Secret agent

While my second draft is festering in my drawer, I mean awaiting more feedback, I whiled away the time by looking into self-publishing versus finding an agent. My head is full of grand ideas to publish my play. I haven’t really gone beyond that and thought about whether anyone would actually want to buy it. Then of course I stumble across the sites that tell me you can self-publish, but frankly you probably won’t sell many copies. And it will all cost you money.

One of the most helpful articles I found was Self-publishing a book: 25 things you need to know. The headings start well: Self-publishing is easy. (That’s what I want to hear.) Quality has improved. (Great.) But then: The odds are against you. (Are they? Don’t tell me that! Always remain positive – if you can see it, you will be it!) Creating a professional book is really hard. (It can’t be that hard, can it?) Even if your book is great, there’s a chance it won’t sell. (Oh no, the financial reality … OK, how much can I afford to lose? Better not tell the husband.)

So, it hits me – I need an agent. I’ve had one before (I tried my hand at writing funny books for children. Let’s just say they were perhaps funny strange rather than funny ha ha – but I did get valuable feedback from major publishing houses). Then life got in the way of writing. I’m back to the comedy – but this time for adults. So how hard can it be to get an agent again?

Terrible. I’d forgotten what a trawl it was. “Don’t contact us, unless someone has introduced you,” they say. Oh, right. So I’ve got to know a famous author, or be a friend of an agent? And that makes me a good writer?

Another says: “Most publishers and many agencies no longer accept unsolicited submissions.” Perhaps I need a famous name to pretend they’ve written this play?

And if the agent does accept unsolicited material, they may insist on exclusivity – and even take a couple of months to reject you. Mmmmm. This is not going well.

There’s nothing for it. I’m going to have to save up and publish my own book: Martini Bond, a parody of James Bond. There may be nothing in it financially for me, but I will get the satisfaction of bringing out my own play about a secret agent … Perhaps I could even cut my costs by accessing my husband’s cash. It might take months of emptying the small change from his pockets. But it sounds like it could work. I could even be my very own secret agent. Just don’t tell my husband.

April 17, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Comedy, Comedy writing, Humour, Uncategorized.


  1. crubin replied:

    Yes, querying agents can be such fun, can’t it? I remember the rejections well. 🙂

    • WomanBitesDog replied:

      Hi Crubin. Thanks for commenting on my blog. Did you consider the self-publishing route?

      • crubin replied:

        Well, I was fortunate enough to get a contract with a small, non-traditional publisher. They do mostly e-books but some print as well. At least it gets my foot in the door.

      • WomanBitesDog replied:

        Definitely gets your foot in the door! Good luck with it – will you ask your blogging community to review your book?

      • crubin replied:

        I hope to land a few readers that way. 🙂

  2. lwsapir replied:

    oh, querying does sound intimidating! But Martini Bond sounds like a story I’d like to read! 🙂

    • WomanBitesDog replied:

      Hi Iwsapir. Thanks for your comment. I’m tempted to ask fellow bloggers to review the play once it’s reached it’s final draft stage. Scary? But necessary…Have you tried asking for feedback this way?

  3. Jennifer M Eaton replied:

    It is not actually true that you need an agent to get into a publishing house. Maybe one of the big houses, but I personally don’t think the big names are all that important anymore with the decline of the bookstore.

    There are quite a few smaller publishing houses that take unsolicited manuscripts and do not require agents.

    But yes, I can undertand the angst involved with the querying process

    • WomanBitesDog replied:

      What you have to say about an agent is very interesting. Sounds to me like I’m going to have to do my homework and find those small publishing houses.

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