It’s a common conception among the writer community that traditional publishing is the only legitimate form of publication. And how are the majority of connections to the Big Five publishers struck? Through a literary agent, of course.
So you’ve written something about which you’re truly passionate. You’ve poured your absolute heart and soul into this project, undergone plenty of edits with qualified proofreaders and received generous feedback from unbiased readers. Yet, the agents keep saying no. Why might this be?
A massive tip I’ve learned that I want to share with you on this front: Agents are looking to market your story. That means they are seeking what’s trendy in your genre. For example, if we’re talking Sci-Fi, that might mean Post-apocalyptic Dystopian YA a la “The Hunger Games” or for Urban Fantasy, perhaps along the lines of vampires, werewolves and angel romances, such as in “The Mortal Instruments”. Bottom line is, you can have a wildly unique and original book – and it’s precisely that eclecticism that could very well disqualify you from landing an agent.
However, simply because your niche idea or unique spin on a genre hasn’t yet taken off, doesn’t mean your story shouldn’t be promoted. In fact, this might be a good reason to either contact publishers (yes, even independent publishers) directly or – mock cringe – self-publish. You’ll get to reap and keep all the profits! Think about it – no publisher setting advances that you’re expected to make back largely from your own marketing efforts and, perhaps best of all, you hold onto all the money made from sales.
P.S. Thank you to BookExpo19 for showcasing Apex Five!