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Writing Books/literary agents


Vincent, I've just completed (the 3rd rewrite) of my manuscript and currently working on query letter/synopsis/proposal, etc.

My question are;
1) is it time to seek out an agent?  I have researched this and found that in most cases, experts say "yes."  
2) if so, what is the first step in finding one?  Call a publishing house and see if they would recommend one?  What department, Acquisitions?

I realize that science fiction is a tough sell, and I am a new writer.  I would truly appreciate any help that you could offer on this topic.


Truthfully, the first question I'd ask is this: Who besides you has looked over your manuscript?  In other words, has someone with at least a borderline professional eye had a chance to look at it?  If the only people who've seen it are you, your friends, and maybe your family... I'd hold off on the agent search and try to find someone with some background to give you an honest assessment of it.

If, however, you're past this part, then you should start your agent search.  Do NOT call a publisher and inquire.  That's not what they're there for.  Get yourself a copy of the Writer's Market Guide to Literary Agents, or one of the other such guides out there.  Your local library should have them.  These guides will help you narrow your search to the agents who handle the type of material you're writing, but also will tell you exactly how they want to be contacted and exactly what they want you to send them.  Take these instructions to heart!  If they want three chapters, don't send four or two.  Send three.  If they want only a query and synopsis, don't send chapters instead of or in addition to.

These guides generally also contain a chapter on how to properly format your manuscript and letter for submission.

So this is where to begin.  Good luck.

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Vincent M. Wales


I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.


For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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