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Calla Lily
11-07-2005, 12:02 AM
In the wake of another rejection (from an agency I admit I had rather pinned my hopes on), I sought advice and sympathy.

The advice has been divided 50/50 on the following:

Query an agent or an editor?

Have a complete book in hand or have a good start so the agent/editor can guide you in the way they prefer?

Must must must go to conferences to pitch agents/editors face-to-face or snail-mail is still okay?

I'm frustrated but energized right now -- after a couple days of stewing, begging, and yelling (my prayer life is as chaotic as the rest of my life :rolleyes: , an idea on how to make the book better dropped in my lap at 6:30 am today.

Now I want to aim the further adjusted and polished work into the chnnel that will be the most productive. Agent? Editor? Both?

It'll be finished shortly, so that's not an issue. And the family budget simply will not stretch to conferences (mortgage and heat outrank them, you know?).

Those of you who have been on this funhouse ride longer than I, what's worked for you? I write fiction -- thrillers.

Thanks!

- the Lily

Cathy C
11-07-2005, 12:56 AM
Hi, calla!


Well, these are all good questions. Let's go through them and I'll give you my perspectives:

Query an agent or an editor?

Since you write thrillers, your best bet would be to query an agent. Most of the primary large publishers of suspense/thrillers are closed to unagented submissions. Also, unless you're a contract whiz, an agent will get you a better deal.

Have a complete book in hand or have a good start so the agent/editor can guide you in the way they prefer?

Have a complete book in hand. This is VITAL to a new author. An agent can only sell what they know, so a "good start" doesn't show an editor that you have the capability to write a complete plot arc that resolves satisfactorily, nor that you can create believable characters that stay IN CHARACTER for the entirety of the book. Whether or not you can string logical sentences together or write terrific prose, a complete book will be easier for an agent (or for you!) to sell to a publisher.

Must must must go to conferences to pitch agents/editors face-to-face or snail-mail is still okay?

Well, you already answered this yourself. The mortgage comes first! Snail-mail is still a good way to go, but keep an eye on the conferences for your genre. You might find one in a year or so that comes very close to you (to the point you can drive to and from each day -- so no airfare or hotel!) The publishing business is relatively slow. One year or even two is nothing at all. Most of the publishers are working on their 2007 line right now, and some on 2008, so there's no hurry about getting a face-to-face. In fact, you'll probably get to an editor/agent quicker by mail!

Hope that helps! :)