This was a special week for me because I signed with an independent publisher to publish my novel, Scout’s Honor. It felt really good for some editor out there on the other end of a computer to read my work and like it enough to want to invest almost a year of her time in getting it published.
One of the reasons why I felt good about this decision is because after writing to many literary agents, most of whom did not even respond to my letter, I went ahead a submitted my manuscript to this particular publisher…without an agent. This publisher is the only entity to have read my manuscript. And they wanted it.
The only way that the large publishing houses will even look at your manuscript is if you have a literary agent who brings your manuscript to them. A literary agent will not even ask for your manuscript unless something in your letter intrigues them. And they get thousands of queries every week. It’s just another big Good ol’ Boy network, based on luck, timing, chance and the subjective desires of that world…and the tastes of the consuming public at the moment…no matter what talent you have or don’t have.
I thought that I wrote one hell of a query letter, had received a handful of rejections and apparently was not even worth the rejection from others. But none of them even asked to read my book.
The moral of the story is: I encourage any new writer who does not have representation…and who would rather not self-publish…to seek out these small independent publishing companies. If you believe in your product, submit it. Whole. Some of them will take your entire manuscript right off the bat. No synopsis, no “first three chapters.” Many of them are new and innovative due to all of the changes in the publishing industry and technology and are looking for new authors, new voices, and those with a vibrant social media platform and presence.
They are adaptable, savvy entrepreneurs making a place for unknown writers trying to break into a difficult and overly saturated marketplace. They are building something special…and why not help them build their something special with your something special. It’s win-win.
I will always be grateful to Pen Name Publishing for giving me my very first opportunity to become a novelist. It is a long time until an April 14th, 2016 release…but I know it will be done (w)rite!