I know what you're thinking. The phrase is here goes nothing. While that may be true in most instances, it's not the case for me. Not when I've spent so many years trying to get to this point.
I'm talking about mainstream publication of course. Having recently signed with a new agent, I've been drawing ever closer to my lifelong dream. For those of you who think signing with the agent is a formality to being published, you don't know the industry very well. Even the best of agents may not be able to convince a publisher to take a chance on the work. It's a matter of combining industry trends with editors' tastes.
Getting an agent is definitely a step in the right direction on the road to publication, but it's not a guarantee of publication. My new agent put it to me pretty well when he said authors need agents who not only believe in their work but believe in it enough to work tirelessly to find the right publisher for it and who isn't willing to give up. Finding the right publisher, being the key.
My fellow authors know there are literally thousands of literary agents for aspiring authors to choose from. Unfortunately, not all of those are good. Some agents don't fare any better than authors when trying to get work read by a publisher. Not because the author's work is bad or the publisher is overwhelmed but often because some agents aren't taken seriously by publishers. These are the agents who blindly submit all manuscripts to the same round of publishers without taking the time to cultivate the relationship with the right publisher.
While it's sad to see that happen, and I've been personally affected by it in the past, that's not the case this time. I'm confident in the ability of my new agent. If the work doesn't find the right publisher, it won't be for lack of effort or belief on his part. The slightly depressing thing about that is that I'll have to look to my manuscript as the culprit, but I'll cross that bridge if I come to it.
In the meantime, the agent has let me know that after a bit of tweaking, both of the manuscript and my marketing plan, the novel is ready for submission to publishers. He'll start submitting and if we can't get an offer, we'll hope to get some consistent comments as to why it won't be picked up. That will lead to the need for more tweaking, but again I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
Until then, here goes everything I've ever dreamed of.