Ok, so I have been thinking about my “plan” for moving forward as I seek to get my work published. My wife and I are currently on Chapter 13 of the live read edit for Under the Darkened Moon, and I have given myself a deadline of the end of September to have it, and the edits that come from it, done. Boom, put it to bed. It will be, by that point, as polished as it is going to get without the cost of professional editing.*
I am going to start the process of querying literary agents at that point. I will be doing batches of 10 at a time and give each batch two or three weeks to reply before I send out the next round. Some agents, I realize, don’t work that fast, but I figure it will give some nice overlap moving forward. Oh, and BTW, if you are a literary agent and would like to see my work before I start querying, then by all means drop me a line to get at the top of the list! I love it when people show initiative! It’s a trait that I highly admire in people!
To be honest, for a couple months I have been fretting about the query process. What should form should my letters take? What should I include? Should I customize my letter to each agent? On and on and on … I am not worried about it anymore however. I have now officially been fully prepped for the process thanks to friends of mine who have gone through this process to get their own works published.
I am not going to worry about whether or not an agent desires their ego to be stroked. I am not going to bother about whether an agent is being truthful when they say they are seeking fantasy submissions (because apparently some are not). I am not going to fret over whether or not an agent feels that their opinion is the end all and be all of whether a story is marketable and has to “fall in love with the story” before taking it on. I am not worried about the overly opinionated literary agent who, upon not liking my story, decides to send me a nasty-gram rejection letter.
Yes, from what I hear, all these things are quite rampant among people calling themselves literary agents these days. I am simply just going to try and find one that believes in my story enough to represent me and to Hell with the rest. My query letter is going to be concise and standard. If an agent doesn’t like that, then poo poo on them.
If I stick to my schedule, in a year I will have probably queried nearly 300 agents. And yes, my current query list for those that rep “fantasy” (general and various types) is nearly that long. So I should have no problem doing so.
Should all pass, then it is on to step #2! No waiting. No looking back.
Step #2 is to submit to any and all publishing houses that handle fantasy titles and who accept direct submissions. I’ll give them another six months to a year to say yeah or nay, fully understanding that most of their backlogs for queries can be 18 months or longer.
Then there is step #3.
Step #3 will be to self-publish my first novel to ever be completed. Digitally, of course. I’ll break down and pay the several hundreds of dollars to hire a professional editor to go over the story with a fine tooth comb and get it prepped. Then it will go up and it will succeed or fail on its own. If it fails, then I will know that everyone who passed knew their stuff. If it succeeds, then I will have a good chuckle at their expense.
It’s a two to three year plan. I think it’s a decent one. Meanwhile, while doing all of the above, I can focus on new projects and other stories I want to tell. Maybe even get two to three other novels done and into the system.
* I am not going to go the route of hiring a professional editor at this time based on advice from author authors (published ones) that I have spoken with and who have reviewed my current work. In their opinion, any agent that won’t give my work the time of day simply because it wasn’t “professionally” edited is an agent I wouldn’t want.