A few weeks back, I announced that I had landed a literary agent for my novel, The Detective's Apprentice. Since I'm a fairly private person who doesn't always share details of my life--like the fact that I was shopping a novel to literary agents or even wrote a freaking novel --this news inspired cries of "WHAAAA you wrote a novel WHO ARE YOU?" from most of my friends.
Since then, I've fielded a bunch of questions about my novel, about literary agents, and about the whole publishing process. I've decided to gather them all in one blog post. Here we go:
What's the deal with your novel?
You're going to have to be more specific.
OK. Let's start with the title.
It's called The Detective's Apprentice.
What's it about?
It's about a 16-year-old orphan named Daisy Fuller, living on the streets of 1860s London. One day she begs from a man who turns out to be Charles Becket, London's most brilliant private detective, and instead of giving her spare change he enlists her help in a case. Soon, she's plunged into a murder mystery--one that may end up endangering her and her closest friends.
Would I like The Detective's Apprentice?
I hope so! Being a teen wouldn't hurt, since I wrote it for a young adult audience, but people of any age should enjoy it. If you like one or more of the following, then there's a pretty good chance you wouldn't completely hate it:
- Stories about orphans
- Kick-ass heroines
- Arrogant/brilliant detectives
- Murder mysteries
- The Victorian era
So, what's going on with The Detective's Apprentice?
The manuscript is done, and I just recently signed with a literary agent. His name is John Rudolph, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management.
Cool! So when will the book be published?
Um....well. It doesn't actually work that way.
You don't have a book deal?
Nope. Signing with an agent is not the same as having a book deal.
But it's still a big deal?
OK. Um, how?
A literary agent is someone who knows the publishing industry inside and out. They help authors shop their books to publishing houses and hopefully get a book deal--in exchange for a cut of whatever an author makes off the book. Their time and resources are extremely limited, so they're selective about what books, and what writers, they take on as clients.
So, having an agent not only means that I have an advocate helping me navigate the confusing world of publishing--it also means that an industry professional thinks that my manuscript has potential, that someone looked at The Detective's Apprentice and said, "Yeah, I could pay the bills with that."
But you're not guaranteed to get a book deal?
Nope. There are no guarantees in life. That goes double for publishing.
So, what's next?
What's next is that I'm going to be revising the book.
Holy crap, more revisions? I thought you said you were done.
I suppose I did. Here's the thing: a book is never really "done" until it's published and it's too late to change anything. I made The Detective's Apprentice as good as I could possibly make it before sending the manuscript to agents; now John's helping me make it even better; and if I land a book deal, I'll certainly go through countless more revisions before my book is published. Revising until your eyes bleed and you come to hate your own book is just part of the territory.
Can I read The Detective's Apprentice?
Sure! *whips out a stack of paper* Just sign this contract legally binding you to buy 50 copies and give it five stars on Goodreads once it's released, and I'll be happy to share the manuscript with you...
*rolling eyes* Ha ha. You are very funny.
What can I do to help as you're revising and seeking publication for The Detective's Apprentice?