I have just had yet another knock back from an agent, and again no feedback whatsoever on why they wont take me on. Its getting quite frustrating. I'm a new writer and have just finished my first novel, GATHERING OF THE SEVEN STARS. Any body got any tips??

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Seems to be par for the course from what I can see, Andrew. I've tried a few without success and little feedback, though I am already published. I have one friend who is very determined and it took her 37 attempts to get an agent! Having said that, since that time she's gone on to have a lot more success with bigger publishing houses.

It's not easy to get an agent. They tend to look for subject matter they know will sell. They also like to to see some experience, i.e. published stories winning an award, having worked in another writing field, expertise in the subject of your book, etc. I didn't get my agent until I had been short listed for the Shamus award for a short story published by Hitchcock.

My suggestion Andrew, forget about an agent. That's the way the business worked last century. No more. Submit your manuscript directly to acquisition editors, start at the top houses and work your way down. Make your submission as professional as possible. (learn how to do this--there's books and websites that can tell you how).

A number of smaller publishers might be interested in a first time author but I caution be very careful before you sign a contract. You don't need an agent for this. If you're offered a contract, contact a intellectual properties (IP) attorney for a one time fee to review and advise you on the contract.

Or self-publish, write more and build an audience. Good luck.

Well, you could put an apostrophe in "wont" and make "Any body" one word, for starters. And two question marks aren't necessary after "tips," even if done for expression. I mean well here, but agents and editors will kill you immediately if your work begins with these kinds of errors. Not sure if your submitted work has these, but you want to be very careful and have a number of people proof your copy. No matter how good you might be, you will ALWAYS overlook errors and internalize others.

Agents can be tougher to crack than publishers, especially small publishers. My first two books were published by a small Key West publisher, New Pulp Press. Your library may subscribe to Mystery Scene magazine. I have found it a great tool in the search for small publishers. The mag. does lots of reviews of new books, so you can match the type of book you write to the publishers who may like what you do. Before I went this route, I must have contacted 30-35 agents and a like number of publishers. I had much more interest from the small publishing houses. Most queries, of course, are ignored, as you are finding out.

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