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Trials and Tribulations of Selling Your Book

Updated on March 8, 2018
My refrigerator where I save all of my greatest rejection notes
My refrigerator where I save all of my greatest rejection notes | Source

What may work for some may not work for everyone

So back in January I finally finished writing my eighth book, a science fiction novel that’s actually a sequel to a novel I had worked on prior. All the work it takes to write a near 130 thousand word novel aside, it’s just as big of a task, if not larger, actually getting it published.

A month later I found the writer’s market and from there I found writer’s digest. Writer’s digest has several literary agents just waiting for clients and I thought “finally, there’s someone out there who can help me publish my book.”

In college, my creative writing professors all told me about getting a literary agent to help sell my book. However, they also told me to expect a lot of pink slips. Initially I thought ‘how long and hard can it be it sell a book?’ Turns out very long and hard. Let me put it this way, despite being a professional writer I have yet to market one of my books. In fact, one of my professors, who has a PHD in English was still working on getting their novel published a decade later.

So I found out recently first hand just how hard it is finding a literary agent. I was told a while ago that there are so many people out there attempting to sell their books to agents, but there’s not enough opportunity for everyone to get their books accepted. Since I began reaching out to different agents. I myself have my refrigerator door coated with pink slips which all say something along the lines of “I know you’ve put in a lot of work into your book but it’s just not what I’m looking for, but don’t give up as what may not work for me could work for someone else.” Actually I reached out to several agents on So far they all said no, but one in particular said this magic little message.

“I have seen that you have reached out to several other agents here. Please understand that a no from one means a no from all.”

I’d be lying if I said that this didn’t disturbed me. There are a couple of agents on their site. They all can’t have the exact same thoughts and opinions. You would think that if one agent said no then maybe you could reach out to another. But no, reaching out to one means that the entire organization feels the same way. It makes about as much sense as it sounds, fortunately the world doesn’t start or end at just one agency.

Like I said, there’s writer’s digest. They have new agents appear randomly, so you have to check back often. is an interesting site. It’s the last site I looked at which had a couple of agents who I sent my queries to. Finally there was, which is one of the easier and simplified sites to navigate. They have all the agents lined up under the agent selection. Not only that but they have all genres broken up, click on the one of your choice and all the agents interested in that topic are all conveniently lined up. Now the first site I visited, the writer’s market does offer literary agents. The problem is that you need a paid subscription to use it.

Those are just a few choices I have found to help find a literary agent. Of course if going through the trouble to find literary agents isn’t quite your cup of tea you could always self-publish. However unless you have the funds for it, it will be quite a task promoting your work. I will also advise against publishing companies such as Dorrance Publishing and Author House. Companies such as those require you to pay them thousands while you only gaining a small fraction of the profit. Though they are self-publishing companies but still look into those at your own risk.

One final piece of advice, remember when I said I have pink slips on my refrigerator? Well, my final advice is to keep track of the agents who aren’t interested in your work for future references.

© 2018 Staff Oneil


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