So you can read my books

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Please vote for my GateKeeper Contest entry. Victor's mother is beginning to grumble about the lack of votes. Ah, Death has no sense of humor.

Now, to my post title : HOW TO GET AN AGENT FAST!

One sentence answer :

Make the sale for her.

Before you get your hackles up, bear with me for a second.

I didn't say it was fair. It's just how to get an agent fast. You make the sale yourself.

Besides, in a way, it is quite fair :

Who else knows your novel as intimately as you do?

Who else can see its market potential, how best to phrase its strengths, illuminate why what might seem a weakness is in fact a strength?

Your carefully crafted query will more than likely be the essence of your agent's pitch to weary, skeptical editors.

Making your query shine not only makes your agent look better, it makes her sale easier.

And after all, 85% of the money from that sale will go to you.

Then why do you need agents in the first place?

Cliff Notes answer :

Most publishers won't look at you without one.

Agents will fight for you to get more money for a long list of rights you know nothing about, and when your editor moves on, your agent will make sure you're not shoved to the bottom of the stack

(which you will be if you don't have an agent.)

All right. How do you make the sale for them?

1) Make your own market :
Conventional wisdom says start your own blog. Be unconventional. Make the "Pet Rock" of blogs. How?

You do daily posts. Don't groan. You need to build a following. Daily posts will do that for you.

You make short posts for shorter attention spans.

You make each one funny. Be the Christopher Moore of blogdom. How?

Nothing is shorter than a one panel cartoon. Create a zombie Ziggy (creation by Tom Wilson.) Call him "Nearly Dead Ned." Place him in a post-apocalyptic New York City.

First cartoon :
Ned is happily eating his own forefinger. The caption reads : "The trouble with finger sandwiches is that none are as good as homemade."

Second cartoon :
Ned is looking odd at a cobwebbed skeleton by a doorway. The skeleton is wearing sunglasses and a badge " Help the Blind." The skeleton is pressing a door buzzer under a sign which reads : "School for the Deaf."

Third cartoon :
Ned is lumbering down a street in the red light district. He has passed two bars. One advertises : "Live Nudes." The second : "Undead Nudes."
Ned is stopped in front of the third with his now classic puzzled look. Its window reads : "Don't Ask."

You do a year's worth of cartoons. Pick the ones with the largest number of favorable comments. Bind them up and submit to agents with the comments to each attached, along with the daily stats for your blog.

{Now, obviously this is just an example of an unconventional "Pet Rock" blog. You have to use your own muse to take off and run with the concept.}

2) Fan the flames of off-line and on-line interest :
As I will do shortly with my blog tour for the next classic fantasy to take America's imagination by storm : THE BEAR WITH 2 SHADOWS.

And wouldn't you have loved to have been one of the first readers to have read and been amazed by the magic of THE LORD OF THE RINGS? Don't believe me? Download those first free chapters. You'll be a believer.

Get a local reporter to do a review of your novel for your local newspaper. Hopscotch that into another review from the newspaper of a near-by town.

3) Make a book trailer of your novel.
Using the students from a local university, create a book trailer. Utilize public domain music and images.

Splice the images with teases from your novel. Put the book trailer on your blog and on YouTube.

Advertise your book trailer on the blogs of your friends, in the local newspaper, and in the local college newspaper (hawking the fact that you used students from said college.)

4) Petition your local newspaper and those free newspapers at the doors to every grocery store to do free reviews for upcoming books and movies. Keep a record of each and every article you do for different newpapers with names and dates.

5) Be sure you state all of the above quickly and tersely at the end of every query to every agent.

And there you have the five easy steps to get an agent fast. They might even work. May we all get agents faster than we believe possible.
{Cartoon by the comic genius, Chuck Ingwersen }
And a movie that succeeded due to its unconventional take on a classic subject is :


  1. These are great suggestions. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  2. It really does boil down to sales and marketing, which is always difficult for us artsy people to grasp sometimes.

  3. KarenG : Yes, you're right. It's called the Publishing BUSINESS for a reason. Ouch. Why can't everyone just recognize our genius right off? LOL.

  4. I loved your story and voted for it! Thank you for reading & voting for The Secret of Spruce Knoll. We need to get the votes rolling in! Maybe we should do a blogfest for the contest... I enjoyed your post today too, well put!

  5. so many steps... and like every thing in life, take steps to reach your goals.

    good advice and post.

  6. Heather : Thanks. I really enjoyed your story as well. Getting votes has never been easy for me. Guess I will never become President! LOL.

    A visiting friend suggested I make a contest where everyone who votes for my story gets entered to win an autographed book by Stephen King. I told her that was probably illegal somehow!!

    She insisted I do something like it for everyone who bought THE BEAR WITH 2 SHADOWS. I said that made me running a raffle, and I was pretty sure Blogger would come knocking at my door! LOL.

    Your blogfest for the contest sounds like fun. I wish us both luck! It's just submitting to a contest, knowing that the judges will never see your work to be evaluated on its own merits because your votes are anemic. Roland

    Imagery Imagined : Everything in life it seems takes a longer, more winding path than you would believe! Darn it. Why can't the world just recognize our genius, right? LOL.

  7. Good luck on your blog tour! Don't I wish I was around to have discovered The Lord of the Rings...

  8. Very good advice. Also, research agents. Don't just go down a list, sending your query to ones who don't represent what you write.

    I can't do funny. Clearly, you can. I wish I could. I am not funny. I can be sarcastic, though. I know I can because my kids roll their eyes at me a lot. Maybe I'll try sarcastic.

  9. Thanks, Deniz. I'm still building this blog tour from scratch, being new to the game. That's the great thing about reading a new author -- she or he could be the next JK or JRR Tolkien.

    Helen : You have very good advice yourself. Sarcastic can work. At least, Gypsy, my cat, seems to think so! LOL.

  10. Your ideas for the zombie cartoon were hilarious. I imagined each one and had a chuckle. Idea for your blog, maybe? I'd follow the Zombieland Doggy!

  11. If I could only draw, I would certainly create those NEARLY DEAD NED and his zombie dog cartoons. I think they'd be a hit, don't you? Thanks for getting a kick out of my mental cartoons. Have a beautiful new week, Roland