After twenty plus years, my novel is in the final stretch running towards the finish line. I'm so pleased about this. My editor, who loves the book, wrote: "The best way to get an agent and publishing contract is to pitch at conferences. That is how I and all the authors I know got their contracts. It’s worth it, if you can afford it. One of my clients is going next month to NY for the pitch fest to pitch his two novels. It’s almost impossible to get an agent any other way."

What do you think about that. Do you agree with it? I find it discouraging as I cannot do conferences at this time of my life. I was planning on doing the email query route. Is that a total waste of time? Also, do agents get paid to go to these conferences? Finally, are the agents in Waenetwork reading the queries over and where do I find that thread to post a query there? I've also been told that if I want an agent, under no circumstances do an ebook. Your thoughts? So many thanks!

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I spent over a year sending out 110 queries before I connected with an agent. I  suspect I never would have published the first time without an agent. If the first one sells well, I am not so sure an agent will be as necessary. Try the agent search at first and then resort to an ebook is my advise. Elizabeth, Good Luck and don't get discouraged when the going gets tough, have faith in what you have written.

Thank you, Gary. Really appreciate your words and kind encouragement. I anticipate beginning the agent search by early July.

Hi Elizabeth, 

Conferences are good because it allows for a personal meeting. However, with fiction it is difficult to capture interest in a short pitch because so much depends on the writing. I am still in favor of the old fashioned query. We don't represent fiction, but I know that the literary agencies that do still look at query letters. They usually accept email submissions. You need to write a great query, synopsis and sometimes it also helps to have a fiction proposal. They are not the same as the non-fiction book proposal but they contain many of the same elements. We, at WAENet are trying to involve more active agents but that is not always the case. When the new edition of the "Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Editors, Publishers and Literary Agents," comes out in September we hope more agents will be active. You can find most of the agents profiles and submission guidelines on WAENet so that is a safe bet. 

Self publishing is a great option for novelists. I have taken over the self pub platform to have a place for members to publish their books at low cost. If authors need help with editing, cover, interior design and marketing we offer those services but they are not required to use the site. Let me know if you have any other questions. Keep writing and believe in your work. That is the first step. 

Thank you, Deborah. Great reply! I will check out and also get Jeff's new guide this fall. I see where I can post a query on WAENet but where can I find the "agent profiles and submission guidelines on WAENet?"

I've never heard of fiction proposals so will check into that. My understanding was that agents/publishers would prefer a book proposal for non-fiction and the finished product for fiction, which I have. Than you, again!

Hi Elizabeth,

Congratulations on finishing your novel. In my experience agents vary - some will only accept submissions if they have met you at a writers' conference but many are happy to receive submissions via email.  Fewer seem to prefer hard copy submissions these days.  Agents and publishers prefer to have exclusive rights to your work which is why it's generally not a good idea to self publish in any form first - in some very rare cases when a self published book has done extraordinarily well then someone may want to buy the rights but that is very unusual.

Best of luck in getting your work published!


Thank you, Janet. You wrote that agents and publishers prefer to have 'exclusive' rights. I have a producer friend in Hollywood who knows the storyline and is interested in producing it for film or TV. I may want to hold on to those rights. Or look into producing it myself one of these days. It was originally a screenplay turned novel. I'll have to do some research on that, as to whether an agent and publisher would take it without screen and TV rights. Again, so many thanks for your thoughts.


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