Greetings acolytes! I hope this post finds you hale, hearty and not sneezing your head off like yours truly. It’s May again, believe it or not and we can all thank our lucky stars for surviving another winter, officially, I think. Although I do remember a freak May snowstorm once. We don’t count ourselves truly “done” with winter until about mid June here in Michigan.
I don’t know how you spent your long, gray, snowy winter days but for me they were chock full of hope. I had a great manuscript ready (Or so I thought. More on this further down) and I’d found the most amazing online tool for locating the perfect agent to help me bring the thing into the light of the New York Times Best Seller With A Bidding War Over Movie Rights kind of day. I read about this in a blog from some super fabulous author or another I forget who right now that I follow religiously. Agentquery.com was touted as the best possible way to locate agents seeking your book and track your submissions so as not to bombard and annoy them with repeated queries.
So I jumped on board. I spent the better part of two weeks in February tracking down what I thought would be folks eager to take what I have to offer and help me take my career to the next level. What with my super fabulous backlist, my stellar platform that includes robust social networking and blogging and whatnotting, plus this perfectly fabulous, unique, and stealthily sexy thriller (yes I said that)—I’m a shoe in. I just really hoped I wouldn’t have to disappoint any one of them once the offers started piling into my inbox.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Liz, Liz, Liz,” you chuckle, shaking your head while sipping from your brandy snifter. “You silly little rookie. Authors are a penny a dozen these days. Agents are being even more careful about who they choose to represent. After all we can’t ALL get a six-figure deal to write New Direction Fan Fiction, now can we?”
“Au contraire, you cynic,” I bleat. “I know what I’m doing here and AgentQuery.com will only make the task that much easier for me.”
So I prepped my query, my synopsis, my blurb, my bio and the first, first three and first six chapters of the thriller project within an inch of their lives and started sending. I’ve done this before, back in the bad old days when I had no bleeping idea what it meant to get something edited BEFORE sending it off. That’s what AGENTS do, right? They locate the next diamond in the rough, sign the author and then jump into editing the book. I now know better. I’ve been edited. It’s a done deal.
You have probably already surmised what happened next. I got rejected by them all. Every single one of my carefully researched and approached literary agents said “Thanks for your time. No thanks for your book.” And I queried 30 of them (thirty), thinking the more the merrier when it came time to choose one.
To be completely honest, about the time I hit rejection number 15 I decided that the book must need a freshening, a new set of eyes, or something. So I contracted with a new editor who has pointed out the many grievous errors of my ways and has dumped the thing back in my lap with orders for another (that will make 5) major revision of it. And she’s right. So perhaps it was for the best no one wanted it (me). Maybe all the “keep yer chin up” style support comments I get about “you don’t ever want to beg an agent to rep you,” and “the right person will know right away that you have the book they want to represent,” are correct.
But that does not make this process any easier. And now I have a serious dilemma. My self published series The Love Brothers is pretty gangbusters I’m happy to say. Love Garage (book 1) was #30 in all paid Kindle books for the month of March and Coach Love (book 2) was #50 in April. I am looking forward to some pretty decent royalties that I can keep for myself, use on edits and covers for, you know, The Next Books.
Do I need an agent? Is it important to undergo such stress, and extra work putting together the perfect query and synopsis just to build up my next layer of rejection induced thick skin? I don’t know the answer to this anymore. But I do know one thing. After doing a bit of digging and asking around as to what, exactly a third or fourth tier agent might do for me really (since my targeted 1st and 2nd s are all staying Liz Crowe-free for now) I’ve discovered something interesting about what they do versus what a professional, well-connected publicist might do.
I’m a marketing gal from the get go. I’ve packaged, pimped, spun and sold more things in my career than I care to mention. So I know I need “connections” and someone to use theirs to get my name and existing books in front of some “influencers.” Ergo, I’ve decided to pay for this on the up front for the balance of 2015 and see where it might take me versus begging already inundated and overworked agents to add me to their TBR list, in essence, in hopes that they might place me at an publishing house that I don’t want.
I’m a control freak. This suits me. I’ll keep you posted. I’m sure you will be able to learn, once again, from my mistakes.
Now get away from your computer and go outside. You probably need the vitamin D!
Amazon best-selling author, mom of three, Realtor, beer blogger, brewery marketing expert, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville currently living in Ann Arbor. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse.
Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction hybrid, “Romance. Worth the Risk,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”).
With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and at times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.
Don’t ever ask her for anything “like a Budweiser” or risk bodily injury.
My latest creation is a re-release and re-covering of one of my HOTTEST books ever: Vegas Miracle.
Ryan and Grace Sullivan have all the outward indications of a happy life: money, success, an undeniable physical attraction that quickly evolved from whirlwind relationship to marriage. But lately, Ryan’s become moody and distant. As their relationship starts to crumble, Ryan discovers something about himself he can’t admit just as Grace realizes the young man she encounters at an invitation only party, Henri Christophe, a celebrity chef with the most successful restaurant in Las Vegas, is her husband’s lover. But Henri holds a secret himself. He wants to be more to both of them.
As they attempt to make their unconventional arrangement work, Ryan’s deep-seated fear of relationship failure continues to thwart everyone’s happiness. When he finally walks away instead of confronting the emotional connection the trio shares, he returns to find their lives flipped inside out. A sought after hotel and resort consultant, Ryan has yet to meet a problem he couldn’t solve. But when it comes to his own heart, he may be too late.