It is my pleasure to share a guest post by author Dixie Lee Brown, who shares her advice on...
So, you’re a new author—do you need an agent?
Dixie Lee Brown
There are many paths to publication for a writer in the age we live in, which is a wonderful thing. Self-publishing is relatively new and eliminates the dreaded rejection letter, answers the question of whether you need an agent and mitigates the stress of meeting someone else’s deadlines. Many authors have been successful with this method, but there is a learning curve and money to be spent up-front for things like professional editing and cover creation. In return, you set your own deadlines and keep all the profits from sales of your book. A dear friend of mine had a bad experience with a small publisher a few years ago and decided to self-pub. She loves it and has never looked back.
If you decide self-publishing isn’t for you and opt for the traditional publishing method, you need to decide if you’ll submit your work to publishers yourself or seek representation from an agent. I’m sure most authors here today know this, but for the writer who’s just getting started, an agent is an intermediary between you and the publisher. He or she keeps up with the market, knows if a certain editor is looking for a particular genre and can match your manuscript with the editor most likely to be interested. The agent does all the querying and follows up on every submission. Some agents provide other services—for example, my agent edits each manuscript before sending to prospective publishers. For your agent’s services, she keeps 15% of your royalties.
You may decide to submit your manuscript to publishers yourself. You’ll need the most current Writer’s Market, the annual resource book for writers, which usually comes out in early June. Within those pages you’ll find an extensive listing of publishers and editors, what they publish and, most importantly, whether they’ll accept un-agented submissions. When you’ve chosen the publishers you wish to query and determined the editors most likely to be interested in your submission, you MUST check out their submission guidelines on their webpages. And you MUST follow to the letter what is written there…unless you want your query to end up in the round file beneath their desks. Now, buy yourself a box of tissues because there WILL BE rejections, some harsher than others. I used my stack of rejection letters as a doorstop in my office!
That’s not to say finding an agent willing to represent you is any easier, but that’s the way I chose to go. I have a matching stack of rejection letters to prove it! My decision to try finding an agent first was based on my complete newbie status and the fact I had no clue what I was doing. After requesting and receiving a revision of my first manuscript, my agent offered a contract for representation. After she sent it back to me three times to fix major plot holes, I knew she was exactly the agent I needed. Without someone who cared enough about my “career” to herd me in the right direction, my first book would never have seen the light of day. That fact was reinforced when, two weeks after my agent began submitting my book to publishers, one of the Big 5 offered on a three-book series, which later turned into six books.
Recently, book one (Heart of a SEAL) in a new three book series (Hearts of Valor) was released by a different publisher. I have never regretted my decision to work with an agent. Nor do I begrudge her the measly 15% she earns from my sales. In fact, I think she’s significantly underpaid—but that’s an issue for another time.
We’re all different, and we all must make our own decisions based on what we think is right for us. If it turns out you made a bad call, mistakes can always be fixed—kind of like editing a book. It might be time-consuming but worth it in the end. The important thing is to have fun along this crazy writing journey. I know I will.
by Dixie Lee Brown
GENRE: Romantic Suspense
They’re brothers in arms, Navy SEALS risking their lives for their country . . . and the women they love.
This is Luke Harding’s story.
Six months in a desert hellhole taught Navy SEAL Luke Harding things he never wanted to learn about life and death. Only tender memories of the beautiful brunette he met a few weeks before his deployment helped get him through the torturous days and nights. Back in the States after a perilous rescue, physically and emotionally damaged, Luke’s about to plunge into a new kind of war. In a seemingly bucolic Idaho town, Sally Duncan faces real—and unpredictable—danger.
All Sally ever wanted was a safe place to raise her nine-year-old daughter. Her identity hidden behind a façade of secrets and lies, can she trust Luke—a man she barely knows—with the truth? Even as they give in to long-denied passion, a killer with a personal vendetta is setting an ambush that will leave them praying for a miracle and fighting for the future they may not live to see.
“Are you Petty Officer Second Class Luke Harding?” The man in battle gear knelt beside him.
As hard as he tried, Luke couldn’t make a sound—or even nod his head. All he could do was stare until his eyes misted, and he squeezed his eyelids shut so he wouldn’t humiliate himself.
They know my name. Somebody knows who I am. Gratitude washed over him even as sorrow intruded into his momentary peace. Except for two short weeks, he could have celebrated with Ian.
The warrior reached for Luke’s hand, gripping it firmly. “It’s okay, Son. You stay with me. You hear me, Sailor? That’s an order.” He leaned over Luke and there was understanding in his eyes. “We’re here to get you home alive, and failure is not an option. You copy that?”
Luke would have smiled if he could have. Did the guy know the phrase he uttered so effortlessly was the only thing holding Luke together?
“Medic!” the man yelled over his shoulder, and two seconds later another warrior stuck his head into Luke’s space.
It was getting harder to breathe. His rasping and gurgling grew louder and filled his ears.
“Chest wound.” The second man applied pressure, none too gently, to the hole in Luke’s torso.
Jesus, you stupid SOB! Luke would have given anything for the strength to shove him away, while using every four letter word he knew, but the most he could manage was a pained groan.
“Hang in there.” The first man pulled Luke’s attention from the medic. “I know you’re in pain. The chopper will land any second, and we’ll get you onboard. Next stop—a nice clean hospital and then…stateside. We’re going to give you the good stuff so you can sleep through this next part. You’re going to make it, Sailor, so start planning your homecoming.”
Sally. The image of the sweet brunette he’d promised to return to flashed in Luke’s mind. He barely felt the prick of the needle before his eyes fluttered closed on his last memory.
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AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Dixie Lee Brown lives and writes in Central Oregon, inspired by gorgeous scenery and at least three hundred sunny days a year. Having moved from South Dakota as a child to Washington, Montana and then to Oregon, she feels at home in the west. She resides with two dogs and a cat, who are currently all the responsibility she can handle. Dixie works fulltime as a bookkeeper. When she's not writing or working, she loves to read, enjoys movies, and if it were possible, she’d spend all of her time at the beach. She is also the author of the Trust No One romantic suspense series, published by Avon Impulse.
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