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First-Time Author

June 3, 2010


I’m Tessa Quin (32), a first-time author of a YA fantasy/adventure novel.  The novel is complete at around 120,000 words, and is the first in a series.  I’m getting ready for the process of finding a literary agent.

The main purpose of this blog is to follow the process of getting an agent, in hope that it can be of use to others in the future.  I will mention no names of agents in any of my blogs – with the possible exception of the agent I’ll sign up with.

I have one particular agent in mind, and I plan to query him exclusively and see if he will request the manuscript.  If not, I’ll start sending queries to various agents.

Right now I’m going over the manuscript yet again (perfectionist here – it’s a curse), and I deleted a chapter (roughly 6,000 words) and wrote a shorter scene to deliver the same results.  I did this because I thought the old scene was too much of a sidetrack, and now the manuscript is more linear with the story goal.

–> Stick to the plot and try not to sidetrack too much.

Plus, the manuscript is around 120,000 words, instead of 125,000, which might be a bit too much when it comes to publishing a first time author. Apparently, 80,000-100,000 words is what publishers look for in a YA novel, but fortunately, some have been known to bend that rule.

–> A YA novel should usually be no more than 100,000 words.

This is not the first time I delete such a chunk, I deleted the whole second chapter and rewrote it to make it more interesting.  The result was a much better, more to-the-point chapter that I think my future readers will appreciate.

I’m also working on my proposal.  I’m the type of person who likes to have everything ready upon request, and that’s why I haven’t sent out queries yet.  I think it’s a good idea, and I think the agents will appreciate it.

–> Have a full proposal at the ready, or at least most of it done before querying.

I think that my main obstacle is that I don’t live in America, and so it’ll be difficult to find a literary agent in the USA.  I live in Iceland, and as far as I know, I have no foreign traces in my blood.  Needless to say, Tessa Quin is my pen-name, because my real name is a bit of a mouthful for foreigners.

I chose to publish in the United States because the market in Iceland is very small (it’s a nation of roughly 300,000 people).  That means that my possible readership would be maybe 60-70,000, minus the fact that many Icelandic teens don’t like to read, so in the end, I’d be faced with a very small readership.

Do I believe that more teenagers in America would buy my book?  Absolutely!  The book is fresh, fun and filled with plots and interesting characters.  I get inspired by Iceland, the scenery, the people, the folklore and history.  I also believe that the book will sell well in other foreign markets.  Plus, my English is excellent, and I’m not too modest to say so 😉

When I’m writing (and I always write in English), I’m in my element.  That’s why I chose to take the leap and dedicate myself to the craft.  I’m determined to see this brilliant book get published.

Thanks for reading and have a good day,

Tessa Quin


From → Finding an Agent

  1. Good luck!
    My advice?
    Persevere. It might take a while, so don’t give in too soon. Most of all though.
    Don’t stop writing.

    • Thank you!

      I have read horror stories of writers getting up to 40 rejection letters before receiving a “yes”.
      I’m trying to develop an iron skin already, thinking of this as a part of the process and nothing personal.

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