So, I’ve just spent the last two and a half hours researching what to do when my novella leaves it’s ‘growing up phase’ of edits, revising, and rewrites and I decide to enter that scary world of publishing. In this research I’ve found that it’s both more scary and less scary than I thought.
Firstly, if you haven’t already, check out agentquery.com. They not only have a quality, searchable database of reputable agents to contact, but they also happen to be home to a lot of advice about how to contact and deal with agents, what to expect, how to format, and many other great things. Seriously, I’ve spent about two hours of my two and a half on this site alone and I’ve learned a lot.
Examples of what I’ve learned: You should never have to pay up front (except the occasional fees, usually less than 500 dollars, see the site for details on this) for a reputable agent, which is a huge relief for me, a college student with VERY limited income. You shouldn’t present yourself AS your pen name, so although my pen name is Charlotte Blackwood, I have to put my real name on the title page, letters to agents, etc. and on the title page put (WRITING AS CHARLOTTE BLACKWOOD). HUGE lifesaver by reading that.
It’s also taught me that I might have fun marketing a novella. I mean, the average person has a short attention span, as proved by lengths of television advertisements, television show segment lengths, and the number of explosions on most films, but the fact of the matter is, novels are just a much more marketable sale. They’re more expensive, they’re what people expect. Selling a 20,000 word novella rather than a 80,000 word novel might be tough, but it’s always good practice, even if I end up having to self-publish in the end while I finish my novels.
The fact of the matter is, none of this is easy, quick, or painless, but in the end it will be worth it, even if all I get is a huge stack of rejection letters and severe lack of email replies (because they don’t reply to the ones they don’t want, generally, so you don’t have to worry about getting too many rejection emails). It’s character building, it’s a reminder that as much as I love Suzanne Collins, JK Rowling, and Charles Dickens, I am not them and I have to work very, very hard until I have a prayer of that. That’s fine. It’s worth it. I’ve never been a particularly patient person, but I’ve found recently that when it’s something that matters, it doesn’t matter when, just that you get there eventually. Waiting a month for a reply on a partial doesn’t sound as daunting as it would have a year ago. It just gives me more time to work on my novels. And school, and stuff.
Keep on writing,