I have chosen this topic because I have written a book which is now going through the publishing phase. It is my first book and I hope to hold a big launch for it soon. I have learnt many things about such an undertaking, and the most important lesson learnt is: the easiest thing to do is to write the book. Now comes the hard part.
Firstly, I wouldn't like to guess the number of titles in English that exist. A person, such as myself has a book in my head and I decide to sit down and put my thoughts in written form. When that is completed I sit back and am well pleased with myself that the project is done. This will be a subjective work that usually involves immense research and effort, so it's not difficult to see that the author will be proud of himself. However, will anyone at all have any interest in what has been produced? Will anybody actually pay a farthing to buy your tome?
This is where things start to really get complicated!
Our first thoughts are to submit our precious manuscript to literary agents who, we hope will see the merit in what we have writ, and of course they will want to represent our submission as the next great work of written art.
JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, submitted her first manuscript to twelve agencies. Harry Potter is a children's fictional story and most agencies used to say that they had no interest in either fiction or children's stories, or both. On her thirteenth try the agent had a young daughter to whom he passed the manuscript. The child wouldn't put it down.
The rest of that story is that JK Rowling has sold more than 400 million of the books. To put that into perspective she has sold one to absolutely everybody in The United States of America and Canada, combined. The world's most successful writer was sent away by twelve of the very same people who are supposed to be on the lookout for just such a talent. I hope those people are doing something else for a living now.
Not only did she get children all around the word to actually read, each book has been turned into a movie, and now the Harry Potter concept has been made into a Theme Park.
To be a literary agent must be the most difficult form of work there is. Firstly most agencies receive so many submissions that they aren't even able to send out rejection letters. It takes them ages to even get to what you have sent, and they get annoyed to know that you have sent out several submissions to every agent there is. "We don't like to think we are part of a beauty parade," they say.
I received one rejection letter that I appreciated from an agent who said that she was sorry but that they had elected not to represent me as they have to absolutely love the books they choose. It is a highly subjective business to be in, and I understand that, but there will be some books that no-one will actually love, but because of their message they will be commercial successes.
My book will fall into that category. I have been forced into self-publishing, which means I get to keep the agent's 20%, so wish me luck and watch this space. I hope and expect to hold a Launch Announcement in the very near future.
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