Submitting to agents

by T. E. J. Johnson

After months of re-drafts and edits I’m finally submitting Cataindar: The Discovery to agents across the UK, USA and Canada for representation.

For those that are unfamiliar with the ‘how to get your book in the shops’ the traditional way it is a process with eight levels. The following needs to happen:

1. You send a one page pitch letter tailored to your dream agents usually with a synopsis and the first three chapters attached.
2. If the agent likes your work they will ask you for a ‘full manuscript’.
3. The agent may a. take it, b. ask you to make revisions on the work or c. decide it is not right for them.
4. If the agent likes it then they take you on as a client!
5. The agent will try and sell your book to a publisher.
6. The publisher will sign your book and possibly its sequel. They may ask for some revisions also.
7. You get a book release date and must work as hard as possible to get people hyped up about your story.
8. Boom! Release date arrives and you are now a traditionally published author.

(9. Make sure you book sells well or it will be difficult to be published again.)

Right now I am on step one. Basically my query needs to be sharp enough to cut my way out the slush-pile of the thousands and thousands of writers, submitting to the same agents and praying for that dream to come true.

Agents have an amazing but tough job. It is their job to sell the books they have signed, work with authors, pitch, network with editors of publishing houses, stop their writers from going crazy, offer advice, celebrate success, promote book releases and, possibly commiserate if they can’t sell a writer’s work. They get hundreds of emails a week thus, their usual response time is 6-12 weeks.  Yup – so three months from today we will likely know where Cataindar is at. I am trying (and failing) not to check my email everyday.

It is quite a crazy thing being here now. Such a crazy adrenaline rush pressing that ‘send’ button. After 6 years of consistent work on this novel I am at a true precipice – all it needs is for one agent’s interest to be sparked and the novel may really fly and then we can all go nuts.

 

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More importantly, I feel like I owe it to you – my amazing readers, friends and artists who have enjoyed the early draft of Cataindar and really brought the world to life. I feel like that changed everything – the story has gone from words on a page to a real thing that we now all share and care about.

I got a message the other day from @ItzFantasy on Wattpad that just about made my heart burst: “Whenever I close my eyes I hope I wake up in the land of Cataindar.”

When I was reading Redwall way back in the day I used to always shut my eyes and hope I may wake in a magical place. I used to keep my eyes peeled for strange stones, necklaces or any bizarre-looking wardrobes that may have the ability to transport me to a magical world. So to think that Cataindar is giving my readers that same spark is why I will never be able to stop writing!

With the re-writes, working with professional full-time authors and relying on my mates from wattpad like @JayVictor and @JoshTownley for advice and last minute edits I’m so hopeful that together we will make it.

You know I’ll keep you updated when I get news – good or bad!

For now, please join me in hoping there is someone out there who is crazy enough to give this novel about talking cats a shot.

 

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