I've touched on this before, but it is of course especially on my mind so close to completing this round of edits. There are two basic ways to get published; traditional and self-publishing. I know a lot of people are advocating for self-publishing these days and that it's lost a lot of its stigma. Amazon makes it super easy to get your stuff online for e-books, but at the same time, that also means the market is flooded with books that probably need a little more work.
What I'm focusing on is the traditional path for now. I figure if things don't work out I can always switch to self-publishing, but the traditional route, while perhaps not as good for those who want total control, does work for those who don't have the dosh to pay for editing, artwork, marketing, and then publishing on top of that. So, to get into the loving arms of a publisher, I first need an agent. They're kind of like salespeople for authors. They have the connections, publishers will pay more attention to them then unsolicited submissions, and some even take care of editing for you.
So, while I'm editing and trying to get my manuscript as neat as possible, I'm putting out feelers for agents. I'm following some on Twitter and other social media. I'm learning about them to make sure that they might be the right fit for my novel. You don't want to send a horror manuscript to a romance agent, right?
When do I know when the manuscript is right, though? I guess you never really know. There's the urge to send it off immediately, but any good writer knows their first draft is garbage. It's supposed to be! It's how you get the ideas out of your head. But when is it ready? Do I send it through an editor first? Do I let the agents take care of the editing? Will the writing speak for itself? It's kind of confusing mess, but fortunately, most agents have submission guidelines to help out. I've got around half a dozen agents bookmarked while I polish up The Paladin. They all have different submission guidelines, which is important to double check. Some want the first couple chapters. Some want a summary. Some want fifty pages. Some want the whole manuscript. It's all a case-by-case basis.
Well, I think it's time to get back to editing. If I hope to submit this by the end of the year, I need to get to work.
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Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.