Hi I am new to the site and to the journey to becoming a published writer. I started writing to escape my job, which happens to be a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department. Now I am a detective, and love my job. So I wrote about it. I recently completed a novel that was inspired by my work at Robbery-Homicide Division. I started the querying process February 1st, and as of today, three literary agents in the Los Angeles area have requested my manuscript.
So I ask my new friends, what should I expect? Will it take the agents long to decide if my writing stinks, good, or worth a bit of mentoring.
Should I go directly to the publishers?
And what about self publishing? I believe with my background I could help sell my work, or maybe not. I would love your thoughts.
Sounds like you're getting an excellent response to your agent queries so far (three positive responses in less than three weeks is a rousing success), so I'd stay on that track for awhile and see where it goes. I'd give it at least six months, and just see what the responses are--a good agent will be willing to work with you on shaping the novel. A good agent will not ask for money up front. If you don't get any takers after a year, say, then it might be time to think about self publishing, but the fact that you're an LAPD homicide detective writing from your experience would sell books on its own, most likely. Hell, if I was an agent I'd be interested, too. Best of luck, and keep us posted!
Mr. Loomis thank for your response. From what I have read the writing experience is a waiting game. So I guess I will get to the next novel.
I agree with Jon about everything. Have you tried any big New York agents? Who is Joseph Wambaugh's agent? Try him or her, and other agents who represent former law enforcement writers. Seems to me there are some best sellers and big agents in this category. There are agents and there are Agents, Mike. Some agents can send your manuscriupt out, make follow-up calls, maybe get one of the editors at a publishing company to read, like, and fight for your novel with a committee. Other agents can take your manuscrupt to that editor's boss and get a deal. It's worth your time to hunt for the best, start there. You have what they call a good platform.
I have sent inquiries to 12 New York agencies, so far 6 no thank you's, 1 requested a 6-8 week exclusive, which I could not grant at least not at this point, and waiting on replies from five others. I haven't approached the big name agencies yet, ie William Morris.
The three L.A. agencies that have my manuscript are reputable and I would sign with any one of them.
I am still sending out queries, five a week. I guess it is just a waiting game. Is there a place on this sight to post a sample chapter to get feed back?
If you're getting feedback from agents that quick, you're doing something right.
You've got three agents on the line and you're asking US for advice? :-) Congrats, Michael.
I'm sure you know the chances of writing paying you enough to change jobs is slim. (Hey, you're the detective, right, you can read the ground) But it's been done and it sounds like you've made a great start.
Wambaugh's agent is Nat Sobel. I remember it came up at a conference. Know what I would do? I'd seek Wambaugh out. Not easy for the average writer, but the average writer isn't an LAPD detective, either. I'm betting you could get in touch with him, buy him a beer. If he likes you enough to let it be known, it would help a lot.
I'm real new to books, but I've been around films enough to know that's how it works, and I'm already learning that publishing isn't much different.
Good luck. Buy me a drink when you have your launch party. You single? :-)
Cammy, thank you for the Nat Sobel advice. I am going to mail him a query today. A detective friend of mine is having lunch with Michal Connelly on Thursday. He's going to show Connelly my query, I'll tell you how that goes.
I agree with Jack and Jon. You've made an excellent start. You also have a good sense about exclusives. Never give them more than one month. In general, do what you can to limit the waiting time. These days, authors are no longer as patient as they used to be. Very good luck!
The agency that requested the exclusive just emailed me they will waive the exclusive, so I sent the manuscript on the digital highway.
I think the true path to publishing, particularly nowadays, is to do it all for the love and not for the reward of having been published. Without tremendous stick-to-it-iveness, without the intrinsic motivation, the extrinsic rewards aren't likely to materialize.
Jonathan Kellerman wrote nine unpublished novels, as I recall, before obtaining his first pub contract. Steven King four or five, I think. Common stories ...
I think you' e got the answer, Eric.
I'd add the wrinkle that if you are where people can read you, but whatever means, you can see how far you can push it. And anything you get is a reward at that point.