I'm looking forward to running a workshop in Taunton (21st September at the Brewhouse) and after that settling into a year's course at Barnstaple Library (Write a Better Book). I meet so many authors who write a book (kudos to them, it's quite a slog!) but then rush to self publish before they consider traditional routes. I hear a lot of 'Oh, the agent turned me down' but not many stay the course, take a professional approach to it. Your book has to attract an agent, it has to be so engaging they fall in love with it enough to work with you (unpaid) and then put it into the world to earn some money for you.
If you can't get an agent or publisher, I would ask:
I'm not dissing self publishing, sometimes it's the best option, especially if you have a professional approach to selling your own work and are prepared to do the promotion yourself. I presently have a novella that I think will need to be self published just because of the length. But getting commercially published confirms that you're on the right track.
- Is the book as brilliant and polished as you can make it?
- Is it right for the genre/audience?
- Are you really trying every avenue i.e. all relevant agents, all publishers who take submissions?
- Is your work of prize-worthy quality? (Even getting on a longlist says it's getting there).
- Primarily, though, is it actually good enough?
Of course, that doesn't guarantee the elusive best seller... Back to those intoxicating words. There's some bloody brilliant writers in the West Country...