Why Not a Literary Agent?

I did send my manuscript to several agents, here in Canada and in the States, and so far, a few rejections but, for the most part, radio silence, ergo rejections. And I figured, by sending my manuscript to an agent, it’s double the work. First, you have to wow the agent with your killer writing. Then you have to convince a publishing house that your killer writing is marketable. Albeit this last part is indeed the agent’s job, it’s just too many hoops to jump through. I’d instead take my chances by sending my manuscript directly to the publishing houses, no middle man.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Tania, maybe the agents aren’t answering because your manuscript is a steaming pile of cow dung. That may very well be, but let’s just say for argument’s sake and for the sake of my own self-esteem that it’s not. Whether or not a literary agent likes your work or not is very suggestive and does not always reflect your ability as a writer. Sometimes the material is not something the agent is interested in or will have a hard time selling.

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My novel, for example, contains elements of graphic physical violence, some aspects of sexual assault, profanities, and a dog is hurt. Quick parenthesis here, does a dog getting hit with a blunt object qualifies as animal cruelty in a novel? I don’t think it does, but one editor seemed to think it did. The dog is not tortured in the story; he’s just hit—one time. Let me know in the comments if you think that qualifies as animal cruelty. To me, cruelty equals torture. Hitting something that’s attacking you, not so much. Close parenthesis. So, as you can see, complex elements to sell in a novel. Hard to please an agent, or a publishing house, looking for horror without anything horrific actually happening. So what are they looking for? That’s anyone’s guess.

Also, did you know that you don’t need any qualifications to call yourself a literary agent? That’s right. You can just choose to call yourself one, and poof, you are one, like magic. No special training or diplomas are needed. That’s why you must do your research before submitting your manuscript to an agent. Make sure the agent has the experience and knows what they’re doing. Real literary agents start off as assistants to senior agents. Knowing their credentials and where they have worked is essential to make sure you’re entrusting your blood, sweat and tears to the right hands. And honestly, that’s just a lot of work. And I’ve got way too many kids and so little precious time to do that and find the time to write.

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Getting published

Welcome to my obligatory writer’s website. That’s right. Apparently, every writer must have one of these before getting published! You read that correctly. Every no-name out there must have a social media presence with a significant amount of followers to even be considered by a publishing house. Isn’t that absurd? It’s the literary equivalent of having a college diploma and no experience, but every job out there requires experience. Well, how are you supposed to acquire some experience if no one is hiring graduates with no experience? How am I suppose to establish myself as a serious writer people might actually want to follow if no one wants to publish my work because I have no following? See how that works? It doesn’t, it doesn’t work!

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And who, might I ask, is going to want to be let in into my daily life? A writer’s life is boring. All we do is write, and when we aren’t writing, all we do is think about what to write. But you want a boring life, trust me, you do. I’m blessed to have this happy, monotonous life. And it’s because we have such boring lives that we escape into our writing and create such unique stories.

When thinking about what this blog might be about, a mommy blog did come to mind. After all, I have some published personal essays out there that talk about my experiences as a mom. But mommy blogs are a dime a dozen, and there are so many good ones out there. How can little old me compete? How many times can one spin a story about pregnancy, childbirth, and the nitty-gritty of raising kids? It’s been done to death in blogs and props to you if you find a new way to spin that wheel.

Then one day, an idea just came to me! What am I trying to do? I’m trying to get my first novel traditionally published. Why not make it about that? And I’m going to try and do that in six months because I have been trying to get this darn story published for the past three years, and the deadline is September 2021. If no one is interested in my novel by that time, I’ll just self-publish! Why that date, you might ask? My story happens on Halloween night, so if I do end up publishing it myself, I want at least a good month to promote it. It’s that a good plan? I don’t know. I’m just making this up as I go along.

So, join me, why don’t you, on this foolish, soul-crushing quest to get my first novel published. I can’t promise this blog will help any aspiring authors out there, but I’ll at least try and make it funny. And if not, well, I don’t know what to tell you but good luck!

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