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!