Chapter Three…You Get An Agent
This book is a travelogue through the steps it takes in 2022 to become a traditionally published fiction writer. So please read the Introduction and First Chapter and Second Chapter before this one. You do that, this chapter will make more sense, as much as this chapter will ever make sense to a sane, thinking person. (Writers are neither sane or thinking at this point in this process.)
So after years of work, you declare your novel masterpiece finished and have a party. Then you spend a ton of time and effort sending out query letters to agents. (Your book never leaves the house, just a query letter.) Finally, an agent asks to see that baby you spent so many years writing and rewriting.
You send it off.
So what happens next?
You Are Now Officially Waiting…
You have sent your baby off to this agent. Of course, you have done nothing at all to check their credentials or their record or anything else. You spend more time researching the brand of shoes you will buy online than you do researching the agent you sent your book to. But again, that is just how the blindness in this industry works for younger writers.
So months go by.
Are you writing more books? Nope, you are just waiting because you need to see how the first one does. Right?
Maybe even more months go by.
Then eventually the agent gets back to you. If you are lucky (in the universal scheme of things) the agent says no. If you are still wrapped up in the myths, you will go back to the query stage lined out in Chapter Two. If the wait has allowed you to gain some sanity, you might be starting to look at how to indie publish.
But if you are really unlucky (which you will consider lucky), the agent wants to see your book “after you make a few touches” to make it “more commercial.”
Realize this agent you never researched is not a writer and knows nothing about writing, but has now written you a letter telling you how to make your book more commercial and since you are still buried in the myths, you go back to doing another rewrite.
Another six months goes by as you rewrite and then you send it back to the agent again.
More months go by.
Then maybe another rewrite from the agent and more months go by.
I know some writers who this process (after they get an agent to ask for the manuscript) takes three years, maybe more. One writer I know spent six years in this process. I am not kidding. But no matter what, a good year or two can go by while you rewrite a number of times and then wait for the agent’s response.
After this process your book is not even a shred of your original book. It has been redone, polished, reworked so many times, no telling what the book is. One thing for certain, it is not better.
So finally one of two things happen. The agent just gives up and says no thanks. (And you go back to Chapter Two like a bad game of Chutes and Ladders. Or the agent says they might have an editor for it.
Now up to this point, after years of writing and rewriting, another year or two in the query process, another couple years in rewriting for an agent, your book has yet to see anyone who can actually buy it.
But now after years, your baby (or the mutilated body of your baby) will finally get a shot at the fairy dust of a New York editor.
Next chapter the real ugliness begins. Stay tuned.