Traditional Publishing, Take Two

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It’s just over three weeks since I made the grand declaration that I was going to self publish. And then I spoke to an editor who showed me the light that Paladin was nowhere near ready. And now I must share this update:

I GOT A LITERARY AGENT!!!!!! WOOOO!!!!

I’m sorry. That was immature of me. I’ve calmed down now. (NoIhaven’tI’mreallyexcitedI’msorryI’llshutup.)

Here’s how it happened, for those of you who want the juicy details–It was shortly after I had posted my last blog about aaallll the work I need to do in order to make Paladin publishing-worthy. I checked my email, and lo and behold, a literary agent appeared to have sent me an email.

I read it three times, and then a fourth for good measure. The gist of it was this: the agent had read Paladin on Wattpad and enjoyed the characters…He’d also read my blog post. Not only had he read it, he agreed: Sam is not central enough to the plot. And yet, despite what is obviously a very significant flaw, he saw the potential in my writing, and expressed interest in working with me.

As every writer should do, I did my research on the agency to make sure that they were a legitimate agency (there are a lot of sketchy agencies out there, folks. Predators & Editors has a handy list of those you can trust and those you cannot. You also want to make sure the agency has worked with successful authors and has made recent sales to established publishing companies). When everything checked out, I spoke at length with the agent on the phone to get a sense of what I could expect, and what he would expect from me.

What sold me was this: he is what is called an “editorial agent.” The primary reason to get a literary agent is because they are the gatekeepers to the world of traditional publishing. The Big Six (now big five) publishers and most successful indie publishers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. So the only way to get your book’s foot in the door (er, page on the desk?) is through a literary agent. Once a publisher shows interest, the literary agent then helps you negotiate the most favorable deal possible–the biggest advance, the best royalty rate, etc.

But some agents–not all–also serve as editors. Before they begin shopping your manuscript to publishers, they help you get it in the best shape possible. It’s in their interest, too–they want to shop a book that they think will sell, because that’s how they get their commission.

Before I educated myself on the publishing world (and trust me, I still need a lot more education), I thought once you got a literary agent, that was it. Wham bam, thank you ma’am, here’s your publishing deal.

…That’s not quite how it works. Judging from my initial conversation with the agent, I have a lot of work ahead of me. The big changes I brought up last blog post–those are still happening. We’ve already discussed other major edits he would like me to make, and some of those need to be preempted by research. I don’t even know the half of it. I’ve likely got months of work to do before he even begins talking to publishers.

In other words, I’m a big step closer, but I’m not there yet.

There’s also the matter of the sequel. We discussed, and both he and I think that a trilogy makes the most sense. But what that means is that I have to plan out (e.g. outline) the whole series before I finish the first book! I’m not much of a planner in my writing, but now I’m going to become one.

As the agent (now my agent–I signed the contract this morning) said to me, there are no guarantees in publishing. But despite this caveat, I cannot help but be super excited to work with him and get my writing to the next level. Excited is the wrong word…I’m positively giddy. I told the agent that I wanted to work with someone who would not only foster my writing career, but foster my writing itself. He’s got a wealth of writing and editorial experience, and I’m confident he’ll make me a better writer…and Paladin a better book.

To celebrate with you guys (because in all honesty, I would be nowhere without your support), I’m going to post an extended epilogue of Paladin on Wattpad. It will likely never see the light of day in the actually published book *crossing my fingers*, but hopefully you will enjoy it regardless. And in case you haven’t checked it out, I’ve started posting another “story” (I use the word story loosely – it’s autobiographical) called “First Kisses“. As a forewarning, it’s highly inappropriate (I’m rating it PG13 so mobile readers can find it, but it really should be rated R), and because it’s based on my life, there are no swords or sorcery, as unfortunately, my invitation to Hogwarts got lost in the mail…The cover by Prisim is below. No obligation to read it, as I don’t expect it to be everyone’s cup of tea. Cheers!




26 Comments

  1. I’m excited for you. Can’t wait to hear what the agent guy thinks is best–from what you’ve told me he sounds square! I wish (though I dare not hope) that by this time next year you’ll be ready to look at publishing…

  2. *shoots off confetti and launches around the room.. er… blog with glee*

    WAY TO GO SALLY! I knew you could do it! So excited for you, even if it means more work it’ll be worth it in the end.

