You Have An Agent/Publisher! Now What? by L. Anne Carrington
After months – maybe years – of writing and polishing your manuscript, there were the dreaded rounds of finding publishers that expressed interest in your hard work. Every writer has been down the road of receiving stacks of rejection letters (yes, even the most famous best-selling authors had their share at the beginning of their careers) and experienced the dark feelings of hopelessness, wondering if all their efforts were worth it.
Then when we least expect it, or contemplated giving up and deleting the entire manuscript, the magic offer arrived. Something in your query letter sparked or piqued an agent’s curiosity or the manuscript, caught a publisher’s attention to the point they thought, “We need to get this in book stores or at least on Amazon!”
Sometimes, it’s a huge contract with all the bells and whistles, or – in more common cases – we received a general yet solid offer. There was something in your book they saw and took a chance. How do you think books such as Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey started?
The feeling that someone noticed our work, whether it’s a major publisher, big-name agent, or a small independent press, gives us a sense of euphoria that a first-time author can only experience. It’s difficult to explain, but let’s just say the initial reaction is that you’ll want to shout the good news from as many rooftops as possible, especially to naysayers, “I told you so!”
However, getting an agent and/or publisher doesn’t guarantee best-seller success. Though that can happen, it’s a small percentage so don’t think about quitting your regular job or put a rush on how you’re going to spend potential royalty checks just yet.
For those of you who are about to be published, it’s not the time to sit back and rest on your laurels. An author’s work isn’t done the moment they obtain an agent or get a publishing deal. Don’t expect these people to do the work for you.
Authors need to continue promoting whether it’s developing and updating your web site, having a social network account such as Twitter, guest blogging on literary sites, granting interviews, making public appearances, or joining discussions on other authors’ books. The more you’re willing to put effort into promotion, the more agents/publishers are likely to do their part to generate interest in you and your book(s).
Promoting is fine, but spamming is not. If you participate in groups or sites on a regular basis, an occasional plug or updated news on your book should work well; however, if you discuss it in every other post, whatever potential reading audience you could’ve received will be driven away. Also, don’t join groups with the sole purpose of promoting your own work. It’s gauche and in poor taste. You’ll be better received if you express equal interest in other authors’ news and books. Author-based web sites are also excellent places to trade valuable resources, so keep your eyes and ears open for additional opportunities.
Another aspect to consider (even if you have yet to obtain an agent or publisher) is a professional public demeanor at all times. Beginning or participating in petty arguments (though mature literary-related debates are fine), putting down colleagues and/or their work aside from constructive criticism, openly biased for/against someone based on personal feelings, speaking on controversial subjects, incessant cursing, and starting/spreading unsubstantiated rumors/gossip are among some examples of unprofessional decorum.
Take the same consideration for your online activities. We have no idea who’s reading contents posted on social network accounts; the wrong Facebook status, Twitter post, etc. could make or break a promising writing career before it begins. Would you want to sabotage your dream within two seconds by tweeting something that could be looked upon with disfavor after the efforts put forward in finding an agent or publisher?
You may be one of the most splendid new writers to cross an agent or publisher’s desk to date, but if you develop a reputation of being “difficult,” chances are good your contract won’t last long. As the old adage goes, “Think before you act/speak.”
Should you share your book online? Until you’re officially published, I don’t see the problem of posting a sample chapter or two on free sites such as BookBzzr. Otherwise, where’s the motivation to buy your book when it’s published? Both you and the publisher lose money, and neither is a good thing.
Once the book is published and on the market, all samples should be removed. It sounds callous, but such moves will direct more people to the actual location of your work, and wouldn’t you rather be found in bookstores or Amazon than a free reader site?
If you’re reading this and just received an offer of representation or a publishing deal, congratulations! If the opportunity hasn’t yet happened, don’t be discouraged. Keep working, keep sending queries, keep discovering new ideas. You never know when the payoff for your hard work will happen!
Thanks for those tips, L. Anne Carrington!
Guest Blogger Bio
L. Anne Carrington is an Amazon bestselling author, freelance writer/journalist, and radio show host whose previous work covered topics from fiction to news stories, human interest features, and entertainment reviews. She wrote The Wrestling Babe Internet column for seven years, a former music reviewer for Indie Music Stop, former book reviewer for Free Press (an imprint of Simon and Schuster), and pens several other works which appears in both print and Web media.
One of her freelance articles, An Overview of Causes of Hearing Loss and Deafness, was bought by Internet Broadcasting Systems, a company that co-produced NBCOlympics.com for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens and the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics in addition to being the leading provider of Web sites, content and advertising revenue solutions to the largest and most successful media companies.
In addition to her acclaimed novels in The Cruiserweight Series and nonfiction wrestling bestseller Billy Kidman: The Shooting Star among works of both fiction and nonfiction, Ms. Carrington hosts The L. Anne Carrington Show on Spreaker Radio.
She spends time between Pittsburgh, PA and Tampa, FL, continuing to write.
Billy Kidman: The Shooting Star
Billy Kidman carved out a career as one of World Championship Wrestling’s and World Wrestling Entertainment’s most exciting cruiserweights. A solid in-ring worker for little over a decade, he enjoyed success as a multiple-time cruiserweight and tag team champion during the 1990‘s and early 2000‘s.
Kidman wrestled for several American and overseas independent promotions after being released from WWE and then became a trainer and occasional wrestler for Florida Championship Wrestling (now NXT). Now retired from the ring, he works as a producer at WWE events in the Gorilla Position.
Billy Kidman: The Shooting Star contains updated and some never before revealed information behind the story of an underrated and underappreciated talent who achieved success in several aspects of the wrestling business before age 40.
DISCLAIMER: This book was not prepared, approved, licensed or endorsed by Peter Gruner, Jr., World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), members of WWE, or any other wrestling organization.
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