Putting the Cart Before the Horse: How One Woman Nearly Blew it With a Literary Agent

OK… I am not quite sure how to start this post because I have a lot to share. I will start off by saying this post will be about my recent experience with querying and the very valuable lesson that I learned.

Let’s start from the beginning…while it’s not my forte, I will try to be brief. As you all know, I have been struggling really to find ways to promote my book. I decided recently that it might be best to try and get traditionally published. I figured that with traditional publishing my books would reach a wider audience. If you know anything about publishing, it’s that you need to query not only publishers, but you also should be querying agents too. I will get into this more in a future post.

After my first round of rejections a few months ago, I decided to shift focus and try to self-publish the second book. I started attempting to illustrate and failed miserably and then kind of just quit altogether. I kept flip-flopping on which direction to go which really meant that I needed to sit and think about things for awhile. Should I start heavily promoting  Sam Likes Jam? Should I keep querying? Should I focus on building my platform? Should I take drawing lessons? Should I keep revising another book I was working on? Should I try to get articles published? As you can see, I really needed a plan.

Through an interesting series of events that I will share at another time, I found that a literary agent had mentioned my book on social media a few months back. I researched the agency and decided to send in a query. To my surprise, I received a very positive, thoughtful, and insightful response. Spoiler alert: I did NOT get signed. The reason? I don’t have enough of a following, and while I am very happy with them, sales of Sam aren’t quite where they need to be. It’s all about the platform. I should have known this. In fact, I DID know this. I worked a brief (very brief) stint as a PR rep for authors and experts, and I would tell people this.

Learn from my mistakes people. I could have blown this opportunity altogether. However, the agent gave me some tips to get started and invited me to contact her again. I know what you are thinking… I thought the same thing too. If building a solid social media following and increasing sales were so easy, we would all be signed. This isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to take hard work, more dedication, and a PLAN.

I have started working on a list, and hopefully, this list will become a plan in the weeks to come. In the interest of transparency, and to help others. I am sharing my list below.

  1. Post weekly blog – gather list of writing topics
  2. Pursue guest blog opportunities
  3. Post to Twitter, Instagram & Facebook Daily
  5. Celebrate Sam Likes Jam’s first birthday

This is a very high-level list, and frankly, this won’t guarantee more followers or sales. Each item on this list could be an entire post. However, I have to start somewhere. You never know which post, tweet, or article will catch people’s attention. I just listened to one of the most recent episodes of the Tim Ferris Podcast where he was giving advice to those who want to grow their podcast or blog, and he said “be in it for the long haul” I took it to mean that I should aim for slow and steady growth.

So what’s the big lesson? Well, there were several:

  1. Make and stick to a plan.
  2. Don’t lose focus.
  3. Never neglect to build a platform.

I will keep all of you posted on my progress! If you have any topics that you would like me to cover or if you are interested in guest blogging/having me guest blog, please do not hesitate to contact me! 

Until Next Time!



One thought on “Putting the Cart Before the Horse: How One Woman Nearly Blew it With a Literary Agent

  1. Tiffany Cosey says:

    I read your post. Please check in with Brandi for some brand building ideas. She has been participating in a number of webinars and online groups with a focus on branding and gaining a social media presence.
    I’m sure she would be happy to share her lessons learned and some contacts.
    I am proud of you girlie! Stick with it.
    You have a lot going on and still managing to fulfill your passion for writing.

    Sent from my iPhone


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