Is today really Wednesday? Because when I woke up yesterday, I could have sworn it was Monday, so today should be Tuesday, the day of each week when I post something new. Alas, the folks on three TV stations, the newspaper, and even my own computer are mocking me. It is, indeed, Tuesday. No, Wednesday. My brain refuses to accept it. But here I am, and here it is, a day late.
So, I’ve been sharing my journey toward the Holy Grail of traditional publishing. After 45 queries and a flurry of replies from agents (8 instant “no thank you’s”, one manuscript request), I took stock of my odds. Since the websites of many of the agents I queried stated they may not reply at all unless interested, the polite (if disappointing) negative responses were a pleasant surprise. At least I wasn’t hanging off the edge of a cliff. But 36 remain silent, and may remain that way.
So what next? Do I wait 3 months before taking any further action? Should I query additional agents? I had limited my original list to NYC and CA agents, but there are agents all across the country. I could do that. Maybe the agents in other geographic areas receive fewer queries? Maybe they are less apt to dismiss authors so quickly (or not respond at all, once they’ve discarded your query)?
Should I be more patient? It has, after all, been only two weeks. But I’ve never been one to sit back and wait.
So I decided to do a search of small publishers who accept un-agented submissions. There aren’t many, to begin with. And several of those that popped up had negative reports in Predators and Editors. Some published only digitally (what can I say, I’m old – I want a book I can hold in my hands.) And very few seem interested in women’s fiction that isn’t of the bodice-ripping type. My list of close to twenty quickly diminished to…drumroll…three: Kensington (a surprise), Red Adept, and an LDS (Latter Day Saints) publisher called Cedar Fort. Cedar Fort is not in QueryTracker, which made me suspicious, but has nothing negative in Predators and Editors. Their website is professional and informative. And they only consider pristine-clean women’s fiction (which mine mostly is).
I’m torn, and cautious. Since I knew positive things about Kensington, and in spite of the fact that they are very competitive, I dipped my toe into their waters. The biggest initial problem (as I see it) going direct to publishers is their wait times. Kensington’s website indicates a response of any kind likely will take several months, and “if you do not hear back on your query, it means that your project doesn’t fit our current editorial needs.” So a writer could wait 4-6 months only to draw the conclusion that they aren’t interested. Kensington prefers (but doesn’t require) that you query them exclusively. Once I get past the wait time issue, there’s also the fact that without an agent, I’d have to find an attorney to review the contract and protect my intellectual property rights.
I’m still toying with submitting to Cedar Fort. Or amassing another list of agents, this one of agents not in NYC and CA. Or just waiting.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO?