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. 




Mike Zolezzi      

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Hi there, I've taken many routes to getting published. When I wrote the first version of my book which I was desperate to get out, I self published a mere 100 copies which I used for promotional purposes. Through this I gained interviews and a 2 page spread in People magazine, many newspaper articles and even a few Sunday paper features along with numerous radio shows and ended up with a boutique publisher, associated with another author on here, Vikki Petraitis. A second publishing was done when my book was made into an episode of a TV show about unsolved crimes, and ended up with McMillan. The edition which is now available, I again self published through IUniverse, it's on-demand publishing - the experience was interesting, but at least now the book is available all the time. Best of luck.

I've started to look into the self publishing route.  It is an option I will consider if I don't get an agent of publisher interested enough to represent or buy the book.  I have been writing now for about 5 years, I've previously wrote screenplays.  this is my first novel and first time writing about what I do.  I enjoy writing and the escape of it all.  I would write even if I'd never got published.     

I self-pubbed just under a year ago after many years of "we love it but we can't sell it" rejections. Since I've never been on reality tv, haven't slept with any celebrities and don't fancy a big boob job, I went the kindle route and have never looked back! I'm never going to make enough money to give up the day job but I'm having fun and selling ebooks.

But the route you are taking is best. This way you will know if you are any good. Getting 3 requests so quickly suggests that you have written something worth reading.

Good luck!

Debbie, I HAVE slept with celebrities and DID get a big boob job (in my case the job was making them smaller--weird, huh?) and I don't see anybody hustling to give me money.  I figure I'll have to do that myself.  Let them come crawling to me when the entire world is glutting themselves on my ebooks andf screeching for more.

But what's interesting to me is that you first mention that as being the route to traditional publishing success, then say that getting signed by a big house tells you you're any good.  Think about that a little.

I was lucky to run into self-publishers before I even thought of writing books (they made me do it, it's not my fault) and they convinced me it's the way to go, first thing.  And that the idea that the "gatekeepers" confer quality is basically a brainwashing job that makes a lot of writers suffer.

So, we'll see what happens.  I should challenge Michael to a race the best-sellers list, but I learned never to bet with cops.  :-)

I wouldn't say that getting signed by a big house necessarily says you are any good - it says you have a platform to sell from (which may be a stonking good book, or it may be that you are well-known enough that people will be naturally interested - possibly both). But these are the people who haven't subbed, they've been approached and "asked to write" a book or whatever.

For those of us mere mortals who have to sub, having agents interested at least gives you an indication of whether or not you can write. There are some fabulous indie writers out there but there are also people who ought to do some basic editing. When the industry likes your stuff, it can give you enough self-confidence to go it alone - it did for me, anyway. I doubt I'd ever have had enough self-belief otherwise.

I'm sorry, I thought you did say "This way you will know if you are any good."    

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to argue with your or anything.  There are lots or routes to the peak, and plenty of places to stop and enjoy the view on the way.  

And yes, I can see what you mean about people building your faith for you.  So much of my early life was contests and sports where you don't have to have any validation: just show them the sash or point to the scoreboard.   Writing's different.   I wouldn't even be in it at all if some people hadn't praised editing/rewrite stuff I was doing and pushed me to do more.

It would be nice to start publishing with a platform from publishers, and I'm seeing people "go indie" like that.  I've chosen (if it was really a choice) to try to build my own brand and see who buys it.  

What matters is where we end up, and if it was worth the trip, right?

I did. And if you are subbing cold with no platform and agents ask for more, it does imply that they think you can write.That's how I got the self-confidence.

What I'm trying to say is that an agent asking for more is a different validation from a publishing house publishing your book. Does that make more sense? Maybe I need more coffee... :-)

But I agree - where we end up is most important.

I am up to five fulls out there and 1 partial.  Hopefully one of the agents like it enough to offer representation. 

Wow. That's a good score!

Just remember you knew us when, Michael.

Well, you know, in the internet sense.

Good stuff, Michael.  I'm in a similar boat, or was.  I'm a prosecutor handling pretty big cases, murder, robbery etc.  In fact, one of my cases was on 48 Hours last October, and I suspect the air time helped me get a book deal offered on that (negotiating right now, so no chickens counted yet!). 

But for fiction I took the same route as you: got an agent after six months of querying and got close to a deal with a couple of the big publishers.  Ended up with a 3-book deal with a smaller one, and am loving it.  My advice would be to be patient, work hard, and be responsive to agents and editors.  Best of luck!

Thanks for the advice Mark.  Still waiting on the response from agents, and I am now working on my second novel.


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