Getting Published. No. 1
Stop Querying, Start Partying – Get Social
Publishing advice is a cottage industry. Write this, the market demands that, tweet this, follow that -: but what really works?
How do you make an agent pay attention to your typescript?
On her widely read and influential Rants & Ramblings Blog, Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner gives an eye-popping glimpse into the agent’s decision-making process.
Over the whole of 2010 WordServe received and read 10,000 queries – and they accepted a whopping great 0 of them:
that’s right – read 10,000, accepted 0.
It would be interesting to compare WordServe stats against other agencies and publishers. In fact, it would help unpublished writers to focus their attention on the right agency if they all provided query stats. But that’s for another time.
After reading through 10K queries, WordServe are currently closed to submissions, with three exceptions, including,
[RG] → longtime blog commenters and others with whom I am familiar.
Rachelle explains to one of her many commenters [53 at last count] what kind of typescripts they did accept last year:
I did see a lot of interesting queries but gave preference to people I’ve personally met, received a referral for, or those previously pubbed with a traditional publisher. I didn’t ever TRY to avoid signing anyone from a query, it just worked out that way.
So there you have it.
Clearly the writing has to stand up to market forces and reader scrutiny: the typescript must be polished, the prose sparkle, and the story sing.
But a vitally connected ingredient on the road to publication is ‘personal’ –: either face to face or via second-party referral. Being known, being active in the writing community and being confident about commenting on blogs are major activities towards publication.
- Be personal and sociable and develop fruitful relationships.
Unpublished writers should keep Rachelle’s words in mind when they next think that tweeting, blogging and commenting are time-sinks designed to keep them away from writing.
On the contrary, they hold the key that will unlock the door.
Now – how to work out which door is the right door?