JK Rowling was rejected 12 times–Get a good agent & up your odds

My first booksigning at Book Expo, my debut novel SCOOP!

This workshop is an interactive To Do List from agents, editors and bestselling authors on how to get your foot in the door and what to do with your foot once you’re in. It’s the long, arduous journey how I got SCOOP published, which you can buy here . . .

Why am I qualified to talk about this? Because I know from my own experience how important having a GOOD agent is, and what happens when good agents (or circumstances) go bad. Before I started this workshop, I interviewed Super Agents, Wonder Editors, and bestselling authors who are way smarter than me, and I’m here to pass on this information.

Before we begin, you may ask yourself, “Do I really need an agent?” The answer in most cases if you’re trying to get to a major publishing house is, “Yes.”

To this day, agents have lunch (with martinis I hope) with editors, and they sit and talk about, what else? Our books. Most of us will rarely have this kind of access. The odds of getting published are hard enough as it is, why make it even more difficult?

Agents are the gatekeepers to the Golden Door of publishing. Their job is to sell editors good books that will, in turn, sell to readers–agents help weed out mediocre (or outright bad) material, and editors know that agents will bring them the best of the best.

DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THIS PART– it only takes one “yes,” to get your book published.

Remember, JK Rowling was rejected by 12 publishing houses until a small publisher picked her up, but told her she probably wouldn’t make much money.

*’scuse me while I snort ice tea on my monitor!*

According to Rejections of the Written Famous (2003) by Joyce Spizer  (“Tony Hillerman’s agent told him, ‘Get rid of the Indian stuff’”), and Stephen King’s Carrie was rejected a whopping 30 times.

So how many of agents and editors are pounding their heads on their manuscript-strewn desks with much biblical style gnashing of teeth and renting of fabric, shrieking, Arrrrghhh! I had her and I lost her!

So–pluck up your persistence and put on your Big Girl Panties and get your book out there.Yes an agent will take their 15% of your earnings until after the day you die, but ask yourself this…is someone taking 15% of something better than you taking 100% of nothing?

“I’m an attorney, and I thought, ‘Oh, I’ll just go over my own contracts and save myself some cash,’” said Bestselling Author & All Around Wonder Woman Julie Kenner. “But after really reading the fine print, I decided I needed someone who did this for a living.”

And, Julie realized she could be making a lot more money (and getting a lot more contracts) when people who negotiated contracts all the time were involved (ie, agent).

“Plus, I realized I’d much rather spend my time writing than reading contracts.”

Some people will insist that if you’re writing category, you don’t need an agent. “Not true,” said Julie. “An agent may not be able to get you a lot more money for Harlequin, but they can get you other things, like inclusion in anthologies, placement, etc.”

“Agents can also help you with things like deadlines and any kind of communication issues that pop up with your editors,” said Award-winning Writer and Super Mom Emily McKay. “It’s so worth it not to have to worry about time and money negations.”

So, that said, let’s get started.

If you’re going to National or any other conference, the best advice I ever got was from Julie Ortolon, and it’s that you need to stop what you’re doing right this minute and shoot a letter of introduction to the editor or agent with whom you are meeting. Mark the outside of the envelop * Conference Material Enclosed * (This will flag the letter and get it to the top of the proverbial slush pile)

Tomorrow, we’re going to write some Kick Butt Query Letters!


About kitfrazier

Award-winning novelist and former big city journalist who bumped into a cowboy and woke up in the wild, wild west.
This entry was posted in Confessions of an Accidental Cowgirl and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to JK Rowling was rejected 12 times–Get a good agent & up your odds

  1. Pingback: The Girl Who Couldn’t Commit « Copywrite1985

  2. Pingback: A Novel Experience « the writer's refuge

  3. Pingback: Do Writers Need An Agent? « The Neophyte Writer

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