March’s theme is: If Only I’d Known. Well, if only I’d known I was signing with an agent this month, I might’ve invested in some Xanax.
I’m not sure how much civilians know about acquiring a literary agent, but it’s a big deal for authors looking to get a traditional publishing deal. In fact, it’s pretty much the only way for a writer to get their book onto a shelf in a bookstore.
Writers, or as least I did, think that writing the book is the hardest part. But then querying agents becomes the hardest part. And then it’s waiting for a publishing house to buy your book that’s the most difficult thing you’ve ever done. And then once your book is out in the wild, well, you get my drift. You clear a hurdle, there’s another one ahead. This is a tough business and yet, I wouldn’t want to do anything else.
Self-publishing has its merits, but I find that YA indie authors struggle to get teens to read their ebooks. Despite their attachments to their phones, teens are more likely to read books. Paper bound books. Adults love ebooks. We have credit cards and Amazon accounts. But teens love bookstores and libraries. They love borrowing books from friends. They like to browse actual shelves. They don’t have money and are often gifted books for birthdays and holidays. For that reason, if I want to be a YA author (and I do), and I want teens to read my work (and I do), then I need to reach them where they are — on the shelves. And I need a Big 5 house to make that happen.
It’s been a wild ride. In less than a week, I signed with a wonderful agent and my manuscript is on submission. Perhaps soon, I’ll be able to update this post with good news. Or perhaps not. That’s the thing about publishing. It’s really about timing, a smidge of talent, and a whole lot of luck.