Many of you know that I’ve written two novels, both historical fiction. One is about the decline and fall of the Inca Empire, told from their own perspective, and the second is about the Zulu Kingdom in the latter half of the 19th Century. For almost two years I have had a literary agent representing me, but in the end it didn’t amount to much: I have a number of lovely personalized rejection letters for my Inca book, but no book deal.
I rewrote my earlier Zulu book, pretty much line by line, but when I recently gave my agent the manuscript to try and sell in addition to the Inca novel, he admitted he just couldn’t get my work published: His clientele is predominately non-fiction –as is most of the publishing industry– and while he was trying to expand his still young practice into fiction through my work, in the end the combination of the poor economic climate in the publishing industry and his own lack of contacts hampered our ability to get my manuscripts into print.
I am not discouraged. Honestly, this is probably the kick in the pants I need to get my work into the right hands to move it forward. It’s true, I would have preferred to give my former agent more time to see what he could do with two very long and difficult to publish first novels instead of one, but I can see where he had run out of steam. He wasn’t ever going to make any commission from my work, so he let me go. That’s fine.
If I am to move on to greener pastures, this time I’m going to make sure my new agent deals predominately with fiction and has a special passion for historical works. I’m happy to say as of my writing this blog post that my Inca book is already under consideration by an agency representing my favourite living novelist. I’ll be sure to update you all as to how that progresses.
So how does one find an agent? Why do you even need an agent? I’m asked that a lot, and as I’m going through the process again right now, I thought I might as well blog about it.
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