Even Bugs Had a Debut

Even Bugs Had a Debut

OK, peeps – we continue our recap of the Historical Novel Society’s conference this past weekend.

One session I attended was on debut novels. We had four panelists for this one: novelist and attorney Catherine Delors, novelist and screenwriter Kamran Pasha, and novelists Barbara Corrado Pope  and Ann Weisgarber.

In this session, these authors shared their journey from unpublished to published authors, and made suggestions so that the rest of us might join them!

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Catherine Delors – sent out nearly 100 queries; she received 2 offers for representation wihtin a couple of months and publishing offers within 6 months. Her debut novel? Mistress of the Revolution
  • Kamran Pasha – it took him 6 years to get published; being that he was a screenwriter, he began writing his novel by writing a screenplay for a 3-hour movie. It was all dialogue, all action. Then he went back to add in the description. He finally got published because he found an agency that had just launched a book division, and was hungry for some new authoring talent. The rest? History! His debut novel? Mother of the Believers
  • Ann Weisgarber – got her start through Macmillan New Writing. This imprint of Macmillan publishing specializes in finding new writers in all genres – and you don’t even need an agent! Ann also suggested that you enter every contest you qualify for, to get valuable feedback before you submit your work to that all important agent or publisher. Ann’s debut novel was The Personal History of Rachel Dupree.

All of these authors agreed on a couple of points: 1) use agentquery.com to locate agents who are looking to represent your genre, and follow their submission guidelines (note that I just searched for “historical fiction” and came up with 243 agents!) and 2) learn the art of the sales pitch. Yes, you have to sell your work!

If you’re shy, or if you think your work should “speak for itself”, or that selling is the same as lying – then you need an attitude adjustment. I suggest you check out Jeffrey Gitomer’s website. Sign up for his weekly ezine and learn what it takes to get out there and promote yourself and your work.

I’ll see you when we’re both published!