One Writer’s Journey

March 18, 2015

First Books: How likely is an agent to sell your first book?

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:12 am
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Manuscript 1Recently, someone asked Janet Reid about the percentage of agent represented first novels that actually sell.  They had heard that only 50-60% of these first manuscripts ever find a publisher.  For her response about the accuracy, or not, of this question and why it is so hard to answer, click here.

The question reminded me of a discussion with my author friend Kris Nitz.  Kris had sent a manuscript to her agent.  While her agent liked it well enough, she wanted Kris to work on something else instead.  Why?  Because while the first manuscript was good, it wasn’t good enough to be her break out novel.

The first novel that you sell probably won’t be the first novel that you write. But that’s okay.  It can still help you find an agent.

Once you have that agent, she can market novel 1 while you write novel 2 and maybe even novel 3.  The beauty of the process is that with each creation, your writing gets stronger, your plots more intricate, and your characaters more real.

When your first book comes out, there is no name recognition.  This means that there has to be something there that will pull readers in even if no one knows who you are.  Maybe that appeal is a historic event on the eve of that event’s anniversary.  Maybe you wrote a singing pig book and singing pigs are now all the rage.  Whatever it is that your book has, this something special will draw in readers.  They will learn who you are and they will look for more of your work.

If Novel 2 is the one with this amazing ability to draw reader, it may be the first one that sells.  Manuscript 2 may actually become published book 1.  That means that novels 2, 3 and even 4 may sell before Novel 1 but that’s okay because with each sale, you gain more readers.  By the time, Book #1 comes out, they want more of your work.  Book #1 may not have had what is needed to generate a great deal of buzz but that doesn’t mean it will never see the light of day.

Take heart.   Put your butt in your chair.  And get to work on Novel 2.




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