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I am a college student and have been doing a lot of pleasure writing over the
last few years, and have decided to start a novel. I have typed about 80 pages
so far and I think that I am off to a good start. I have started to think ahead
about publishing, although I know that the chances of writing something that
is good enough to be published are slim. However, I'm not exactly certain
how the publishing process works. How does a first time author go about
getting published? I read through some of your earlier questions, and I'm not
sure that writing short stories to get my name out there is really the thing for
me. Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you very much for taking the
time to read this!

ANSWER: I know every author was at one time, a new, first time author.

So how did they get published?

A literary agent.

You must get an agent that markets the genre you write, and that likes and believe in you and in your book. That is not an easy task. It's much like searching for the right family doctor, or surgeon, that you believe in and trust... and agent is much the same.

He will do all the foot work for you-- present your manuscript to the right publishers and handle the sales pitch. Once he has sold the publisher, he will also negotiate the terms and contract in your behalf, with your permissions and agreements on those terms-- which are always renegotiated two or three times before signing.

He should be a good agent that will look out for YOUR best interest in the contract, thus, keeping you for future books, and making more money. It's just beneficial to him.

Searching for an agent is the same as a publisher: you query them with a sample chapter to get them to ask for the MS to read.

Good luck.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for responding so quickly!
How much to literary agents charge?


There is no price to quote you. Each agent charges a different fee, percentage of sales, etc.

A well known literary agent out of NY,NY that has influential authors in his credits would be expensive, where an agent in Arizona might not, but does not mean he hasn't accomplished success with successful authors.

It's also not uncommon for an author, once published, to change agents at a later date.

Research agents online, and there terms are usually listed on their web sites.

I can't tell you what an average it, because it broadly varies.

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Jannie Balliett


I am a published writer, Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing, specializing in novel writing, and creative writing. I can answer most any question concerning writing a book, plot and characterization, tighten the prose, and the editing process, and help advise with publishing and the requirements of obtaining a literary agent.


I'm a published writer, freelancer, and Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing for my two Online writer workshops.

Sisters In Crime Internet Chapter, The Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Brazos Writers Group.

Writers Post Journal magazine, May 2006 issue, Augusr 2006 issue, Nov/December 2006 issue and soon in 2008, On A Whim, flash fiction anthology, offered in Barnes & Nobles and Amazon.

Some college, creative writing, fiction writing

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I have numerous clients using my service through my editorial service and numerous members in my Online writer workshops.

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