“I am afraid of people with too much charm. They devour you. In the end you are made a sacrifice to the exercise of their fascinating gift and their insincerity.”
-W. S. Maugham
Ayla asks: How hard is it to get a good agent and start getting noticed by the publishers?
That’s a difficult question for me to answer, because I sort of took the opposite route. I sent my book into the slush pile—first three chapters, synopsis, riding on a wing and a prayer—and only when my book had been discovered and bought did I go search out an agent to help me onward and upward. I had never gone to a convention, I was not a member of RWA, and I had no contacts whatsoever. I was, however, quite stubborn—and I had done a lot of research into publishers and agents. I went into bookstores and looked at the spines of books to see who published what. I checked out dedications to get the names of agents—or I looked online for those facts. I discovered who represented the people I loved to read—and who published those people, as well.
But that doesn’t really answer your question. Here’s an old post of mine that I think gets to the heart of what you’re asking.
From Stonehawk: I’m curious on how you put the stories down from your head. Do you write an outline first or type the stories straight?
I don’t typically write an outline. What’s funny to me is that before I wrote TIGER EYE, I always played with outlines. It was fun. It was made me feel like I was actually doing something. And I suppose I was, in a sense. I was brainstorming. Jotting down ideas. I still do that, but I know better than to call it an outline now, because when I start writing I just type the story straight with all those ideas swimming around in my head, and usually about half of them go out the window as I work. I like being flexible. It keeps things interesting for me. Although, it can also cause trouble when I write myself into a corner.
Here’s a cool interview with Marvel Mastermind Joe Quesada about the process of turning Stephen King’s Dark Tower books into a comic book series.
And this is a very interesting article that I think is really meant for screenwriters, but applies, I believe, to anyone who practices the art of the written word:
Brad Radnitz, past president of the Writers Guild of America, west, has said that “in the entertainment industry of the next millennium, a writer’s success will be determined by their knowledge of the industry–from deal-making to marketing.” He emphasizes that today writers must master not only their craft but also the complexities of the entertainment business.
Colleen Thompson’s Top Ten Reasons I Love My Job, which basically covers it for me, too.