Writers want to get published, so at some stage they will need to start sending their work to agents and publishers in the hope of acceptance. But deciding that you need an agent or publisher at some stage is one thing; deciding that now is the time to start looking, is another.
It’s important to start looking for an agent or publisher at the right stage in your writing career. Do so too early, and you risk compromising a relationship with those you might like to work with in the future. Show them work that is not ready, and they may conclude that you never will be:
‘Don’t send me your work until you are happy to be judged by it. There is no rush – get it right.’ Simon Trewin, literary agent, PFD
‘In general writers have one chance to pitch a book to an agent or publisher, so it’s important that you don’t do so until you are happy with what you’re sending them. It’s the same with submitting to publishers as to an agent. I have one chance to get their attention with each new manuscript I offer. They may comment on what they don’t like, but they will not want to keep seeing resubmissions of the same thing. Rather than taking heart from the new bits, they will spot what did not appeal to them in the first place.’ Heather Holden-Brown, literary agent, hhb agency Ltd
Are you fit for publication?
A friend I made when we were both expecting our first child had been a midwife. She told me she had prepared for having a family of her own by ‘getting fit to have a baby’. She ran, swam and attended aerobics classes – all pre-conception. Her aim was to get her body in prime physical condition before the rigours of pregnancy and childbirth took their toll. It’s an effective metaphor for writers. We need to develop some mental toughness and self-belief before we start seeking representation, so that we are in the best possible condition to nurture and present our writing to the waiting world.
‘Rejection can be very difficult to take in the creative field. If you can retain that belief in your own work then you will be able to brush-off the turn-downs you receive.’ Simon Trewin
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