Okay, a quick update as Yola has fucked up my attempted post on literary agents multiple times. So here it is in short:

  • Publishers put out a book that sells well
  • Publishers want more like it
  • Publishers tell editors to find them
  • Literary agents are mostly former editors or copyright lawyers who worked w/ editors/publishers
  • Editors call their friends, literary agents, and say "we want this type of book"
  • Literary agent posts nowhere in ads/website exactly what they are seeking
  • You mail off your manuscript without knowing if they will read anything other than your query letter  

So in short it's kind of a lotto. That query letter will say what genre your manuscript is. If all they want is young adult fantasy or non-fiction mental-health (the 2 biggest sellers right now) and your query says mystery or romance...you're SOL and the rejection letter will not say anything helpful to this effect.

The future of publishing is self-publishing in the electronic format. Literary agents (completely useless entities in my opinion: they charge you for editing, submit your work to a friend and then get a fixed percentage for life) will fall to the wayside, and something else will spring up. The blacksmith became the mechanic last century, the literary agent may change, or disappear like the phrenologist.

If you want to go the traditional route make sure your query letter, summary, and outline are spotless. Make sure you read their website (do NOT trust an "agent" without a website) and follow directions to the letter. And may the force be with you.

Sadly the original blog post was a wonderful narrative showing you how I went through a few attempts at traditional publishing, detailed one contract with a major publisher that came to a legal dispute, and was filled with fun facts. I am convinced writing that dooms the post, I'm not sure why, but I'm Irish enough to heed the superstition and try again another day.

Also, it's 4/20, not the day for long detailed reading.  Enjoy it, tomorrow I promise something more salient.