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So I put up this blog yesterday, mainly to make fun of myself and my somewhat unrealistic ideas of how all this is supposed to go.  I assumed that virtually no one (get it?  Virtually?  It’s a blog?  Come on, that’s funny) would actually read it, and never dreamed that it would generate advice.   In just over 24 hours, I’ve had readers who are not related to me not only find and look at it, but offer (very useful) guidance.  Long live the blogosphere.

 

I truly appreciate it, clearly I’m new at this whole dipping my toe in the shallow end of publishing thingy.  So if you, like the very thoughtful Darcy (I would totally hyperlink to your blog here if I could figure out how to do it.  Oh wait, I think I did.  Those WordPress people are geniuses) have advice for me, please bring it on.  Who knows, it may take a village to make a writer.

Literary Broccoli

Ok, so I haven’t touched my query yet.  Well, that’s not entirely true, I attempted a new first paragraph.  It’s awful.

 

Instead I tried to find an agent interested in lighthearted books, because my work of genius is lighthearted.  It looks like they are all interested in literary broccoli.  It’s good for you, but who enjoys it?  Yes, that’s a bad example, I happen to love broccoli, but you know what I mean, and my mother loathes it, so she especially knows what I mean.

 

No one dies on the first page of my manuscript.  No one is mangled, emotionally or physically.  It’s just a light escape, something fun to take a person away from his/her job, life, problems for a little bit.  Who wouldn’t want that?

 

Literary agents, apparently.  Though I am certain that you are out there somewhere, O Agent my Agent, a person who likes to get away, if only through the pages of someone else’s adventure.

Rehashing the Rejections

Wednesday, February 25, 2009.

 

“I don’t think they read your query,” my Dad says for the hundredth time in an attempt to make feel not-loserish.

 

“But they all say they read every query,” I say.  “It just didn’t grab them.”

 

Thursday, February 26, 2009.

 

“I don’t think they read your query,” says my friend, whom I will call Miranda, as that is not her name.

 

“But they all say they read every query,” I say with slightly less conviction. 

 

Is it possible that all of those interviews, blogs and posts are actually artful sculpting of the truth?  Could it be that they did not, in fact, read my query?  It’s impossible to know with the standard rejection.  Time to revisit that query.

Hello world!

It goes without saying that my manuscript is brilliant.  Fresh, fun, funny.  Brilliant.  Like I said, it goes without saying.  So after rave reviews from all I press-ganged into reading it, I set about researching agents and writing my query.  And writing.  And writing.  I honed it until it was sleek as a seal, certain it would glitter alluringly among the far-less fresh, fun and funny masses.  I formatted my manuscript to have it at the ready when the calls came pouring in.  I scoured every online reference to the selected, preliminary agents, reading the “don’ts” as though they lead to the key to the divine hereafter.  For all I know they will.

 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009.

 

With a pounding heart, I paste my three carefully crafted and personalized queries into three separate e-mails (NEVER send a mass-distributed e-mail), taking care to include a specific reason I chose that agent (ALWAYS tell them why you are querying them).  I use the title Mr./Ms. AgentLastName (NEVER address the agent by their first name, or much worse, Dear Agent), and first send them to myself to make sure that they don’t look strange.  Finally, I let them go into the cyberverse and nearly suffer cardiac arrest every time the phone rings the rest of the day.  Which it does.  A lot.

 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009.

 

I have a continuation of the conversation I had with my father the night before.  “You don’t want quick replies,” he says, “quick replies are bad.”

 

“You’re probably right,” I say, as he’s almost nearly always right.

 

Wednesday, February 25, 9:39 a.m.

 

There it is, in my mailbox.  RE: Query.  I don’t even take the time to take a breath, I just open it.  It’s two lines, which can’t be good.

 

“Dear MyFirstName,” it says.  “I’m Agent1’s assistant,” and the gist is an exceedingly polite but firm no thanks.  The use of my first name is a bit bold, I think, considering I have never met either Agent1 or Agent1’s Assistant and I used the formal to address Agent1, but I cut the assistant some slack, perhaps s/he couldn’t judge my gender from my name.  At least that part was personalized, even if the form rejection was likely pasted in.

 

Obviously there is something wrong with Agent1.  Anyone with sense would want to read the manuscript after that seal-y sleek query.

 

Wednesday, February 25, 2:40 p.m.

 

I get my second RE: Query e-mail.  Uh-oh.  My Dad was so right.

 

“Dear Author,” it begins, and I long for the days (or hours, really) when I was “Dear MyFirstName.”  Another polite, if even less personal, no.

 

Obviously, there is something wrong with my query.  Sorry query.  Tomorrow I will dismantle you and see if there are any salvageable parts.