On agents and findability

So, as you maaaaay possibly have twigged, I’ve finished the first novel in the No Man’s series. The second (No Man’s Sky) is in process and the third (No Man’s Stars) is planned for NaNoWriMo.  No Man’s Land is currently with beta-readers and is then coming back to me for whatever work needs doing, and then…well, it might be in put-out-into-the-world state, which means I have to work out how I’m going to do that.

With the GreenSky series, I knew I was on to a losing battle with the conventional route of agents or publishers – they simply didn’t accept novellas at the time (although Tor now is), and so going to an indie press was my first choice. For No Man’s Land, while it’s an odd genre (apocalyptic urban fantasy) it is a full-length novel, and frankly, I think it’s amazing. Yes, I’m biased, but I’m really, really proud of it! So…I’m going to try submitting No Man’s Land to literary agents and see where that gets me.

Essentially, my process is going to be;

  • Try a select group of agents that I think will like the genre/work.
  • Try a wider group of agents (eg. they have ‘fantasy’ and ‘sci-fi’ in their descriptions).
  • Check to see if any of the big publishers have open subs periods – unlikely, but worth it on the off-chance.
  • Work out who of the smaller presses is likely to appreciate it (Grimbold is a pretty high contender) and submit during an open submission period.
  • Reconsider what I want to do with the work; either try to self-publish, or put it on a dusty shelf and cry for a while.
  • Write something else and start the whole process again.

I’m currently doing my research and trying to find agents. My first port of call was the trusty Writer and Artist’s Yearbook, and…yeah. Hmm. I know everyone rates it, and I have used it previously, but in this case I opened it, flicked through it and shut it again. Quite frankly, I can’t be bothered with the amount of effort and research that it takes just to find out that the agent isn’t accepting submissions at the moment, or doesn’t take a specific genre of fiction…the transfer from page to screen and the lack of real-time information is very frustrating, for all that I appreciate having the list all in one place.

So, I’ve gone a different route. I’ve thought about authors who write in the genre, or whose work I think is roughly similar, and looked at who their agents are. Emma Newman, VE Schwab, Steve Aryan, Pete Newman, Brent Weeks, Laura Lam, to name a few! That gained me four names in half an hour, all of whom have websites with submission information and all of whom are open to queries. Much easier!

So I’m going to start putting together a query letter and, when I get the beta back, polishing the first three chapters (or 100 pages). I’ll see how much work needs to be done on the novel, of course, but at the moment I’ve got Christmas as a deadline – so we shall see!

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.

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