Hello & Welcome

Welcome to my Blog! Thanks for stopping by. I'll be posting from time to time my adventures in writing and my trials and tribulations in the publishing world, along with anything relevant in regards to current events, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Intelligence community that appears in the press. Please note that anything I post is not reflective or representative of any official position of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Air Force; only my views and opinions as a private citizen.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Let's Talk Writing & Publishing

I completed my first novel manuscript this past Spring, and I'm currently in search of a literary agent to represent me. I'll say up front that the comments that follow are based on my research into the process, and my limited experiences accumulated to date. Take it for what it's worth, as one fledgling writer's initial slog through the rites of publication.

The novel manuscript is a thriller, 113,000+ words in length (390+ pages) and is grounded in my extensive professional experience in the Air Force coupled with my love of reading and desire to tell an engaging story.

I began writing the book in August of 2007, and once the manuscript was completed, reviewed and re-edited, began searching for an agent to represent me in late June 2008.

I sent my first query letter out on the 16th of June. To date, I've sent out 31 queries from the 16th of June through the 7th of July, and received 16 polite "thank you, no" responses. On the 14th of July, I received my first request for the complete manuscript for review from a reputable and from what my research has discovered, active agent located in New York.

I sent the complete manuscript, along with the package of information requested, back to the interested agent on the 16th of July. As of today, I'm still waiting for the response to my requested submission from the interested agent, and don't seriously expect to hear anything for at least another two to three weeks.

For anyone contemplating the pursuit of a writing career: Patience is required. Once you've completed and polished your manuscript (an exercise in dedication, planning, and hard work in itself), the search for an interested publisher or agent consumes a great deal of time. Time on your part to do your research, find an agent/publisher who works in/represents your chosen literary field, draft a quality proposal or query letter, and then get a positive response. More patience is needed while a busy agent or publisher finally finds the time to review your submission and choose to respond. Remember that you are not the only writer out there attempting to get published.

Bear a few things in mind. While you're in a hurry for their answer, they are busy people. Agents need to attend to their active clients first, before they can find the time to deal with a potential new client's material. Acquisitions editors are dealing with the 10 books they are already seriously considering, the 10 books in the editing process, and the 10 books nearly ready to head to the actual production process. I suggest you put the time to good use by working on your next writing project.

When an editor or agent can find the time, especially after they have asked for your manuscript, they should find time to get back to you. If you've waited a reasonable amount of time (4 - 6 weeks, or the agent or editor's normal response time you've found in your research) contact them via e-mail or letter (do not call) and politely request the status of your submitted material.

I'll post more as this process plays out, and good luck to my fellow writers out there working towards the day when you hold your first book or other published work in hand.

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