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Literary agents searching for new authors!

Do you have a manuscript that is polished and ready to go? Is it time to start querying literary agents? Then get ready, because on February  26th, literary agent will converge on Twitter! It’s manuscript wish list day!

All you have to do is follow #MSWL, wait until an agent says they are looking for a manuscript just like yours, and then query them! It couldn’t be easier! And who knows, maybe the perfect agent for you is out there right now, getting their wish list ready. So make sure your manuscript is the best that it can be and mark your calendars for February 26th!

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How to get a literary agent or publisher.

I was going to post a review of the three best YA novels so far this year today, until I received an odd email. (Don’t worry, the review will be up next week!)Instead, I think we need to review the steps for getting an agent or publisher.

1. Write the best book that you can. That means multiple revisions. Polish it until you can’t find anything else wrong with it.

2. Send it to your critique partners/ beta readers. These can be family, friends, people you meet on writing forums, etc. Just make sure that they will give you the unvarnished truth. This is not the time to spare your feelings. It is their job to point out what’s wrong with your book. You don’t necessarily have to take their advice, but if more than one person points out the same thing, I highly recommend you change it.

3. Make more revisions based on feedback.

4. Do a final read-through, checking for typos, inconsistencies, etc.

5. Reasearch literary agents and pick fifty. Out of those, pick ten to send your query letter to first. You can find more on selecting agents here. You can find resources for selecting an agent here.

6. Write an excellent query letter. You can find more info on this here. This is the first post in an in-depth series explaining how to write a query letter. Read them all.

7. Write an excellent synopsis. More info here.  Again, this is the first in a series of posts. Read them all.

8.  Put together your query package. Make sure you follow the agent’s guidelines. Personalize your query to your specific agent.

9. Make sure your manuscript is completely ready to send in case you get requests.

10. Send your query and wait patiently for responses. This could take up to eight weeks or more. Some agents are no-response-means-no agents. This means after a period of time, usually eight weeks, you can safely assume they said no. Keep track of who you send it to and what their response is.

11. Start your next book immediately

12. Do not give up after a few rejections. Statistically, it takes somewhere around 200 rejections before a writer signs with someone. If you do get only rejections, after the first ten or fifteen you might want to revise your query letter. Something isn’t working. This is why we send our letters out in small batches. Fix your letter and try again. After several hundred rejections, you need to move on and query your next project.

The steps are the same for querying publishers, except there aren’t as many as there are agents. I would send my query out in batches of 5 or so. Also, publishers can take a lot longer to respond.

This is the process, people. There is no way around it. This is the way it has to be done unless you go to a writing conference and meet agents directly. You also could get a referral from a writer friend you ALREADY know. This brings me to the odd email I received.

I know this is scary and hard and frustrating. I know it seems like it takes forever. I’ve been there. But I am not a literary agent. I am not an editor. Please do not randomly email me and ask me to go over your manuscript and pass it on to my agent. There are legal issues with that. I can’t do it. I also won’t open your attachment, because I don’t know you and there could be a little ninja assassin virus hiding in there.

Go get a good critique partner if you need help. I actually have four. I couldn’t have made a wiser decision. (Thanks, Aimee!) But please don’t email writers you have never met and ask for a referral. It isn’t professional. Remember, writing is a business. Act professional!

I have a literary agent!

I am so, so, so excited to make this announcement! I have a literary agent! I signed with Michele Rubin of Writers House. It literally still has not yet sunk in, despite my having talked with Michele twice on the phone already. Sometimes, I think it’s a dream. I know that sounds like a cliché, but I have worked for this for so long, and now, to finally have it happen…. Wow!

Michele seems absolutely wonderful. We really seemed to connect. She has a vision for my work and career that fits perfectly with my own. I’ve already started work on her revisions and I think they are going to make my book so much stronger. I think we are hoping to start submitting to publishers sometime in September. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, but it is such wonderful work!

I’m so lucky to have Michele as an agent. I’m also lucky to be working with such a prestigious literary agency. Writers House was always my top choice; the shinning, but unreachable (or so I thought!) star of all my literary dreams. This is all just so wonderful!

If there is one lesson I want to leave you all with, it’s this; do not give up. Ever. I wrote for twelve years. I seriously pursued a writing career for the last five and a half. I endured hundreds (I think between all four it was something like 175) of rejections for my four completed novels. It wasn’t until I started querying the third novel that I received an offer from a small press. With my fourth novel, I finally acquired a literary agent. And so I repeat; do not give up.

You can check out Writers house here.

You can check out Michele’s Publishers Marketplace page here.

Signing contracts and editing up a storm!

Sorry I’ve been MIA these past few days. I had a ton of work to do, but guess what? My YA novel went to copy-editing last night! I finally finished the three rounds of revisions! I’ll get to go over my book one more time before it goes to proofing. Then it’s done!

I should be getting my cover art sometime in the next two weeks. I can hardly wait to unveil it! And the book itself is tentatively scheduled to come out in September, but we’ll see. Make sure you check out The Literary Mom then, because I’ll be having tons of giveaways and contests for the few months after it comes out!           

I know you saw the title and you’re thinking, “She said she was signing contracts! What contracts? Is she seriously not going to talk about it?” Rest assured, I AM going to talk about it!

I signed with a literary agent last week! I’m just waiting to have the hard copy of the contract in my hand before I announce it. I super excited and it’s testing every ounce of my strength not to tell you now who I signed with! I will say that it is truly my dream agency, the one I’ve wanted to work with since I started writing and figured out what a literary agent was.

My agent seems wonderful. We had a very long talk on the phone and it seems like we really click. She has great ideas about my work and wants to help guide and shape my career, which is exactly what I was looking for. I’m so excited!

On an unrelated note, I need some advice guys. I’m thinking of shelling out the money to change the domain name of this blog from The Literary Mom at WordPress to my author name, Amy M. Newman. What do you think? Have any of you done that? Is it worth it? I just can’t decide…

I got an offer of representation from a literary agent!

I can hardly believe it! It feels like a dream. My very first offer! I’m so excited! I couldn’t wait to tell you all! More details to come, so stay tuned!

P.S. For all of you who have parts of your novel on your blog, TAKE THEM DOWN! One of the clauses in the contract makes you swear that your fiction is not published anywhere else, including by yourself on a blog!