Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Please don't put me on the spot

It didn't take long after announcing that I've hit the New York Times Bestsellers list for unpublished authors to pop out of the woodwork and ask for my help to get them published.

Who's your agent?

It's not a secret. If you know how to google, you can find out who my agent is. (Tip: she isn't taking on new clients.)

Can I tell her you recommended me?

No. If I have never read your work, I can't recommend you. And don't send me anything; the last thing I want is to be accused of stealing some unpub's work. And for the record, I don't need to steal anyone's ideas--I have enough of my own, thank you. And if you tell her I recommended you write to her, she will know you're a liar, because if I was going to recommend anyone (and I have), I would tell her first.

Why won't you help me?

A.) I don't know you.
B.) I know you're eager to be published, but you really have to pay your dues.
C.) Paying your dues means it's extremely unlikely the first draft of your first book will ever see print.

I know what it's like NOT to be published. It took me eleven years for my first book to see print.

My best advice? Join a writers group. If you write mystery, join Sisters in Crime (and in particular, their Guppies Chapter). If you write romance, join Romance Writers of America. If you write SF or fantasy, join Science Fiction Writers of America.

Don't waste money on book doctors. Join a critique group. Write, write, write. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Learn everything you can about the publishing industry. (How to write a good query, how to write a good synopsis.)

The economy is really BAD right now. Publishers are slashing their lists and shedding their employees. Take this time to polish your work so that when things are better you'll be ready. Your book will capture the attention of an agent or editor and you'll be on your way.

For now, sadly, you'll just have to wait your turn.