Chip MacGregor

July 2, 2012

A question about getting started…


Tanya took a look at our corporate web site (, noticed that I tend to prefer “established authors,” and asked two questions… “How do you define an established author? And is it better for a ‘non-established’ author to work with a small publishing house, or to keep pounding on doors to find an agent?”

The answer to your first question is fairly fluid — an established author is someone who has done some writing and publishing. How much will qualify them as “established” is left to the eye of the beholder, I guess. But so you know, most of the authors I represent are people I met face-to-face, liked personally, and came away impressed with their writing — OR they were referrals from current clients. It’s just the way I’ve built my business.

As to your second question, I’d suggest there’s not really a right answer. Many authors (including me) got started by publishing with magazines, newsletters, and smaller publishing houses. Eventually some of us got noticed and moved to a bigger stage. But other authors kept working until they found an agent who could help them land a book deal. Either choice is equally hard and will result in you being frustrated and wanting to quit this stupid business… until you have some success and people start telling you what a wonderful writer you are, and fawning over you as though you were some sort of genius. [Note: When that happens, accept it, but laugh. You’re not really a genius…but if somebody else wants to think of you that way, so what?] There’s no one plan that will work for everyone, and since I don’t know you, I can’t recommend one path or the other, Tanya. Both can work. 

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  • Peter DeHaan says:

    …so I guess I need to figure out a way to meet you face-to-face.

  • Tiffany Amber Stockton says:

    “You’re not really a genius…but if somebody else wants to think of you that way, so what?”

    Amen to that! LOL! Let them continue in their fanciful delusions if they wish. I certainly won’t mind one bit. 🙂 It makes this crazy and often agonizing business worthwhile. To have someone tell you they have read every single one of your books and you are at the top of their to-be-read pile does wonders for bolstering your energy to keep going!

    And yes, referrals, face-to-face…they’re still the way most things get done. Nothing can replace the personal touch.

    • Chip says:

      Thanks, Tiffany. I agree — it’s why I’m going to let you continue thinking I’m a genius!

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