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The Query Process

My last post about my writing journey left off when I had the completed manuscript on my bedside table. It was the end of March this year and I wasn't sure what to do next. When I sat down in January to write, nothing was further from my mind than publishing.

As someone who knew nothing about publishing a book, I was utterly ignorant of the complications and difficulties of the two routes available to new authors. Any author for that matter. You can't just chap on a publisher's door and ask them to publish your book. However, that would be awesome if it was possible.

The options are either to organise everything yourself and self-publish. Or enter the querying trenches and attempt to obtain a traditional publishing contract.

There is a third option of vanity press, where a publisher asks for a financial contribution toward their costs. Vanity press was not something I pursued.

In all honesty, after researching the traditional publishing world my confidence was low. But I felt as someone with no knowledge of the industry IF I could get a contract I should.

I resolved to give myself a year and if I had no success in obtaining a contract, I would self-publish. I wanted my book to be read.

Armed with advice from Google and well, my limited knowledge. I set out to query agents. Very few large publishing houses accept unsolicited queries.

Now, getting an agent doesn't mean you will get published and lots of agents take months to reply. Patience is not my strong point. After a month I had sent out around twenty-five queries with little response. Then I saw some advice on Twitter...

An author who had been querying for ten years with several agents but had never been published said: if you were an unknown author, query small press publishers. She had, and her world had opened up.

A small press publisher operates as traditional publishers but is more likely to take a risk on a new face. They provide an editor, cover design and help with marketing. Guidance. Knowledge. Direction.

On Sunday the 15th of May 2022, I sat down and queried six small press publishers from a blog I found online. This meant I sent by email - a letter, a synopsis and the first three chapters of my book. On Monday morning I obtained my first full manuscript request. By Friday I had three.

Monday the 23rd May 2022 at 8 pm an offer of a contract hit my inbox from my publisher, Extasy Books based in Canada. The fact that a company which has been operating twenty years in the industry saw potential in my work, blows my mind. For me gaining a publisher was a confidence boost. A sign that these are stories to be enjoyed.

We are in the final phase of book one and I have thoroughly enjoyed the process so far. I'm kept informed and supported. My voice is maintained. Since, I have signed a further three books with Extasy and look forward to bringing them to life over the coming months.

Book one will be available in September....title to be revealed soon.

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