Trying to Get an Agent

I’ve been sending queries to literary agents for a novel I’m trying to get published the traditional way, and I can’t help but feel pushed out of the “elite circle” when agents specifically have things on their submission guidelines like “We only accept queries from established/profession authors.”

How can one become “professional” if they are shut out of the industry? I understand that the publishing industry is tight. Agents may receive thousands of queries from authors just like me in a year’s time. They’re busy. But it feels like only “professionals” can get into the business at all. Unless you’re an expert wordsmith, grammar nazi, and excellent storyteller, you’re not getting in at all.

I also understand that competition is at a all-time high for the publishing world. Thanks for the ease of self-publishing through places like Amazon, it’s easy and uploading a file and picking a cover. I know; I’ve self-published a book that went through the wringer of query letters and came back rejected each time.

I know that if I were an agent and I received two hundred queries a week and half of them were so poorly written that my eyes wanted to pop out of my head, I’d be a bit jaded by the process, too. Then there is the stigma of self-published authors. True, they technically are being paid to write, but that doesn’t mean the work they do is good. I’ve read the preview of several self-published books on Amazon and OMG are they terrible. Flat, stale, poor dialog, cheesy exposition, and the list of offences goes on. But that’s another blog post.

I’ve sent out 21 queries so far and I has responded, rejection, go figure. I worked hard on this query and I’m hoping to break into the tradition publishing and get my name at least a little out there. That’s another hole in the sinking ship of self-publishing – marketing. How do you get your book in front of people? How can I make my book stand out in the vast ocean of poorly written self-published books with flashy covers trying to do the same thing?

My head hurts.

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