The third time is NOT the charm.
I received a third response to my series of query letters to literary agents yesterday. The purpose of this one was identical to that of the other two (although it took two letters in the one instance where I was asked to provide the first five pages of my novel). The latest response is worded a bit differently, of course, and signed by a different individual. That individual, although dissing my query, actually apologized for being so late in responding. That individual, however, is someone working FOR the agent I sent the query to, not the agent himself. Real agents must be pretty busy.
I’d like to know how many book queries the agencies receive in a week’s time. There must be billions of people out here with book ideas and the desire to get published. How many novels have been written that will never see the light of day? How many of those novels are actually pretty good? How many are totally ridiculous?
Some folks who can’t seem to get the attention of publishers or agents try a different path to publication. There are several alternatives available, both of which can be described as “self-publishing.” The first involves paying a company to publish your work in book form. A number of companies provide this service, such as Booksurge and Lulu. This involves a substantial initial investment, but guarantees that the work ends up in true book form. Then all you have to do is sell them.
Another path involves the publishing of the work online. This can be done by anyone (with minimal training) without any outside help. The author can set up a Web site, place ads on it via Google Adsense, and post the work for anyone to read in the hopes that readers will click on the ads. Money is earned by each ad click. It could take some time to make this method pay off. My Web site has earned me about 85 cents over the past year.
I’ve considering going the route of self-publishing and may end up doing so someday. In the meantime, however, I’m going to continue my efforts to obtain an agent. I have a few more tricks to try. I’m rewriting my query letter, trying to put some spice in it that might grab an agent’s attention. I’ve decided that the meager and disappointing responses to the first two versions indicate some inadequacy on my part.
I’m hoping the inadequacy lies in the query letter and not in what it’s trying to sell.