Friday, July 5, 2013

Question From A Writer

My manuscript is almost complete. 

How long does it take on average for a book to be sold to a publisher with your kind help?
Could you please let me know the publishers you have contacts with?

So, I got this in the mail a couple of days ago. Yes, this was the whole email but I thought it would be easier to answer these questions in a general format here on the blog and highlight a few things that would be worthy to consider. Let's take this point by point.

First of all, My manuscript is almost complete. I have mentioned this one before on the blog and I do believe most agents and editors would agree with me on this one. Submitting projects to editors and agents before the project is finished isn't wise. Yes, with non-fiction that can be different, but with fiction, the project does need to be finished. You have to remember, when we receive submissions, we are thinking about the current market as we read your proposal. As agents, we are always talking to editors and thinking about potential openings. If we love your story idea and then find out that it isn't finished, you might be out of luck with that opening. In all honesty, some other writer will get that slot while you are still finishing the story.

Along the same lines, while you might think you know where the story is going to, things do change. If you pitch us one story and then finish it finding it goes a different direction, this might not be the story we want. Finish it first.

Secondly, How long does it take on average for a book to be sold to a publisher with your kind help? In this case, there is no fixed block of time. It can take months or it can take days. This entirely depends on a lot of variables:
  • How much editing do we have to do to get it ready for sending out?
  • How ready is it for the market?
  • Are there slots out there for that story?
  • Is this story an easy or hard sell?
  • Are the editors looking for something along those lines?
In the case of a recent book I just sold to Harper Collins, it took almost a year to get the book sold. It also needed to be in the right hands of the right editor at the right publishing house. On the other hand, I did sell a book to New American Library in 11 days. It all depends.

Finally, Could you please let me know the publishers you have contacts with? This is one of those points where knowing the agent is crucial. If this author is submitting to me (or simply asking the question) they know what I acquire. Knowing that would tell them that any publisher that acquires romance and women's fiction would be on our radar. Along the same lines, agents are all connected to many of the same sources. We have contacts at all of the publishers and, depending on the story can get it to the right person. 

So, for the person who wrote this email, I hope I have answered your questions. 

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