    1. Woo, confetti in my blog and on Wattpad! Good thing I have a maid…

      Thanks so much! Definitely a long road ahead but I think I’m at least on the right path.

    2. Agreed. Having an agent obviously doesn’t mean Paladin will be successful but it’s soooo much closer to being at that point then it was yesterday.

      Just remember us little guys when you’re big and famous and your book is being turned into a movie :)

  3. Congratulations Sally, you finally got your break. I want to own a copy of Paladin, hopefully by this time next year. And my goal is to own your trilogy when they are all published! All the best to you :)

    1. Thank you! Haha, I hope I can make your deadline. I still have yet to have my first “official” meeting with my agent, where I’ll get the low-down on all the edits I need to make. A year from now sounds lovely…

  4. OMFG CONGRATS. AHH FANGIRL SQUEAL. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE IMMATURE AND EXCITED!!

    Well good luck with all that work! & trust me, planning is not as difficult as it seems. It kind of depends on how in depth you want to go. But either way, it helps a lot.

    Again, good luck! Can’t wait to add Paladin to my good books shelf.

    Pretty cover!

    1. Thank you, Malak! I appreciate your understanding for my momentary (heh heh, who am I kidding) immaturity.

      Ugh, I’m just such a procrastinator. I never did outlines for essays in school either. I suppose I’ll have to learn.

    2. Ahaha outlines for essays? Does any real person genuinely do that? Even I don’t do that. I feel like I do my best essay writing on the spot. There’s lots of different ways to approach planning. I have so much to say about planning i made a blog post about it a while ago…

      If I was you I would probably be screaming still. I’m so happy for you though!! did you go out and celebrate or do real mature people not do that? Or are you like too sophisticated to celebrate being so freaking amazing?

    3. I know people who did that in both high school and college. I thought it was super super weird. Like, why create hours of extra work for yourself?

      Haha, well I did have a drink to celebrate, if that counts.

  5. Whooooo!!!!! WELL DONE!! Very exciting news!

    As someone who likes to plan, take it from me: make way for in case things go one way or the other, in other words, have a few outcomes!

    Once again well done and THANK YOU for including us in your other epic story – the story of your publishing!

    1. I think that’s good advice, Jade! Especially because I don’t want to get so stuck in my outline that it squashes all my spontaneity.

      And thank you for the congrats!

  6. WOW! Way to go Sally! Wanna give u a promise, and I know your other fans think the same too:

    This story is going only one way, and I don’t care how long it takes, but THE BIG FIVE is its destination.

    Claim it.

  7. Way to go Sally. Absolutely chuffed to bits for you. You’ve done your research, and I wish you every luck.
    To be honest, have been checking your blog for updates and as there was nothing for a while , I was getting worried that you had given up. Thankfully not. So pleased for you – can’t wait for hard copy to put on the shelf. So want a signed copy…

    1. Hi Martin – Thanks so much for the kind words! Yes, you’re right that I was a bit slow in updating my blog. I held off on telling everyone was going on until I was 100% sure I was going to sign the contract (I made some minor negotiations, mostly to make sure that I would be allowed to continue posting writing to Wattpad).

      And – if Paladin ever makes it onto shelves – I would LOVE to give you a signed copy! That makes me feel like a real live author :)

    2. You ARE a real live author. When you think about it, you are using the latest medium to get your works read, and people are enjoying it and asking for more. So don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
      Wattpad is merely the bookshelf (though maybe I shouldn’t say merely as it does a great job of giving new authors the confidence to get out there), but you are the author.
      Have you read Foucaults pendulum by Umbert Eco? Guy who write Godfather. In one chapter he describes the pitfalls (con) of self publishing. An old book, but the con (oops, I said it) is still being perpetrated today. Worth a look or I will gladly message you the abbreviated version sometime, if you want.
      However….you said ‘give’ me a copy, to be a real author you should say SELL. Just joking.
      Carry on the good work.

  8. Gratz :) Easily done right? 😉

    Didn’t know agents prowl blogs :/ I’m muchos stuffed.

    When u meet up with your agent… try to push that Braeden sponge bath scene…. *serious face*

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