The Journey Continues

Mark Paxson

When we first started this blog, I published a couple of posts about my renewed effort to pursue a traditional publishing route for my new novel. I hoped that I would be able to use my experiences on this new path to help inform other writers.

The novel is a literary young adult piece. There are no vampires or werewoles, no dystopian future, and no football player-cheerleader-nerd love triangle. But because it’s YA, I thought I might have a shot at an agent. After sending some queries out and only hearing back from 1/3 of those I queried, I’ve given up.

I get it. Agents get a lot of submissions and they have a difficult job. They, like publishers, only get paid if a book sells. As a result, they are focused on finding books they believe they can sell. What’s frustrating though is the silence that comes from most queried agents, and the complete lack of any clue from those who do respond.

Admittedly, I ended up sending out fewer queries than I originally planned on doing, but at this point, I have no idea why the idea behind this story isn’t one that could sell.

I’ve given up on the traditional route. Again. I am now pursuing my own path for this book. For the first time since I started self-publishing, I’m putting money into it to see if that changes. I’ve hired somebody to design a cover. I’ve just joined the Independent Book Publisher’s Association, which offers members all sorts of discounts on various review, PR, marketing, and other sites. I also just paid for a review from Kirkus.

I believe in this story and want to see if I can make a splash with it. Hopefully, in the months ahead, I can share some successful lessons learned with you.


  1. Chuck Litka says:

    I think, Mark, that perhaps your lack of positive response may a result of the current shape of the YA market. Alexa Donne, a YA author, has a Youtube channel, and she’s done several videos on how the YA market’s gold rush days are over. Here is the latest one: And a related one, here:

    It could well be the right book at the wrong time. She also has videos on querying agents & all the nuts and bolts of traditional publishing. My take is that it’s a lot of work.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. kingmidget says:

      It is a lot of work and it doesn’t seem that agents or publishers have any interest on helping make it any easier. It’s as though there is a secret code and they certainly aren’t going to help you figure it out.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m looking forward to the results of your strategy to self-publish differently. As for querying, I’m done with that. I don’t think I could summon up the right mindset for it any more.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. kingmidget says:

      I don’t know if I’m completely done with querying. I may try it again with some future book, but for The Dime? Yep. Definitely done with it.

      Liked by 2 people

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