Getting an Agent Does Not Mean Your Book Will Be Published

I learned the hard way that even an expert, motivated agent might not be able to place your manuscript as soon as you’d hoped.

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Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

The first thing I learned is that a plot outline is not a book.

Marching orders: Write the book. Create characters and settings and dialogue.

Draft after draft.

After more than another year’s work — not every day, but in between freelance nonfiction assignments — my agent submitted a new, much-improved draft to Publisher C. An important editor there loved it and held onto it for almost a year, shopping it around the company, with apparently positive feedback. Her colleagues asked for more information about my background and other published writing. A meeting was set. And then there was a crisis at Publisher C that made the newspapers. That story line ended with a broken heart. Mine.

Now we’re finally getting somewhere.

Currently, we have a big, enthusiastic bite from Publisher D — who wants to see the manuscript again with a shorter word count, several scenes cut, and a bit more “kid appeal.” Play up the fashions and friends. Delete everything of interest only to adults, like the excerpt from Winston Churchill’s speech my MC heard over the wireless. I’m working hard on it. Perseverance is the name of the game. In the past, an agent was unable to sell two of my nonfiction book proposals. But I wasn’t especially upset. I turned the concepts into magazine articles. But this middle-grade historical novel is my baby. One I nurtured and love… and really want to get out there and into readers’ hands.

My career is designing and writing about design. Here, I can write about lots of things. My short fiction attempts to capture and evoke past moments in time.

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