Okay, I need to ramble aimlessly and I no longer pay an analyst to listen to me, so you’re on deck. (I would get comfortable; this could take a while.)
Once upon a time, I wrote a book, (that started out “once upon a time,” coincidentally). The book did well, and I met some loyal readers. Amazingly, most are still following me around. (Hi, loyal readers.) I also met a few people who didn’t really “get it” and I don’t know where they are now, but I hope it’s painful. Then I wrote another book, and it happened again, except for now, some of those loyal readers were in countries I may not have heard of, let alone been to. So, everything seemed to going well; which, since this is my life, was a sign that things would soon take a turn for the worse.
And then things took a turn for the worse. The world of independent publishing became very crowded. I’m not talking “crowded” like a new trendy bar on a Friday evening at Happy Hour; I’m talking “crowded” like Black Friday at Best Buy when some cutting-edge piece of technology, (that they have exactly one of in stock), is on sale for $1.39 plus tax. So now, while I still seem, by some miracle, to be doing fairly well, it’s getting really hard for people to even notice when I release books. This is not helped by Facebook’s new marketing strategy for authors – which is basically to make them try to force people to join Google+ or take out a third mortgage to promote every post.
So, I’ve never actually tried the traditional publishing route, well, not in this country, anyway. I’ve tried it, (and liked it), in other countries, where some very nice people translated my books in other languages for me, so that people could curse in Yiddish in Portuguese. Why haven’t you done the publishing thing here, Nadine? (That’s me by the way, if you were one of those people stymied by the amazingly creative pen name N.M. Silber.) I’m glad you asked!
Well, I have a relative, (let’s just call her my mother-in-law), who is traditionally published, and when she explained how it worked to me, it didn’t sound like something that would be a good fit. (Kind of like how size 2 skinny jeans wouldn’t be a good for me.) I tend to be a little possessive about my characters, (I’m a Jewish mother), and I worried that a publisher would change them, and change my (flat, nasal, Fran Drescher-like), voice, and essentially, exert too much control over my work. So, while I’ve written a few Bestsellers, I’ve never written a query letter in my life.
You see where this going, right? Now, I’m afraid that I’m not going to continue to grow naturally as an author, because there are so many independent authors out there. I might need to consider reaching a broader audience. And these days, you might be able to actually negotiate a decent contract with a publisher, because they know you have other options. I’m seeing all these people who I wouldn’t have thought of as getting an agent, getting an agent.
So, I’m thinking, they say I write well; I like my international agents; maybe I should get an agent. But I don’t know any. And I’m kind of busy writing books; so I don’t have a lot of time to invest in searching for one, or figuring out how to write a query letter, or any of that stuff. Also, it’s not like I’m starving, I made more money in my first year as an author than I did in my first year as a lawyer. (Although, I will point out, that legal aid lawyers are not notoriously overpaid.) So, I mean, I could stay indie and still do okay, hopefully. But maybe if I tried the traditional publishing thing, I could reach more people, and thus, make more people feel good. (I don’t write angst – just sexy Rom Com.)
Okay, so here’s the deal. I’m friends with authors who are at all different places in their careers, and who have made all different career choices. Some of you, who chose the agent and traditional publishing route, message me please privately. I would like to hear about your experiences and whether you thought it was worth it. I promise to put it in the vault. If anyone knows of a particular agent who might be a good fit for me, (because they have an appreciation for loud-mouthed women with good comedic timing), let me know that too. Like I said, I don’t have time to go searching for people, and it won’t kill me to stay indie in the U.S., but if somebody says, “you know who should write to?” I might take the time to do it.
Okay so, that’s pretty much it. Let me know what you think. I won’t repeat anything – I swear. I’m a lawyer; I’m good at keeping stuff quiet. You could tell me you buried a body somewhere and I wouldn’t tell anyone – well, as long as you paid my fee. I’m not like a walking confessional, or anything. Anyway, thanks for listening and have a good day.