We’re happy to have literary agent Nephele Tempest share her experience with the Book Country community! Nephele has been a member of The Knight Agency since 2005 and is based in Los Angeles. Nephele is currently seeking works in a wide variety of genres, including literary fiction, romance, and young adult.
If you feel that a novel from a first-time author is strong (style, voice, premise, etc.) — but, could use some changes (more than simple tweaking) — are you likely to say to the author: Make these changes and then send it back to me? – Val
I have definitely done this in the past, but it’s the exception rather than the rule. If I really love a story concept and think the writing is strong but the execution of the story needs a great deal of work, I will occasionally relay this to the author and make a few suggestions with an offer to reread if they decide to follow up. Not everyone takes my suggestions, but I have seen revised manuscripts in this way, and on one occasion did end up signing the author. We did a few more rounds of revisions once I had signed her on before I submitted the book to editors and sold it, but that first round of edits she performed before I signed her on showed me both that she was capable of following directions and that she was willing to work to get the book to a salable point, both of which were great to know before I took her on as a client.
As a member of the Book Country community of writers, I have a manuscript (Historical Fiction/Personage) that lately has been receiving five nib (star) reviews. The book is virtually finished, but I am in a quandary as to whether to seek an agent or self-publish. I have worked on this story for many years, and it is the advice from other writers that has helped me bring the novel to this point. – Rob Emery
Only you can decide whether you are interested in going the traditional publishing route or if you want to self-publish. Each route has its advantages and disadvantages. The traditional route can be time-consuming, but you end up with a group of people working for you to help get your book into the world — an agent, an editor, a marketing department and sales team, etc. If you self-publish, you still need those people and will need to find them and pay them for their work, or else you need to do those jobs yourself, but you can get your book out into the world more quickly. I recommend you research both ways of doing things, and then pick which seems best for you. Either way, give the process time to work. Commit to the choice you make and really put in the time and effort to make your book a success. Too often I receive queries from authors who have self-published a few months ago and aren’t happy with the results, so now they want to try again the traditional way, and I can’t really do anything for them because all they’ve done is create a poor sales history for their project that will make it hard for me to sell to a publishing house. So whatever route you choose, give it your all. Continue reading