But the agent world has left a very sour and dull taste in my mouth.
So dull and sour that I’m leaving that traditional world of publishing for good. And with good reason.
Although my query letters are probably collecting dust in over 150 agents’ inboxes right now, all of the responses I’ve gotten already have stated…
1. My memoir Accidental Soldier: What My Service in the Israel Defense Forces Taught Me about Faith, Courage and Love doesn’t fit their list at this time
2. They can’t sell my book
3. They wish me well
4. They encourage me to keep trying (yeah, right.)
One agent sent me an email this past Friday (5/1/15) that she knows how important it was for me to send my query to her (which really surprised me) and another agent actually asked for the full proposal but in the end declined because she didn’t fall in love with the narrator’s voice.
These responses are obviously the exception rather than the rule.
After reading stories like this and this, I’m convinced that the reason why many authors like myself are giving up on the traditional world of publishing is because we have more creative control over the marketing and selling process.
I no longer want to be at the mercy of agents who tell me they can’t sell my book. That’s bullshit as far as I’m concerned because I’ve been marketing and promoting my work non-stop. I know the blood churning thankless unpaid work it takes to build community and engage my peeps. I know how necessary it is to build my platform. I’ve been working on that for the last year. I know that selling happens when you build a connection and you’re not just another “buy my books” author who doesn’t get why she needs to do any platform building.
My heroine’s journey of leaving New York City to serve in the Israel Defense Forces is so unique in the memoir world, but not one agent (from New York City, no doubt) is snatching it up as I had idealistically hoped.
Yet several have remarked that it is an interesting story that will appeal to many many readers. So there, agent world. So there.
So I’ve opted out of the waiting game and signed a contract with She Writes Press, a hybrid publisher spearheaded by Brooke Warner, who edited my manuscript and intimately knows my story. (SWP was my original publishing plan from the start so I know I’m in good hands.)
Having submitted close to 200 queries, I’m convinced of the following regarding agents and their highly subjective world:
1. It can take forever to find the right agent who can fall in love with my project. While it’s nice these agents are encouraging me to continue to submit, it can take forever to find the right one — time I just don’t have.
2. The agent world is highly subjective — need I say more?
3. Some agents are not educated well enough in the genre of memoir and one went even so far as to suggest turning my memoir into fiction? Like what?
4. It’s very time consuming researching agents. In the end, one has to determine if the investment of time is really worth it considering that publishers don’t exactly help you with the marketing so it’s a call as to whether the “brand name” associated with a big publisher is actually worth it.
The benefits of all these rejections, you may ask?
1. To be vulnerable is to be seen. (powerful words by Dr. Brene Brown) You need a lot of courage to step into the cloak of vulnerability and not many are willing to bare their skin.
2. They reinforce your motivation and path
Now I feel extremely confident in my decision to opt-out of the waiting game and here’s why:
1. I only wanted to dip my toes in the agent world and now that I have almost three months of query submissions and waiting, I can see I can definitely be successful another way.
2. If I do get representation by an agent, my book will only be published between 18-24 months.
The cool thing is… I kinda knew all this from the start and now that my suspicions were confirmed, I feel so liberated now going this route. I know agents have their important place in the publishing world, but authors want creative control.
Now is that too much to ask for?
And if I get a positive email from an agent interested in signing me on, you know what?
Have you ever gone the agented route? What were your experiences?
Blog your book with courage!
Is one of your goals to publish a book in 2016? Build a platform and blog your book at the same time! Get lesson #1 of my free e-course: “Build a platform with your blog” simply by opting in at the top of this home page.