This is journalism in a nutshell.
Ughhh I wrote out this eloquent answer and then I ERASED it and probably I can’t recreate it so sorry in advance. Annnnd I don’t think you’re going to love my answer anyway, so double sorry in advance?
Basically, I don’t think the plan laid out in your ask is an awesome one.
Before anyone jumps down my throat, let me say, I have no problem with the world of self-publishing/indie-publishing/e-book-non-trad-publishing, or whatever you want to call it. It’s a totally valid path, and it’s great to live in a time when authors have more choices than ever.
For some, in fact, it’s not just “a valid path” — but the BEST path. Some books THRIVE as e-only books, and do much better that way than they would in the traditional bricks-and-mortar hardback-paperback world. Some authors have GREAT rapport with their audiences, and can do tremendous things without the help of a publisher, and really WANT to be in charge of everything. For these books, and for these authors, self-pubbing is probably always going to be better than trad-publishing, particularly now that it is so easy and relatively inexpensive to do well.
In my opinion, if you are going to choose self-pubbing, you need to go all in. That is to say, pay for editorial, get a great cover, spend time and energy on a marketing plan, devote yourself to doing it WELL. If you don’t, you are likely not going to be great at it. Sorry, real talk. There are probably a few people who threw up unedited p.o.s. first drafts and made a bajillion dollars out of nowhere, but they are few and far between. This shouldn’t be something you do as a fallback for if you fail to get an agent - it should be something you actively decide to do and to succeed at.
Particularly because your reasoning (that you’d get an agent interested after the fact) - is really flawed. To turn an agent from “no” to “yes” on a book they’ve already declined, you’d have to sell MANY TENS OF THOUSANDS of copies. In other words, your book would have to be a major hit. And if it were selling THAT well, you’d probably be making more money than you would have at traditional publishing anyway, soooo… why not just get an agent for the next thing, if you still really want one?
There’s … well. There’s something else, too. The elephant in the tumblr. And here’s the part you REALLY aren’t going to like:
Lots of people DON’T get their first book published, or even their first couple of books. Writing books is something you can only really learn by writing books, after all, and it takes time and practice to get super-great at it. Maybe if you’ve really queried all the agents there are to query, and nobody has taken the bait… maybe, just maybe, your book isn’t good enough yet.
If I were you, and I was set on the traditional publishing path, I’d consider getting a great crit group (preferably with some experienced, traditionally published authors in it) — and really working on craft. Query, but also write another book while you’re querying. Keep writing, keep going, keep improving.
If you get a bunch of rejections of your work, and a lot of them are saying the same sorts of things, REVISE and query more. If you aren’t getting bites on your query at all, your query itself might be the problem, so consider getting that critiqued (the forums at Absolute Write, for example will do a query crit for you that might be useful.)
If at some point you decide to self-publish, great, that’s fine, just make it a conscious choice you are doing for its own sake, not as a “sneaky” way to get agent or publisher attention.
Then if you DO happen to get that attention, great, bonus … but you won’t be disappointed if you don’t. And yay, you’ll have more, even better, projects in the pipeline!
YA Retellings brought to you by Epic Reads - Fairy Tale Retellings:
Beauty and the Beast: East by Edith Pattou / Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George / Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley / Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge / Spirited by Nancy Holder / Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier / The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison / Stung by Bethany Wiggins / The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle / Beastly by Alex Flinn / Beauty by Robin McKinley / Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
The Little Mermaid: September Girls by Bennett Madison / Fathomless by Jackson Pearce / Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama / Midnight Pearls by Cameron Dokey / Mermaid: A Twist on a Classic Tale by Carolyn Turgeon
Cinderella: Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix / Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine / Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George / Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas / If I have A Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince? by Melissa Kantor / Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge / Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott / Cinder by Marissa Meyer / Before Midnight by Cameron Dokey / Ash by Malinda Lo
Rumpelstiltskin: A Curse As Dark As Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce / Spinners by Donna Jo Napoli / The Crimson Thread by Suzanne Weyn
The Frog Prince: Cloaked by Alex Flinn / Enchanted by Alethea Kontis / The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley / Water Song by Suzanne Weyn
The Snow Queen: Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce / Winter’s Child by Cameron Dokey / Stork by Wendy Delsol
Little Red Riding Hood: Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright / Scarlet by Marissa Meyer / The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly / Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce / Scarlet Moon by Debbie Viguié / Dust City by Robert Paul Weston
Twelve Dancing Princesses: Entwined by Heather Dixon / The Phoenix Dance by Dia Calhoun / The Night Dance by Suzanne Weyn / Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George / Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
Hansel and Gretel: Sweetly by Jackson Pearce / Bewitching by Alex Flinn / Greta and the Goblin King by Chloe Jacobs
Rapunzel: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth / Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy C. Bennett / Towering by Alex Flinn / Cress by Marissa Meyer / Golden by Cameron Dokey / Zel by Donna Jo Napoli
Snow White: Beauty by Nancy Ohlin / Snow by Tracy Lynn / The Glass Casket by McCormick Templeman / The Rose and the Beast by Francesca Lia Block / The Serpent’s Shadow by Mercedes Lackey / Nameless by Lili St. Crow / Fairest by Gail Carson Levine / Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan (*this is actually a retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red”) / Devoured by Amanda Marrone
Sleeping Beauty: A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn / Briar Rose by Jane Yolen / Beauty Sleep by Cameron Dokey / Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay / The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson / Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley / Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross / A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
Hang in there, there’ll be news soon!
Harington says he first learned of George R.R. Martin’s feverishly loved series of novels, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” while working in a bookstore.
“I used to stack George R.R. Martin’s books, and I used to hate him because they were so big. I had to carry them down in boxes, and I used to think, ‘Who is this (jerk) who’s written this massive book?’”
He says he told that story to Martin once he landed the role of Jon Snow and read the series.
“He just laughed,” the actor says with a smile, “because he’s vindictive like that.”
Okay to nudge after a month or so? It’s not rude. But I am way behind, always.
There are specific ways to punctuate your dialogue. Learning to do this correctly will make you look more professional and accomplished as a writer to potential publishers and agents.
- Speech followed by a dialogue tag: “Come on,” she said. Use a comma after the speech, treat the dialogue tag as being part of the same sentence.
- One sentence of speech split by a dialogue tag: “Come on,” she said, “or you’re going to make us late.” Only punctuate with a full stop right at the very end of the whole sentence. Start the second part of speech with a lower case letter.
- Two sentences of speech split by a dialogue tag: “Come on,” she said. “We can’t afford to be late again.” End the tag with a full stop and start the new sentence of speech with a capital letter.
- Speech separated by action: “Come on.” She pulled on her shoes and opened the door. “We can’t afford to be late again.” The action can’t be rolled into the same sentence as the speech, so it becomes three separate sentences.
And remember that all punctuation marks attached to the speech itself should be placed inside of the speech tags.