Business Unusual

Having two jobs is not unheard of, especially for writers. For me, one job is teaching and one is writing. What I love about writing is the creative part, not the business part. It’s the same with teaching: I love talking about literature, but grading? Not so much.

For the next few weeks, as exams and final papers come in, I have to switch over into grading overdrive. So I’m thinking I might as well go completely to the dark side and focus on the business part of writing while I’m at it.

To that end, this morning I made a To Do list and was amazed to see how many steps I still need to take to try to get a career in category romance off the ground. I’ve done a lot already, like of course writing and revising the book, and then super-familiarizing myself with the genre, the publishers, the various imprints. I’ve looked at tip sheets and listened to podcasts and read, read, read. I even did a deep structure analysis of one of the books in my targeted line.

And yep, I wrote a query. Even sent it to an agent. So there’s more??? Oh yeah. Lots more.

I’d found plenty of agents who represent romance, but only a few who specifically mention that they rep category. So I needed to find more of them. And then I needed to group them into the ones who just want a query and the ones who want proposals with the queries.

On RWA’s member list, I found a mere 13 agents who specify that they will represent category. Of those 13 (which happens to be my lucky number!) only 3 (in addition to the one I already sent) ask for a query only.

So that’s my next step. Send the query out to those three agents. After that, you guessed it, I need to polish my synopsis, and while I’m at it, my third chapter, which just got put through the editing process by my critique group.

Then, in groups of 5 (which given my limited list, will only be two groups) send the query plus proposal.

And hope there’s good news in there somewhere. If not, I’m going to go directly to the publishers, because really, you don’t need an agent to sell category. It’s nice, and it speeds up the process, but it’s not essential.

At the same time, I’ll be working on the query, synopsis, and three chapters of the second category, which I’m still in the process of writing. I hear it’s good to have something else to show right away if they like your writing but the plot doesn’t work for whatever reason.

Then, if all that fails, I’ll start the entire process over with the second manuscript, which should be finished by the time I get through all those steps.

If that fails, I might try again or I might just try e-publishing.  Or both. That’s way down the road and who knows? Maybe I’ll get lucky and find the perfect agent who will allow me to get back to what I really love doing: writing.

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  1. Thanks John. If I can just do one or two things a week, that will be great. Today I typed and polished the synopsis, which is a huge relief.


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