Stony the Road I Trod 3

For the next two weeks I will be blogging about my self-publishing journey.  Over the past year or so, different people have asked me about the publishing process overall and self-publishing specifically.  The first part of the journey will be titled “Stony the Road I Trod” as it relates to my life as I tried to make heads or tails of publishing a book.

rocky_road.jpgAfter the letter was as good as it was going to get to my way of thinking, I sent it off to several agents.  Now in 2003, most agents still wanted a letter mailed to them and some wanted a letter only.  Some wanted a synopsis along with the query letter.  Others wanted a chapter by chapter summary.  A couple of agents wanted a query letter plus either the first 10 pages or first chapter.  Different requirements for different agents.  It is important to follow the requirements that are given.

Also some agents will say that they do not want simultaneous submissions.  And I confess that I had no idea what that meant.  Now I do.  Say that you submit a query letter to Max Agent who loves the query letter and wants to read the full manuscript.  You send Max the full manuscript.  Again back then, this was mainly a snail mail operation for many agents so there is a delay to get it there to the agent’s office.  While Max is reading the manuscript, if Jane Agent at another agency is also interested in reading the full manuscript, you’re supposed to let her know that it is being reviewed by another agent.  Blah cubed.  That never happened to me, lol.  But that’s what you’re supposed to do should two or more agents salivate over your query letter.

Just like when you send out resumes and cover letters for prospective jobs, look over your query letter for spelling and grammar errors.  Make sure you address them properly as Ms. or Mr.  If you’re in doubt about the gender, call the agency and ask.  Leslie isn’t always a woman.

Okay, you can read instructions in the books that you buy.  This is all about me.

So I sent off query letters with my self addressed stamped envelope so I could get a response.  And then I waited.  Some responses came back pretty quickly.  One of them was a handwritten note on the top of the actual query letter saying this wasn’t the right project for them and wished me well.  Those first few rejections didn’t even faze me.  I kept rolling with it.  I just knew that one day I would get a YES and from there I would get to be on best seller lists and stuff like that.  I knew some agent was going to love my four kids – Kendra, Lamar, Destiny, and Steven – just as much as I did.  Surely. 

Finally in the early part of 2004, an agent requested the full manuscript.  

And my excitement revved back up.  In between the initial query letter submissions in the summer of 2003 and the request in January 2004, I admit that I let the manuscript, writing, etc. take a backseat to a relationship and a full time job.

3 Responses to “Stony the Road I Trod 3”

  1. Don Says:

    Thanks! I’ll be checking in. I want to self publish my comic book.

  2. Christine Says:

    I’ll be checking in too. I’m getting tired of hearing “Brilliant . . but . . .” and I’m thinking of self-publishing my project. Sales and marketing insists there is no market for books featuring non-stereotypical African Americans. And I’ll share what I learn as well.

  3. carlasarratt Says:

    Hey Don and Christine, thanks for checking in! “Non-stereoptypical African Americans” — I hate that phrase. We are a diverse group of people and our books need to reflect that as does our music, movies, and other forms of entertainment. No two Black think and feel the same way about every topic.

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