The disconnect between writing a book and getting it published is vast. One is a deeply creative and personal process while the other is cold, heartless business. Getting from one to the other eludes many of us, but that hasn't stopped us from trying. What's your best horror story from your efforts to get published? Mine is the time I had my email address hijacked and viruses were sent out to all the agents I had queried. It still hurts when I think back to it!
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I think every writer has the fear that someone with a very similar story will beat them to the punch. I'm weary of any agency that makes you accept terms and conditions that protect them from publishing a similar manuscript. Thank you for sharing.
It's tough when an initial yes can become a no later. Until there is an official contract signed, agents and publishers have a million opportunities to reject us.
There are definitely a lot of agents/publishers out there who make their money directly off the writer without any actual publication happening. And, unfortunately, it's getting harder to find (and get into) the good ones.