How to break every rule (and still get published) – Katie Oliver

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Katie Oliver brings us her very own guide to getting published.♥

1. Send queries to every big-name literary agency from Curtis Brown to The Bent Agency.

2. Expect a reply and an immediate offer of representation.

3. In similar fashion, blithely query the founder of Folio Literary Agency, Paige Wheeler, writing in character as your book’s sweet but harebrained British heiress, and expect a reply.

4. Get an ACTUAL REPLY from Ms Wheeler herself…and one that isn’t nasty or rude, but encourages you to submit again – even though she doesn’t offer to represent you. Save email to cherish forever (and possibly frame).

5. With renewed determination, and after due diligence, focus your sights closer to home. To that end, query Elaine English at her eponymous Washington, DC literary agency, cross your fingers, and hope for the best.

6. Wait. (As a writer, you’ll do a LOT of waiting. Get used to it.)

7. Feel your heart race when you see an email a week later from Ms English in your inbox. Deflate when you read the dreaded words, “doesn’t fit our needs at this time.”

8. Feel heart resume racing as she asks if she might refer you to her former intern, who recently left to start her own boutique agency.

9. Resist urge to punch your fist into the air like Rocky Balboa and scream YES! YES! YES! and calmly reply, “Oh, why, certainly. Thank you.” Figure it’s all roses and rainbows from here on out.

10. Learn very quickly that the hard work has, as the Carpenters sang, “only just begun.” There are edits to be made and manuscripts to be pitched. And there’s not a rose or a rainbow in sight.

11. Take a deep breath, dive in, and get to work polishing your submissions to a shiny fare-thee-well.

12. Wait as agent shops your three as-yet unpublished books.

13. Work on other story ideas, continue writing a weekly blog, and build up your fledgling social media empire. (It’s true you started out with only six followers on Twitter … but we have to start somewhere, right?)

14. Eventually, learn while at work that your agent has sold ALL THREE OF YOUR BOOKS to Carina UK, a London-based, digital-first publisher. Somehow get through the rest of the day – being complete rubbish as you are floating on a cloud for remaining six hours of workday – without spontaneously combusting.

15. Figure it’s all roses and rainbows from here on out.

16. Get your first revision letter from your new editor … all TEN pages. Gulp. Ten pages of corrections, changes, and subplot issues, requiring quite a bit of work to be turned around in quite a short timeframe. And here you thought your book was already perfect…

17. Pour large gin and tonic, easy on the tonic, heavy on the gin. Drink.

18. Roll up sleeves and get to work. Wonder what you were thinking to undertake such a thing while still working full time.

19. Panic.

20. Swallow misgivings, take a deep breath, and revise your manuscript. Feel immensely proud. You broke every rule, but you did it. Thanks to the acquiring editor at Carina UK and your utterly fabulous agent, you’re about to become a published writer and see your books launched out into the world.

And no roses or rainbows can possibly top that.

Katie Oliver loves romantic comedies, characters who “meet cute,” Richard Curtis films, and Prosecco (not necessarily in that order). She currently resides in South Florida with her husband, two parakeets, and a dog. Her latest series comprises What Would Lizzy Bennet Do?, The Trouble with Emma and Who Needs Mr Willoughby?


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