Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year! Now What?

So it's now 2012, the end of the Mayan Long-Count Calender.  I guess that's as good a reason as any for making plans for this year.  I think I like the idea of plans more than resolutions, because most people treat resolutions as things they think they should do, but  maybe don't really want to do (like giving up smoking or bad eating habits), or don't want to do the work to get there (like exercising or losing weight).  It's more of an intention, but with nothing to back it up.

With a plan, you have a goal, as well as an idea how you'll actually get there.  Now all you need is the will to accomplish it.

My plan for this year is to finally get my book published.  I've spent the last few years searching for an agent.  This year, I plan to make a more aggressive search, while also exploring other options.  I've already done some research on options for self-publishing it as an e-book.  Probably start with Amazon and Smashwords, since they seem to give me the widest audience the quickest.  That is, if I can't find an agent before the end of the year.

I've got my list together, about 25 carefully selected and researched agents that actually sell in my field (contemporary YA), are open to submissions, and seem to be people I would enjoy working with.  Also, ones who seem like they would be interested in my particular work.

I have the first couple of queries in this set out already.  I plan to have the rest out by the end of this week.  Then I give them a reasonable amount of time to respond, while getting the next round of potentials together.  If I keep this up for the rest of the year, I should either find an agent, or exhaust all the worthwhile possibilities.  :)

Now don't get me wrong, I'd love to get a big contract with one of the Big 6 publishing houses.  Something with a huge advance (okay, mid to upper 5 figures would be nice, and far more possible than dreaming of those 7 figure advances).  But I'm realistic.  There are a lot of books out there.  Some are great, some aren't.  And quality doesn't always dictate what gets published by the Big 6.  They've all put out their share of the literary equivalent of Warterworld over the years.  (Obviously, considering how many books they lose money on each year)  Maybe my book is the shining gem I think it is, but even then it may never find the right agent, the right editor to take a chance on it.

But I have enough faith in myself and in the work to try.  And if I don't find them, I have enough faith to go it alone.  I'm also realistic enough to know that self-publishing isn't going to be a golden path to easy money either.  There will be up-front costs I wouldn't have with a traditional publisher, like editing, cover art, ad copy, and so on.  I'll have to handle it all, and pay for anything I can't do myself.  But I'm already looking into alternatives there, if the need arises. 

So I have my plan and my back-up plan for this year.  How about anyone else out there?

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