It's Laurie! While I'm busy welcoming a new baby, I've invited some lovelies to keep you company. Please give warm Alley hugs to my beautiful friend, agent-mate, and brand new DEBUT AUTHOR Jill Kemerer as she shares her journey to publication and gives us a peek at her new book!
Sometimes it seems as if the publishing industry is all about who you know. But what if you’re on a tight budget and can’t make it to a big conference this year? Or you went to the conference, and instead of editors and agents begging for your work, you didn’t get any interest at all?
I’ve been there. There have been many years I’ve tearfully offered cyber waves to my friends attending conferences I couldn’t afford. And when I finally did get to a few conferences, I had so-so pitch sessions that left me in tears.
So what’s a writer to do?
We need an agent to get our books in editors’ hands. And we need editors to buy our work. Hang around any group of writers for a while, and you’ll hear how hard it is to get that coveted agent.
I submitted my early books directly to editors since the publishing house I was targeting didn’t require an agent. I feel really bad for the poor editors who had to read those books! By the time I was ready to query agents, my writing had improved to a point I was humbly confident I’d produced a good book.
Research is vital when you’re querying agents. I scoured websites and agent profiles to verify if they represented the books I wrote. I also followed blogs and talked to friends with agents to get a feel for what I wanted in the relationship. I narrowed my list down to my top five agents, and one stuck out in my mind. I just had a gut feeling we’d be a good fit.
After weeks of praying and researching, I sent queries to three agents. I had never met any of them. I didn’t have a recommendation. But I had faith, prayer, and experience.
My top agent? Requested the full. About a month later, I got the call!
I’m still with Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Agency, and I couldn’t be happier. She’s worked hard for me for years, and she’s encouraged me through rough times. I’m blessed!
One misconception about getting an agent is that they’ll automatically sell your book. Yes, some writers will sell right away, but like the rest of my writing journey, it wasn’t that easy for me. It took over three years after signing with Rachel to sell one of my books. During that time, I continued to write, submit books, and enter contests.
In May 2013, I noticed a pitch contest through Harlequin Love Inspired called Happily Editor After. I thought Shana Asaro would be a good fit for my voice, so with my agent’s approval, I signed up. In May 2014, I got the call! I had SOLD my first book. Small-Town Bachelor officially releases tomorrow, and it’s on store shelves now.
If you’re an aspiring writer, don’t be afraid to cold query agents. And keep your eyes open for ways to get your work in front of editors. Inspirational writers, enter ACFW’s Genesis contest and My Book Therapy’s Frasier contest. Romance writers, enter RWA’s Golden Heart contest. If you see pitch contests for publishers you’re interested in, sign up! You never know, maybe you’ll get the call too!
Jill Kemerer writes inspirational romance novels with love, humor, and faith. A full time writer and homemaker, she relies on coffee and chocolate to keep up with her kids’ busy schedules.
Besides spoiling her mini-dachshund, Jill adores magazines, M&Ms, fluffy animals, and long nature walks. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Jill loves connecting with readers, so please visit her website www.jillkemerer.com and find her on Facebook and Twitter.
A Place to Call Home
When Reed Hamilton arrives in Lake Endwell for a family wedding, he expects to do his part as best man then head back to the big city. But when a tornado postpones the wedding, the town is in shambles and Reed is injured. Thankfully maid of honor Claire Sheffield offers him one of her cottages to recuperate in.
Dedicated to her family and her dream job at the zoo, Claire is all about roots. She's this city slicker's opposite, yet as they help the town rebuild, Reed is captivated by her stunning looks and caring ways. He can't ask Claire to leave the life she loves for him, but he also can't imagine ever leaving her behind…
To find out where Small-Town Bachelor is available for purchase, click here.