Tag Archives: editor

Product over profile

For a while now (read several weeks) I’ve been devoting myself to refining my product and this has come at the expense of my profile, on this website, on Facebook, on Twitter, etc… There really is too few hours for me each day at the moment.

The deadline looms for me to have that product ready though. I’ll be attending my first writers’ convention in one week’s time. Flights are booked, accommodation too. I have  some acquaintances with whom I’ll be able to become more acquainted, some twitterati who I will be able to meet IRL, and hopefully there will be new and interesting people for me to meet, with whom to share ideas, discuss our shared and varied experiences of writing, etc…

That said, one highlight for me will be the opportunity to pitch my novel manuscript. It’ll be a verbal pitch, five minutes in a tight schedule where I and presumably many other hopefuls will be trying to convince an agent (or editor, but I have preferenced agents) that we might be worth doing business with.

Worst case scenario it’s a ‘thanks, but…’ response, and I’m tying to establish that as the default expectation, not in a cynical way but in a realist way. Expectations and hopes vary though, and I hope I get a great response and a request for a full manuscript… in which case I better have one to provide which is polished to the point of shining with brilliance.

Now having said all that I’m reminded of some wisdom that came to me via twitter from the dark and twisted (but no less wise for that) mind of Chuck Wendig. Conventions should not be about schlepping the goods and forging commercial interaction protocols. They should be about meeting people as people, not as cogs in an industrial writing complex (or publishing receptacles). Sure that industrial side of the pursuit is there, let’s not be naive, but I’m kinda looking forward to just meeting people and sharing ideas.

Product over profile, people over platforms, proficiency over publication.

Always remember that my stated goal is not to be a published writer (that’s easy enough these days if you have enough spare cash and low enough standards) but to be a good writer (or at least a better one than I was yesterday).


So I’m currently waiting to hear back from an agent with whom I’m seeking representation. There’s about three in Australia that I’ve shortlisted based on them being reputable, currently open to submissions,  and working with the kind of genre fiction appropriate to my novel Exile.

The process of getting an agent takes time. You can only submit to one at a time. There’s a few weeks turn around on any query and if that’s successful there’s the submission of a sample of your writing and if that’s successful they’ll want to see the whole thing and then if they like that they’ll talk to you about taking it on. That’s fine. I can be patient and I really think getting an agent is the way to go if  I’m able to get one.

Unpublished authors complain about the ‘gatekeepers’ of the publishing industry, but I think the gate-keepers are the people I want on my side. If an agent picks up my work it means it has some value beyond simply my dewy-eyed affection for my own words. Part of the reason this blog exists is to test the waters with the wider world and not just those obligated to praise my writing through the bonds of blood, marriage or friendship. But an agent goes beyond that. For an agent to take the manuscript on it would mean it has professional credibility, and perhaps commercial viability. An agent means an editor, and I want an editor. It also means someone who’s done this before, knows the process, can make professional contracts fair, and has connections in the publishing houses where the decisions are made.

In the meantime there’s the flip-side that the publishing world is undergoing tectonic changes and the Publishing House model is not the only path to the reader anymore. I’m not really keen to self-publish for all sorts of reasons and I’m even less interested in a vanity press. I’m not about getting my work published unless someone who knows what they’re talking about reckons it’s worth publishing.

The possible middle path though is in publishing through a small press. So I’m setting a goal to have Exile ready to submit on the 1st May. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s received.