Alrighty, this post is to continue my wildly popular (at least to Nighthawk, heya!) post about the types of writers there.
This is a tricky business. An agent gets thousands of queries to represent their work. And of those thousands, they maybe accept about .01%. That's right. Not 1%, .01%. Crazy eh? Literary Agents have become the new keepers of the Gate. The Gate in this case being the Gate to Getting you Book Published.
Being repped by an agent means that your manuscript is making it past some of the mandatory sieves and barriers that un-agented stuff must go through. You maybe picked up, you may not. Much of getting published has to do with market timing, who likes what, and a bunch of other stuff that I'm sure is influenced by a butterfly beating her wings in Japan somewhere.
5) First Time Published
Ah, the author has gone through the gauntlet. Usually after around 2ish years (this is after finishing the book, after getting an agent, after it getting bought by a publisher), their book is on the shelves.
They worry about things I can only dream of. Reviews, publicity, who will like it? How is it being marketed? What about my next book?
Their worries are no less real than we, the legion of unpublished novelists. There are reams of things they need to learn about publishing,and the whole business of writing. And if their agent is good, they won't have to worry about this side too much.
6) Mid List Author
This is a quickly diminishing group. But it's a group I'd be more than ecstatic to find myself in. This group makes about a middle class income, and publishes anywhere from 1 to 2 books a year. They make middling sales. They can pay their mortgage. They might do things they aren't entirely proud of, like write books based off movies, and whatnot. But they'll have their own cadre of loyal fans.
They are professional writers.
Somewhat related to the midlist is the literary novelist. Many of them can go publishing and publishing, and never hit a home run. From what I understand, they cannot write full time. Advances are too small. Now, this is only on my reading of it. A commercial mid-list writer and a literary novelist are cut from the same cloth, but live in different worlds (if I may butcher the metaphor).
7) Blockbusting Bestselling Authors
The number of these, in relation to how many writers there are is so infinitesimally small it's not worth figuring out the number of decimals places I have to count just to write it out. It's puny. Tiny. If you sneeze, that number would become zero.
The bad news is that any one who hears you are writing, automatically assumes this is where you are going to be.
I'm sure I'm missing many nuances and levels here. But this is as best as I can understand it. And more or less talking about commercial, genre writers. It's a crowded, messy world out there. A high layered cake where every segment seems more overcrowded than the last. Every segment seems more impossible to overcome.
But take heart, there are hundreds of thousands, just like you, going through the same thing.