Getting a book published is like winning a talent show. It doesn’t matter how well you can write (or sing) in the privacy of your own home, to earn a living doing what you love, you have to expose your work to the world.
It takes many steps. The first is the audition.
Auditioning your writing means sending it to an agent. There are big agents and little agents just like there are small talent shows and shows like the ‘The Voice’. Where you start depends on your nerve.
There are benefits to starting at the top ~
- your expectations are lower — you don’t really expect to get on ‘The Voice’ the first time you sing in public so you are not as nervous. It’s a long shot so the stakes don’t seem as high.
- you have somewhere to go — if you don’t make it at a big audition are other smaller contests you can audition for.
When I sent my manuscript out into the world, I started at the top. I figured rejection would be easier to take if I was aiming too high.
When you contact an agent, you don’t send your full manuscript, you send a query letter. In the query letter, you summarise your book into a single page. To continue ‘The Voice’ analogy, it’s the off-camera audition that happens before the show.
The first agent I sent a query letter wanted to read the first twenty pages (called a partial). I had passed the first audition and had been invited to the blind auditions.
After my agent read my first twenty pages, she wanted to read the rest of the manuscript (called a full). One of the judges turned their chair.
Right now, we’re at the battle rounds. My full manuscript is in the hands of a prospective agent who is deciding whether she will represent me or not. If I win the battle round, I’ll get an offer of representation.
After that, the agent has to sell my manuscript to a publisher and then my dream of being published will come true. This is the final part of the contest — winning the show.
The agent has promised to get back to me by the end of this week. I’m excited and terrified at the same time. I console myself with the thought that there are other contests, other agents if this doesn’t work out. But if it does … OH MY GOD!
Have you ever aimed for the top and made it?