The Golden Ticket

Do I really need an agent? What do they do for me anyway? Why can’t I just apply directly to publishers? Why is it all so complicated? The best way for me to answer these questions is to talk though my own experience. Do you need an agent? That entirely depends on what you want. Self-publishing wasn’t really an option for me for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I just want to write and not spend what limited time I have investigating self-publishing options and how to do it. I found the… Read More


#DearLaura   When you receive multiple offers from agents, how do you choose?   Sincerely, Too Stressed To Be Excited   Dear Too Stressed To Be Excited, What a good problem to have! Firstly, congratulations on attracting the interest of not one, but multiple agents. This is a very important relationship you’re embarking on and it pays to be choosey. There are a few things I would do right away if you haven’t already: Check their recent sales and existing clients at Publisher’s Marketplace. Stalk them on social media. Ask for a… Read More

How (Not) to Get Past Impostor Syndrome

I used to think I’d feel like a real writer the first time I finished a book. For a long time, I could never stick with a project past the 30k mark, so getting all the way to the end of a novel-sized project would make me a writer, right? But when I had my finished and revised book in my hand, I still didn’t feel like a writer. This time, I was sure being unagented was the issue. Having an agent would mean someone believed enough in my work to tie… Read More

Agentless Again, and Happy

Success. Whenever writers hear this word, we all have a similar vision pop into our heads. The most popular one is our book printed and bound inside a bright, shiny cover.  A close second is signing a publishing contract or getting an agent call. There are others we all conjure, like the first book signing, or typing the elusive “THE END” on the last page of a manuscript. At the beginning of last year, I considered myself successful. Well, I was on my way to success. I had two completed manuscripts, one… Read More

Finding a Sense of Gratitude

In this, the first week of 2018, I find myself not in the position I thought I would be. 2017 was my year! I took writing classes galore. I made it into #PitchWars. I connected with writers and readers and industry insiders across the world. In other words, I did what I thought were all the right things to guarantee I would start 2018 as an agented (finally!!) author. Where am I, sitting here typing this in the frigid beginning to 2018? Same place I was 365 days ago. Unagented, full of… Read More

Amateur Hour

I’ll be the amateur so you don’t have to be. When I was 16 I worked in a record store. We didn’t sell records (because it was the 90s so we sold cassettes, compact discs and the easily forgotten cassingles) but we still referred to it as “the record store,” probably because that sounded way cooler than “the cassingle store.” My musical taste and my general outlook on life were greatly influenced by my time there and in particular, by my co-worker Ray, who taught me about many things, including the concept… Read More

Faith and Writing

After 4 years together, my agent and I have parted ways. This is numero dos for me, so I’ve been through breaking up with an agent before. However, this time around, breaking up with an agent feels like…breaking up with a spouse because there are “children” (pending manuscripts still out on submission) to consider. Despite the obvious differences between breaking up with an agent versus breaking up with a spouse, this song remains the same: Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve… And though our parting was simply a matter of going in different directions, breaking… Read More

Confessions of a Publishing ‘Ho/ @LaurelHouck

My name is Laurel, and I am a publishing ‘ho. I’m also an upstanding citizen. But there have been times when I’ve done whatever to get my manuscript from a file to a shelf. Of course I’m being metaphorical. It doesn’t involve mini skirts or dark alleys. Frankly, those accouterments on me would chase publishers away. But like the real deal, being a publishing ‘ho is nasty business. Just in case you’ve ever strolled down this street, I’ll walk with you for a few paragraphs. Trends come and go. But it feels… Read More

The Truth About Rejection: Part 2 (It Aint Always Pretty)

I used to take it personal. I say that like my Vulcan heart is now calloused and impervious to rejection, but that is simply not true. Rejection hurts, in whatever form, whomever it comes from, and with whatever it entails. Unfortunately, part of being human is caring what other people think of you and our creative work is largely an extension of ourselves. When I get a rejection, usually in the form of an email, I get bummed for a few hours, distract myself with some activity where success is assured (cleaning… Read More

Falling Back in Love with Writing

I’ve loved to write since I was in elementary school. There was nothing better than arriving at school to find out that our morning assignment was to write a story. My friends and I begged my third grade teacher to let us take our notebooks out to recess so that we could work on our stories. I spent summers with a pile of paper and a box of crayons creating books that I bound with yarn. I filled several spiral notebooks a school year. Then I grew up. Suddenly, writing became a little more intense…. Read More