Sunday, January 11, 2015

Publishing is a House with Many Doors

You don't need an agent.

But, Sean! you say. Aren't you always spouting advice about how to query and interact with agents?! Now you're telling me not to even bother?!

Go back to my first sentence. I said you don't need one. You can certainly want one. I do. It's a personal preference. Agents do a great many things you probably already know about.

But let's face facts. Sometimes agents might not think your manuscript is sellable in the market at that time. Should you trunk the novel? If you want to. However, allow me to offer another option.

While many big publishers require an agent to be the contact point between author and editor, there are many amazing publishing houses that accept unagented submissions. Tor is one that comes to mind, which is great for peeps like me who write speculative fiction.

That's right, kids. You can basically be your own agent.

Many, many, many authors did the reverse of what is thought to be the standard way to get published.

Brandon Sanderson met his editor at a convention and was offered publication. Then he went looking for an agent. His Writing Excuses co-host, Dan Wells, did the same thing.

And let's not forget smaller publishers. Sure, there are a lot of crap ones out there that slap their books with a stock photo and some cheesy font, and whose website looks like it was designed by your seven-year-old niece. But there are tons of amazing independent publishers that do some stellar work and whose books sit on the same Barnes and Noble shelves with Random House, William Morrow and the rest.

If you want an agent first, that's great! Do it. If you exhaust that, but still think your book is sellable and ready to rock, don't shy away from submitting to willing editors.

Just because one door closes, doesn't mean you should mope away down the street. Publishing is a house with many doors, and one will open for you if you just keep knocking.

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