Before I self-published my first book, I researched how to find an agent, editor, or a publisher. I sent manuscripts to agents and editors which, incidentally, jump-started my rejection collection.
While searching, I found a ton of advice that seemed worthy:
Lists of new agents looking for new authors, fiction and non-fiction, historical fiction, poetry... You name it.
I downloaded and read many e-books on how to get the attention of, or get in front of, agents and publishers.
I refined my Google search parameters to get a new group of search results of possible advice to get my prose in front of an agent -or at least a little bit closer to publication.
One thing I found constant in every google search group, the piece of advice that remained constant in the realm of publication, regardless of how I tweaked my Google search, one piece of advice kept showing up was so simple, it seemed like a bogus answer.
That advice was this: Self-publish your book. If your work is good enough, editors and agents will find it and reach out to you.
Write the best manuscript you can write. Edit it yourself, or hire a pro to edit your work. But put together your best work. Period.
There may be more, but I found two resources where one can publish their work: createspace.com and smashwords.com.
I have used both. Createspace walks you through everything and when you click a button, at the end of the process, your book will be on Amazon in E-Book format as well as paperback. Cool Huh?
For smashwords, they also hold your hand throughout the process and at the end publish your book on many formats and locations. The I-Store, Barnes and Nobel, Kobo and several others. All you have to do is add a little comment at the beginning saying it is published at Smashwords or something along those lines. Here is their example from their site:
The cover is very important. Even though the saying is, "Don't judge a book by its cover", we all do it, right. So, keep that in mind when you are working on the cover for your book. The cover is MEGA important. You might want to hire a pro for the cover.
This advice that I saw, do it your self and the agents will come to you, sounded like a pipe dream, a scam, a false hope, but let me say this... IT IS TRUE. THIS CAN HAPPEN. I am living proof of that.
This is just what happened to me. I write this blog post today not to brag on or even promote my books, I won't even post the titles of my books. I post this not to lay claim to being as good a writer as King, Koontz, or Cannell. I post this to let you know that it is possible to get noticed by those in the world of traditional publishing.
I was at home one evening going through my e-mail and saw an e-mail that stated my book title in the subject so I clicked on it. It was from a person claiming to be an editor with Skyhorse Publishing in New York wanting to work on a project with me.
A big red flag went up. My self-published book had been out less than a year. I didn't think this person was legit. I played along though, waiting to see how long it would take before they ask me for money. all the while looking into Skyhorse Publishing.
WORD OF WARNING! If a "publisher" asks for YOUR money, to publish YOUR book, It is more than likely a scam. Maybe not, but more than likely. Just be careful.
Back to my story... "I replied with yes, I would love to work with you..." The whole time keeping my shields up and waiting for the shoe to drop. (spoiler alert -- Skyhorse is legit, and we are working well together.)
We agreed on a title, cover design, I sent in pictures, sent the book in the format she requested, and before I knew it I got a check in the mail for the first half of my advance. One half now and the other half after the book is released. This is standard.
My self-published book caught the eye of an editor, of a publishing company, and they contacted me. It was just like I read about in my search for an editor. If you write a book, and that book is good enough, agents, editors and the like will contact you. WOW, this really does happen. Cool.
I gotta say, it was a great feeling. Luckily I was already working on another book when she reached out to me and she agreed to publish it. Which hit the shelves in May of 2015.
So, if you are trying to hook in a publisher, editor, or an agent, you may want to direct all that energy from researching agents, and trying to craft the perfect query letter, into writing. You are, after all, a writer, right? Well, Write, don't look for an editor, Write for crying out loud. just write. And maybe they will come looking for you.
If you do get a letter from someone at Skyhorse Publishing in New York, I would go for it. I had a very good experience with them. and working on other projects as well. They are a great group of folks.
But for now...Write, you writer, write.
See you on the shelf one day.