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Unpublished authors complain about the ‘gatekeepers’ of the publishing industry, but I think the gate-keepers are the people I want on my side.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.