have more luck than I've had. At least it sounds like you have a back-up plan with the self-publishing. I'm considering this more and more seriously.
 

1408

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You feel like you're throwing your work into a black hole. Worse still, not only have you worked for a year on this project then spent a night (usually after a full day at work) tailoring your submission to the stated preferences on an agent's page, but the end result of this energy and effort is what? A punt in the dark. That's the way I feel about the process. Like I'm reaching out into darkness with all my hope on the off chance that someone else's hand will be waiting ... but the odds seem to be against you...

Ten agents at a time sounds about right. At least, that's the way I usually do it. I really hope you have more luck than I've had. At least it sounds like you have a back-up plan with the self-publishing. I'm considering this more and more seriously.

Very true! I think a rejection to a full request might sting a little more, I'm dreading that one! "Almost, almost... dag nabbit!" I'm trying to stay optimistic, reminding myself that self-publishing is an option and that there are more books in me yet to be written. If I still haven't found an agent by the time I'm eighty then I'll no doubt be bitter, hissing at my younger self and dressing up my ferrets in bonnets. But, right now there's still time!

I saw mention of having a section on the forum to discuss self-publishing. Hopefully it will happen but even if not there are lots of resources online for us if we decide to go that route! :)

I'm sure you'll find your agent. With every rejection that comes in I'm just going to remind myself of all the authors we love today who went through the same process. Supposedly, Beatrix Potter received so many rejection letters she decided to self-publish. A gal ahead of her time, that one!

@Marc Joan Thank you!
@David Newrick Sure will! :D
 

Richard Sutton

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I still have not completely given up finding a publishing contract. I just released my sixth title. Each new book teaches me how much I don't know about writing in general, my own process in particular and the industry/marketplace. This isn't a simple thing we've all decided to do. She be a demanding, harsh and sometimes unforgiving mistress but we love her so, or we wouldn't keep serving her. Good luck to every one of us!
 
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Frances Gow

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Hello Sarah! Although it would be great to have an agent, having one doesn't guarantee you a publisher. There are also many, many reputable indie publishers out there who don't require you to have an agent, so it is worth thinking about approaching publishers directly if you can't find an agent, then think about self-publishing. Just a thought.
 

1408

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Each new book teaches me how much I don't know about writing in general, my own process in particular and the industry/marketplace. This isn't a simple thing we've all decided to do.
Even though right now I've only a little experience in writing, I feel as though I'm going to continue to agree with this statement no matter how many books I manage to write! It's strange I guess, because even though I do enjoy writing, I kind of also hate it! But, like you said, it isn't a simple thing we've decided to do. :)

@Frances Gow Thank you! I will definitely start looking more at indie publishers. I think my idea of what it would be like working with an agent might not match the reality anyway. Then again, I also don't have much of an idea what the reality would be like! :confused:
 
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Tim Bennett

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Hi Sarah, I'm in a similar position. Initially I sent proposals to about 9 agents. For me the waiting isn't the hard part, it's trying to restrain myself from looking for 'one more' typo as mentioned above. It's a supernatural story and the first in a trilogy based on my experience of recovery from drug addiction. It seems creativity has a life of its own because the second book is taking shape, it feels unstoppable (not that I want the inspiration to stop!) so last night I started submitting to more agents to give my best shot at getting the book out there and keep the sequel flowing.
 
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@Tim Bennett If you feel that you have a better chance with agents you've only recently discovered I don't see the harm in submitting to them. :) There doesn't seem to be a written (or unwritten) rule in this, other than making sure the agent represents what you write. Well, actually, it looks like there are a bunch of rules, but they all say different things... especially when it comes to writing the dreaded synopsis! :p It's great to hear that you're getting through the second book at a good pace, and I hope you continue to do so! Make sure you stick around here; it's a friendly place and an awesome source of information. :D
 
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Tim Bennett

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@1408 Thanks Sarah, I think you've hit the nail on the head about the rules. At the end of the day I'm going with what feels right, be it a specific agent or deciding not to pay for a copy editor / proof reader before submitting and trusting my own process. I'm enjoying the writing journey and I have faith in myself so things are bound to work out. Thanks for the Litopia affirmation, I've been looking for a circle for a while and, well....this feels right. Laters. :)
 
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Vivaldo

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Hi Sarah! I know how that waiting time feels too - it can be really difficult! Good luck.
 
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