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Cheryll
11-02-2005, 11:25 PM
Greetings, everyone! :)

For most of my life I've written for fun. Around 4 years ago, I felt the Lord leading me to take my writing more seriously. I've always had a good grasp of style, spelling, grammar, etc. so I honed my craft with creative writing courses, mentoring with established writers, writers groups, and reading anything and everything I could find on the writing process.

I've dabbled in essays and short stories over the past several years, but my true passion is in novel writing. About a year ago, I finished my first manuscript and was encouraged by numerous people, both within and outside the writing world, to seek out an agent for it.

Long story short, over several months I sent out dozens and dozens of query letters and chapter samples to prospective agents. A few nibbles, but no bites. Lots of form rejection letters, but a few really nice personal letters stating they liked my style and my story but that it wasn't for them.

I was about to begin another wave of queries when two people I know (both established writers) took a look at my query letter and told me to stop sending out any more for now because, even though my query is solid, I have no writing credits in my Bio. I then asked if maybe I should just omit the Bio section of my letter, but I was told that leaving it out tells a prospective agent the same thing - you haven't been published anywhere, and that no agent or publishing house is going to take a chance on a new novelist who has zip writing credits.

I brought this up in one of my writing group meetings and was met with some varied (and hotly debated! LOL) responses. I would love to know what others think here.

Do you have to be published before you can get published??

Cheryll

Nateskate
11-03-2005, 02:10 AM
Greetings, everyone! :)

For most of my life I've written for fun. Around 4 years ago, I felt the Lord leading me to take my writing more seriously. I've always had a good grasp of style, spelling, grammar, etc. so I honed my craft with creative writing courses, mentoring with established writers, writers groups, and reading anything and everything I could find on the writing process.

I've dabbled in essays and short stories over the past several years, but my true passion is in novel writing. About a year ago, I finished my first manuscript and was encouraged by numerous people, both within and outside the writing world, to seek out an agent for it.

Long story short, over several months I sent out dozens and dozens of query letters and chapter samples to prospective agents. A few nibbles, but no bites. Lots of form rejection letters, but a few really nice personal letters stating they liked my style and my story but that it wasn't for them.

I was about to begin another wave of queries when two people I know (both established writers) took a look at my query letter and told me to stop sending out any more for now because, even though my query is solid, I have no writing credits in my Bio. I then asked if maybe I should just omit the Bio section of my letter, but I was told that leaving it out tells a prospective agent the same thing - you haven't been published anywhere, and that no agent or publishing house is going to take a chance on a new novelist who has zip writing credits.

I brought this up in one of my writing group meetings and was met with some varied (and hotly debated! LOL) responses. I would love to know what others think here.

Do you have to be published before you can get published??

Cheryll

You don't have to be published to get published, but it doesn't hurt to have a resume of some kind. It has been said that it is actually better to be undiscovered than it is to have a negative track record. The real trick (if you have all the other ingredients) is to write such a query letter that people want to read your manuscript. If you can do that, I think eventually you will get published.

Cheryll
11-03-2005, 05:38 AM
I'm just completely confused as to what to do at this point. I respect the advice I was given, and I see their point, but other writers in my writing groups have argued that I should keep querying agents.

Cheryll

Sheryl Nantus
11-03-2005, 06:40 AM
ask those two "established" writers who gave THEM a first look when they were starting out.

publishers are ALWAYS looking for new writers - everyone started somewhere and made that first sale, even your two experts.

good luck!

Edgarallenwannabe
11-03-2005, 06:51 AM
It's also easy for them to give advice...they've been published already; they have what they wanted, and hindsight is always 20 - 20.

I'm gonna give traditional publishing its fair shot, but in the end, if I only ever self-publish, so be it. My only advice would be to avoid POD's and do a straight self-publish with someone like www.lulu.com (http://www.lulu.com); you save money, and then retain the rights to your work.

www.kevinlucia.net (http://www.kevinlucia.net)

ldumont999
12-15-2005, 06:01 PM
Writing is like any other profession - you must start at the bottom. Imagine needing brain surgery and finding out that the person who will be performing your operation has never even done a simple appendectomy, much less brain surgery. In the writing world, gathering "clips" is the equivalent of a medical internship. You write for free, then you write for cheap, then you begin getting paid a reasonable fee and THEN you ask for the going rate. Once you reach that level you can do what might be considered your first appendectomy -- you can pitch to an agent, write a solid nonfiction book and get it published. Once that book is published, you move up to brain surgery -- novels or more extensive nonfiction books.
:Clap:
Such is the learning curve of authorship. Welcome to our world.

Lyra Jean
12-15-2005, 11:55 PM
Keep sending out queries. You said you wrote some short stories. Send those out too. Study the market. Send your work from the highest paying mag to the lowest. Don't work for free unless it's some sort of charity work in something you believe in or say an organization you are involved in.

silentpoet
12-19-2005, 10:32 PM
Have you considered writing devotionals? They are pretty easy to write, at least for me, and it would get you some credits to include. If you have not been getting results it might be time for a change.

MadScientistMatt
12-20-2005, 02:37 AM
I'm just completely confused as to what to do at this point. I respect the advice I was given, and I see their point, but other writers in my writing groups have argued that I should keep querying agents.

Cheryll

Since there is no way you can translate the claim that it takes being published to get published into a practical response, my advice is to ignore it.

Well, you could try querrying some of your short stories and essays, too.

Is your book fiction or non-fiction?