Persuading a stranger to read your book is hard enough. Convincing someone who knows the book business to take you on, roll up her sleeves, and start selling you and your tale to a bonafide publisher is trickier.
But I found one, a reputable agent with an impressive track record and client list. She packed up my story, shipped it out, and got a mess of publishers to take a look. Some read several chapters, some never responded. The ones who read it were impressed – I saved the emails – but not enough to buy the manuscript.
When I pointed out that their feedback was inconsistent – some praised it for the same reason others criticized it – my agent said they were all dopes. Regardless, there was no sale, and no follow-up plan.
Eventually we parted company and I veered off in the direction of self-publishing. A year later, I’m further along now than I ever got with an agent.
There is one point upon which agents, publishers and probably most authors will agree – that success lies in the ancient art of pitching and selling. More than ever, that is now in the hands of authors willing to use social media tools to skip past agents and publishers and appeal directly to readers. It’s painstaking but exciting work, and there is real satisfaction in knowing that no one but average readers will decide whether Bella is worth their time.
I’d like to know your thoughts; please join the conversation.