I received the following question with the subject heading that I’m using as the post’s title. Since I think it probably reflects the views of so many writers no matter your age, I thought I should post the letter verbatim. . . .
It sucks trying to get an agent. I think my work is good. I know it’s good. I’ve shown it to a wide variety of ages and all of them enjoyed it. At least 1/3 of those people I don’t talk to often and I asked for brutal honesty. They all liked it.
I just don’t know where to find an agent who’d even think about taking on a 17 year old writer.
I sent it in to one agent whom I thought would enjoy my work. They didn’t. Which honestly left me a little sad and frustrated but I’m going to keep going on anyway because I love to write and others will eventually come to like it too . . . or at least I’d like to believe that.
Is there any way I can find an agent?
Yep. Sometimes for all of us it just sucks. Trust me, I know. I have authors and books that I have absolutely fallen in love with and refuse to give up on, but for one reason or another I can’t find a publisher to get behind it. Publishing is not an easy business, and unfortunately for all of us selling a book is a lot more than just finding 100 or so readers who enjoy it. Selling a book means finding thousands of readers who can find your book and pay money for it. Two completely different things. I know there are people out there who think the publishing industry is a mess and I’m not going to argue with you there, but where I will argue with you is that no one in publishing knows how to buy a good book. A good book is more than a good story and more than good writing, it is a variety of things, and making a successful book is sometimes none of those things. Publishing is a business and making it in any business means a lot more than just creating a good product. You can make a really beautiful necklace, but selling that necklace to thousands of people is a totally different process. I believe that to have success in publishing, you need persistence, you need to not give up, and you need a willingness to learn and change throughout, to edit your book, alter your process if necessary, and even explore new areas.
Yes, there is a way you can find an agent, you just need to keep plugging away and keep writing.