The Atlantic

Why I’m Still Trying to Get a Book Deal After 10 Years

A writer explains her dedication to becoming a published author—and how her approach has changed over the last decade.
Source: Katie Posner

Ten years ago, while sitting at my computer in my sparsely furnished office, I sent my first email to a literary agent. The message included a query letter—a brief synopsis describing the personal-essay collection I’d been working on for the past six years, as well as a short bio about myself. As my third child kicked from inside my pregnant belly, I fantasized about what would come next: a request from the agent to see my book proposal, followed by a dream phone call offering me representation. If all went well, I’d be on my way to becoming a published author by the time my oldest child started first grade.

Things didn’t go as planned. I spent the next several years querying agents while writing other books. I read blogs and interviews to get the latest industry news and figure out which agent was looking for what kind of project. I attended several dozen writers’ conferences, residencies, workshops, craft lectures, book festivals, and readings. I joined critique groups and exchanged work over email with countless writer friends. For my novels, I hired freelance developmental editors

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