PDA

View Full Version : A couple of questions from someone who is halfway through his first novel



bjcox
03-25-2012, 10:42 PM
I have been looking at agents and publishing companies. I am about 55,000 words into my first novel. I have a couple of agent questions.

1. I know an agents job is basically to be a novel pimp. They take your work and get it out there from what I understand. But, Do you get an agent before or after you finish your work? I was hoping that an agent was also someone who could critique your work as you do it and lead you down the right path. Not only a pimp, but a cheerleader as well.

2. In hoping that, I have sent samples to various people, agencies etc. Other writers, magazine editors, people that work in the same genre that I am writing all claim that my story is fantastic so far that say this particular take has never been done. However, people like agents or publishers have all said, "sorry, not for us." How do I find someone in the biz that will read through the chapters and not just read the premise and get scared I am in over my head?

Cyia
03-25-2012, 11:01 PM
I have been looking at agents and publishing companies. I am about 55,000 words into my first novel. I have a couple of agent questions. Then you've come to the right place :)

1. I know an agents job is basically to be a novel pimp. <--- I wouldn't phrase it that way, if I were you.They take your work and get it out there from what I understand.<--- They use their contacts to help you get a deal, and then handle the negotiations and contract stuff. They sell foreign rights, media rights, etc, etc, etc. But, Do you get an agent before or after you finish your work?With fiction (which would be you, as yours is a novel) you finish the book and edit it, then you query agents. (A letter of around 300 words to hook the agent's interest and hopefully make them want to read more. You can head down to Share Your Work, here at Absolute Write, and read some queries to see what they're like. The password's "vista".) I was hoping that an agent was also someone who could critique your work as you do it and lead you down the right path. <--- Sorry, but that's not an agent's job. They might give direction to an existing client, but they're not getting paid to hand out advice (or even read queries to find new clients). You need a critique partner and/or a beta reader if you want a cheerleader. There's a forum here to find that, too. Not only a pimp, but a cheerleader as well.

2. In hoping that, I have sent samples to various people, agencies etc. Stop doing this - right now. Mostly, they'll just delete your submissions, but if you pester someone enough, they'll block your IP and then you won't be able to query them for real. Other writers, magazine editors, people that work in the same genre that I am writing all claim that my story is fantastic so far that say this particular take has never been done. Then keep going and get it finished. However, people like agents or publishers have all said, "sorry, not for us." That's a form rejection. They're sending it to you because what you've sent them isn't according to their guidelines. How do I find someone in the biz that will read through the chapters and not just read the premise and get scared I am in over my head? You finish the book, then query the book, then hopefully get requests for chapters or the full manuscript.

Take your time. Get your work finished and in the best possible shape, then query it. Get 50 posts here, and you can post a short piece (2000 words or less, usually) in Share Your Work to get feedback, or even post your query once you write one. You've still got a long way to go, so it's good that you're checking the directions along the way.

Good luck - and welcome to the cooler!

Polenth
03-25-2012, 11:02 PM
You get an agent after you finish. An agent is generally for your career, not for the one book, so future books you may talk over your ideas and so on (depending on the agent). But to get an agent, you need a finished and polished book. Sending them stuff they don't ask for in their submission guidelines is going to get rejections. They don't want samples of an unfinished work. They want query letters for a finished work (some also ask for a certain number of pages and a synopsis).

Sending novel samples to magazine editors and writers is really something to avoid. Chances are they were just being polite when they responded. If you need critiques, your best bet is other writers at a similar level. We have a 'Share Your Work' forum here where you can post short samples (after reaching 50 posts) and a beta readers forum (which I highly recommend you don't post to until you hit 50 posts, even though you can post... take some time to get to know the community and how betaing works. Also, you'll want a finished book for that.)

bjcox
03-25-2012, 11:04 PM
thanks. You answered everything. I will throw some samples out when I get my 50.