When I finished writing my novel, The Bridge of Dreams, in 1998, I sent a query letter (with the first three pages), over a period of months, to more than thirty publishers (including all of those listed in Writers Market whose names I recognized), and received the response almost universally (I now think of it as gradually becoming one big publishing company out there, probably named Time-Life) that they wouldn't even consider a query unless it came through an agent. I then queried half a dozen agents and their response (generalizing) was that they only represented authors with a strong record of publication. I did send the full 480 page (192,000 word--24 chapters, each twenty pages long, opening with a sonnet) manuscript, as requested, to one small publisher in California, and, after limited correspondence suggesting reduction by half (and that I might then pay half toward publication), I could see that nothing would come of it, and decided to self-publish the novel, as I have eight shorter books since I retired in 1994. But I didn't want to take on the full 480 pages all at once, either, so decided to self-serialize it, publish a chapter a month for the first two years of the twenty-first century. Once I got that idea, I really liked it--so that is what I plan to do--serve as my own editor, right here in Topeka.
Robert N. Lawson, Topeka, Kansas, January, 2000.