I have three published unagented fictional books. And I'm very proud of all of them. The royalties are nothing for me to talk about. But at least the books are published. I could publish a book about every year without a agent. And I'm sure that most writers can. However, real compensation will only come with having an agent. I had a friend who said he was rejected by literary agents 400 times. And then he sent an already published manuscript/book to same agents. The manuscript had been written and published by a author that has been ten or more times on New York Times bestselling list and the agents turned it down flatly. This book was actually number one on an early NY Times all times bestselling lists. Go figure!!

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Well, editors are looking for any reason to say no these days, and that attitude, quite understandably, trickles down to the agents as well. It's never been pleasant for fiction writers, and it's less pleasant than ever these days.

I've heard of at least two different cases like the one you describe: where an aspiring writer has retyped the first few chapters of a critically acclaimed bestseller from years past and had it rejected all over New York. It's funny and instructive, but it also ignores two things: market reality and changing tastes. The market isn't the same as it was in 1957 or 1987 or even 1997. And there's a kismet quality at work when an unknown writer strikes it rich. Had something like The Bridges of Madison County been released today, it may have gone straight to remainder; who knows why it struck a chord with the reading public when it did.

Hey, if you've published 3 books without an agent, I'd think that any reputable agent would want to take a look at you.
I thought so too, but like you have so stated, the market has changing taste. I wasn't speaking of one decade to the next. I was totally speaking of current material. I try to produce a book once a year. I only began publishing three years ago. However, I do understand what you are saying and you are exactly right. Everyone is looking for reasons to send out rejection slips. I will alway write what I love and that's fiction, barring a non-fiction manscript here or there.
400 times? Now that's perseverance. Was that all for the same book?


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