King of Sorrow, my next novel, is nearing completion. Now I'm battling with two very serious dilemmas. 


As always I call on the advice of other, more experienced authors than myself, those autors who have walked the line, who have lived to tell the tale. Here are the two obstacles:


1) Should I have the first 3/4 chapters polished by an editor before submitting sample chapters to publishers for consideration? I've heard this is a good idea, but it costs a pretty penny to have a professional give a sample manuscript the once-over.


2) Who do I submit the sample chapters to? I realize this sounds like a dumb question, but my first novel was submitted randomly without keeping record who I sent it to, or why. Which publishing house/ agency is the best option for a crime fiction novel? I'd prefer not to use the same publisher.


As always, thanks a bunch for the feeback.


James Fouche


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Comment by Adrian Magson on February 25, 2012 at 8:19pm

No problem, James. Sorry, couldn't help with agents in SA (although I'm sure you know them all), but the agent market here is getting tuned in to novels based out your way now.


Comment by James Fouche on February 25, 2012 at 4:31pm

Adrian, thanks for the feedback. Will take a look at the lists you mentioned and get to work. Appreciate the detailed reply.



Comment by Adrian Magson on February 24, 2012 at 1:29am

Hi, James.

I only have my experience to go on, and hope it helps.

(1) My personal view is that you wrote the book you wanted to write - so that's what you should submit. If you believe in it, go with it. An editor will make (the first couple of chapters) as good as he or she can... but what if the agent or publisher asks you for an immediate submission of the rest? Are you going to pay for that to be done, too - and keep the agent/pub waiting? (And you're right - it's not cheap if you get it done properly).

2) Whoever you submit to should handle crime or thrillers (also 'commercial fiction'). If you can, go for an agent first. Look in the markets guides (also look in published crime novels and thrillers for acknowledgments, because authors often thank their agent by name). See website lists like - (UK based but also lists US agencies) or or

Make a list of six or so, then send out submissions with a brief letter and a synopsis (I always go for no more than a 2-page synopsis, one if I can get away with it). Mention in your letter if you are working on the next one (of course you are!) because they like to know they have someone with 'legs'.

Finally, make sure the letter, synopsis and submission is error-free. No typos or spelling mistakes. Essentially, you need to make it as attractive as you can, because that's what part of the judgement will be on (like, how much work will I need to fo with this writer?)


Hope that helps - and good luck!


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