SE LITERARY PROPERTIES
STEPHEN EVERETT, AUTHOR REPRESENTATIVE
PO Box 67385 St. Pete Beach, FL 33706
I am always on the lookout for excellent books of fiction and nonfiction, but please read this page thoroughly before submitting.
Some of my favorite books and authors are: The Arabian Nights, The Bible, Cervantes, The Decameron, Edgar Allan Poe, Frankenstein, Gargantua and Pantagruel, Hamlet, The Inferno, Job, King Lear, Lolita, Moby Dick, Notes From the Underground, Othello, Petrarch, Quasimodo (I know, he's just a character), Rostand, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Uruguayan Poets, Victorian novels, The Winter's Tale, XTC (I know, they're musicians, but their lyrics are great), Yeats and Frank Zappa (another musical poet, who fills out the Z nicely).
1) Numb yourself to rejection. In most cases you know precious little about the person reviewing your work beyond their name. If you send Dostoevsky to a Danielle Steele fan, she's going to send it back.
2) Never pay someone to read your manuscript. The world is full of shysters and opportunists who will ply your dreams for their own aggrandizement. These people don't care a fig about your writing, and don't want to work for you--they've already made their money the moment your check-enclosed manuscript arrives in the mail. If they really cared about your writing, why would they ask you to drop it and go work and earn three or five hundred dollars to send to them? You can't develop your talents while telemarketing or waiting tables. This unfortunately is a common scheme, and one of the largest of these companies is currently under investigation for millions of dollars in fraud.
3) Persevere. It can't be said enough. Dozens of great books were rejected dozens of times before seeing the light of day. There's a lot of bad writing in print, and editors with bad eyesight who put it there. Nuff said.
4) Write as much as possible. You've written a marvelous manuscript that merits publication and will make a bundle? That's great, but the next one should be better. And what else are you going to do while you're waiting anyway?
5) Read constantly. In conjunction with life, it is the best way to edify and inspire a writer.
6) Revise, revise, revise....
7) Submit clean manuscripts. A good first impression is vital. Everything should be spell-checked, grammatically correct and easy on the eyes.
8) Be professional.
9) Above all else, to thine own self be true. You're not going to find your voice by copying someone else's, and you're not going to make your million imitating the bestseller list. By the time you've finished the manuscript, sold it and seen it through production, it's yesterday's news. Write from your heart.
I know these are cliches, but cliches exist to define universal truths.
CONCERNING LITERARY AGENTS
I just signed a client who wrote a fantastic novel. He told me that before contacting me he had sent it to eighteen agents--ten had rejected it, and eight had yet to respond. Until you've signed a concrete contract for representation--or one is pending--continue to submit to as many people as fulfills your heart's desire. Many refuse to consider simultaneous submissions, but what they don't know can't hurt them, and why should you sit around waiting for a rejection while they may be sipping coladas in the bahamas? This is not an indictment of the literary agent--there are many excellent ones--just some friendly, experience-based advice.
BEWARE OF THESE AGENTS
Some agents will hint at the possibility of a contract if you first take your manuscript to a specified editorial service. What they fail to mention is that they receive a referral fee for every writer who decides to hire said editorial service. This is very often a scam, and there are many complaints from authors who spent $2000-$3000 to have their manuscripts professionally edited, only to find that the agent still refused to offer a contract.
So you've finished your first novel? Fantastic! Take a day to celebrate. Penning the last page of my first was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. A few days later I was working on the second. Stop and assess it, then forget it for a while. Artistic maturation is a lifelong process. Oliver Twist is a good novel, but if Charles Dickens had stopped there to eternally pat his own back, we would have never enjoyed A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Bleak House and the rest. Likewise, to get to Macbeth, Hamlet and Lear, Shakespeare had to go through A Comedy of Errors and Love's Labour's Lost. Don't hesitate to get feedback from anyone who'll read, nor to dip your toes in the pool of agents and editors, but for the sake of Mars, keep writing!
If your novel, or description thereof, begins with the sentence: "There is a serial killer loose on the streets of Tacoma, or Hoboken, or Tampa, or Austin..." don't waste your time contacting me. And please, no modern 'literary' voice, thesaurus-abused free verse. If you wrote THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY--which Meryl Streep called 'a crime against literature' while filming the movie--I won't be able to slog through it. I'm also not interested in vampire, erotica, scifi and fantasy. And while I love good horror, that market has been depressed for quite some time now, and may be the most difficult genre for an unestablished writer to break into.
I prefer email queries If you have your material posted on a website, send me the address. Please don't send attachments; if I don't know you, I won't open them. A well-written query indicates a like manuscript, as does a poorly written one. If you write or email and don't hear from me, feel free to check back; you may have inadvertently slipped through the cracks. But do understand that because of the sheer volume of email queries, I and most agents only respond when interested. Multiple personalized responses a day simply is not possible.
I work for the standard fifteen percent commission. In most cases I will ask you to pay for copies, postage and telephone. This will not be a monthly lump sum, I will account for every penny spent. If I spend fifty dollars marketing your work, I will not ask you for seventy-five. If I choose to represent your work I will produce a top-notch query, and I will target and call editors at publishers germane to what you've written. I will submit the manuscript if requested and may send off a volley of queries in the meantime. What I expect from you is a willingness to work with me. If you fear my honest opinion, we will not get along. When I read your manuscript I will mark misspellings, punctuation errors and suggest alternate wordings to smooth the flow of the narrative in rough spots. I will not do massive editing--if your manuscript needs a 'book doctor,' I won't offer representation. I will ask you to make any necessary corrections in a timely manner, that we may submit the cleanest manuscript possible. If your manuscript is 100% clean and ready to go, all the better. I will keep in touch with you via e-mail, and will forward you all responses as they come in.