Seeking an agent or a publisher for a novel can be daunting task, like job-hunting in a tight economy. I’ve signed up for an agent meeting at a local conference, WriteAngles, in October. A conference committee member will assign me to one of four agents based on my query letter. One of the agents is the first agent I asked to represent me but for a different novel. I’m sure she won’t remember me but I’d like to meet her again because I’ve learned so much about writing and querying since that first meeting. I can’t believe I had the temerity to hawk such a terrible manuscript that started out as science fiction and ended as action/adventure.
Since I don’t anticipate wowing the first agent I approach, I’ve started a selection process. After attending the Crimebake conference for the last seven years, I’ve heard at least twenty agents speak and have met a few of them socially at the bar or during the Saturday evening banquet. Therefore, when I thumb through my 2011 WRITER’S MARKET, I pause when I reach an agent’s name I recognize and try to remember the agent’s wish list and caveats. Although these agents are unaware of my existence, I think it’s easier to write to them because I can picture their faces and hear their voices. Also, I can mention seeing them at Crimebake and learning about the books and clients they want to represent.
Through SinC-Guppy emails, I’ve learned of Mainly Murder Press, open for submissions in January 2011, and the e-publisher, MuseItUp Publishing. The latter is looking particularly for vampires and the supernatural so I may wait until I’ve produced a manuscript in that genre before approaching them.
Minotaur Books offers a competition for a first crime novel to be submitted by November 30, 2010. The judges do not offer critiques. I’m actively seeking competitions in which critiques are offered since a rejection with reasons is more interesting than a rejection without.
Published short stories help to give a writer name recognition. I subscribe to Duotrope’s Digest. Writer’s Digest has a short story competition with a deadline of November 1, 2010. The audio publisher, Sniplits is looking for genre stories. Pikes Peak Writers fiction contest, deadline November 15, 2010, is looking for short stories and book length submissions.
As well as being alert for publishing opportunities, I’m trying to keep up-to-date with publishing information and other subjects of interest to writers.
http://www.shortmystery.net/ has an email discussion group. Members of the Short Mystery Fiction Society participate in selecting stories for the Derringer award.
http://publishersweekly.com// provides industry news, book reviews, predictions for the future of publishing, and author information but the site is not specific to mystery.
http://www.writersmanual.com/ is a writers’ bragging zone. Authors can fill out a free interview questionnaire and promote their writing. On the site, a link brings a person to Writer Gazette that provides a free call for submissions with paying listings in alphabetical order. There are resources, articles, and a newsletter. Another link brings a person to EbooksCafe. A writer can list e-books for free and receive a full web page. Although genres listed do not include mystery, there are suspense, horror, romance, and general.
http://www.writers.com/ provides writing classes for approximately $300. (I usually take classes through SinC with titles such as The First Five, or Getting out of the Slushpile.) The mystery instructor has published thirteen novels and has taught at colleges and conferences. The site also offers one-on-one tutoring, writers’ groups for support and critiquing, a newsletter, resources for mystery writers, and tips for library research into crime, forensics, and law.
I’m a novice at submissions and rejections, learning through trial and error. What methods have you tried to get published?