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Acquire an Agent to Acquire Your Book

By on February 04, 2014 . Category Column

Okay, so you wrote a book.  Now what?!?!

People often ask me how they can get their books published, even self-published authors, like our fellow Widbook writers. I should say especially self-published authors. Different books lend themselves to different mediums and writers often enjoy delving into unchartered territories.

Even though this topic is somewhat unorthodox for a self-publishing website, I think we should examine the question anyway.  This column is meant as a writing aid, right?

Unfortunately, this isn’t an easy question to answer.  There really isn’t a clear cut path to follow.  I can tell you most publishing houses will not accept unsolicited material, so acquiring a literary agent should probably be your first step.

Before you start searching for agents, it would prove beneficial to draft a query letter.  (Query letters are basically enticing introductions to your book that hopefully pique the agent’s interest and then inquire whether he or should would be interested in representing your book.)

Now, here comes the frustration…every literary agency has its own submission guidelines and policies.  Some accept emails while others accept snail mail.  Some may only ask for query letters while others will request a query letter with a writing sample.  Some may even ask for a book proposal or the full manuscript.  But, a query letter is a safe place to start.

Once you have your letter written, you can either Google literary agents by genre or region.  Spoiler alert – the list will be long.  To make it less intimidating, start weeding out agents who seem like unnatural fits.  For example, some agents or agencies refuse to work with new authors.  Eventually, you’ll be left with a bunch of solid leads.  Take the time to compile your list.  Avoid the temptation to mass email everyone.  Quantity doesn’t trump quality in this instance.  After all, your book is your baby and you’re searching for the best care possible.  Pinpoint mutual passion and you’ve created a dynamic duo to take on the publishing industry.

Now, if you’re like me, the idea of submitting your non-copyrighted ideas leaves you a bit unsettled.  Theoretically, an author is protected once pen hits paper.  From what I’m told (in a humorous manner), agents don’t have time to steal anyway.  And once you land an agent, he or she can help you with the rest.  (Still, it doesn’t hurt to look into it.)

With that said, happy hunting, Widbookers. I hope your pursuit is write on….

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