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Joshua Horne
04-20-2011, 03:37 AM
I completed my first work of fiction in September of last year, and struggled through the daunting tasks of working up a query letter and compiling a list of applicable agents around that same time. I've since sent out about 16 query letters but have yet to receive even a request for a partial. I've polished and revised the query letter a half-dozen times during this process, but am now beginning to believe the concept itself is very difficult to pin under a specific genre in addition to the fact that the work is far too long for a first novel (about 110,000 words or 289 single-spaced pages). I believe in the concept behind the book, and truly put my heart and soul into doing the concept justice in writing. There is virtually no "filler" in the storyline, and it would be the first of a two-book series despite the fact that it has its own semi-ending. This makes shortening the work by any signifcant amount nearly impossible without a complete re-write.
I am now considering simply self-publishing the novel, as I didn't write it for monetary gain and would simply be happy to have it read by anyone at this point.
With all this said, here is my question. What are your thoughts on possibly enlisting the help of a "literary consultant" service such as Cornerstone or The Literary Consultancy? I understand there are many scams out there, but are services such as these two legitimate, and, if so, are they something I should consider at this point? Thanks in advance for any of your thoughts!

Cyia
04-20-2011, 04:20 AM
Agents want to hear from you, and only you.

If your story takes 110,000 words to tell, then it's not too long. Plenty of debut novels are longer, and if you're not getting bites, then the problem is most likely your query letter. (though the "semi-ending" isn't going to help you. Book 1 needs to stand on its own)

You MUST know your genre. Period. It's hard for everyone, but you have to figure it out.

Get your post count up to 50 and post it in Query Letter Hell.

(btw - single spaced isn't standard.)

Joshua Horne
04-20-2011, 04:40 AM
Agents want to hear from you, and only you.

If your story takes 110,000 words to tell, then it's not too long. Plenty of debut novels are longer, and if you're not getting bites, then the problem is most likely your query letter. (though the "semi-ending" isn't going to help you. Book 1 needs to stand on its own)

You MUST know your genre. Period. It's hard for everyone, but you have to figure it out.

Get your post count up to 50 and post it in Query Letter Hell.

(btw - single spaced isn't standard.)

Cyia, thanks! I do not elude to a sequel in my query letter, and the first book is able to stand by itself, so perhaps "semi-ending" isn't the correct description. I will definitely take the advice and post the query letter in Query Letter Hell ASAP.
I am still curious as to if anyone reading this is familiar with Cornerstone or The Literary Consultancy? I think what I would be looking to gain from the enlistment of a service such as this is some "feel" as to if the work is potentially viable in a commercial sense...

Susan Littlefield
04-20-2011, 05:10 AM
Joshua,

Welcome!

Cyia is right on- agents want to hear from you. Work on getting your query letter just perfect. Post in query letter hell and you'll get feedback.

Also, you must double space your manuscripts, which double in pages. :D

Good luck!

jennontheisland
04-20-2011, 05:25 AM
I am still curious as to if anyone reading this is familiar with Cornerstone or The Literary Consultancy? I think what I would be looking to gain from the enlistment of a service such as this is some "feel" as to if the work is potentially viable in a commercial sense...
I searched the "Bewares and Background Checks" forum for 'cornerstone' and found this thread.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=93484&highlight=Cornerstone

If that's not them, I suggest starting a thread in that forum. It's a great place to get the kind of info it seems you're looking for.

jclarkdawe
04-20-2011, 05:39 AM
See [Editing] The Literary Consultancy (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=63375&highlight=literary+consultancy) on this forum. But you need to understand there are some significant differences between the US and English in querying and obtaining agents/publishers.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Old Hack
04-20-2011, 10:30 AM
I've heard excellent reports about both Cornerstones and TLC. Also, Hilary Johnston's literary consultancy is meant to be very good.

Be aware that if you're submitting in the UK you don't send out query letters: here a covering letter, synopsis and the first three chapters are more usual for an initial submission.

MikeGrant
04-20-2011, 02:33 PM
An author I vaguely know sent her debut novel to Cornerstones and ended up landing an agent out of the revisions they made. So they can give you the final few percent your novel needs to push it over the top.

My personal opinion on the subject, though, is that literary consultancies cost a lot of money for something that might not lead anywhere, and I'd rather learn the editing skills required to get a novel up to publishing standard myself. And that only comes with practise. Plus, the novel that got an agent can't have been a dud beforehand - there's only so much any editor can do.

If your novel's very close to being awesome and just needs a new pair of hands to have a look, then it's worth considering. But don't expect Cornerstones to perform miracles! I'm fortunate enough to now know a couple of decent editors who scratch my back when I scratch theirs. So sometimes a bit of networking can get you the knowledge you need to do most of a literary consultancy's job yourself!

They're expensive. They're not a shortcut to success. But they do work for some people.