Thursday, February 21, 2008

Finding the Elusive Agent

Last week I sent out 23 queries to literary agents specializing in my genre (if it can really be described). I'm going for historical fiction for Sightless. Out of the 23, I've already had 4 returns. But wait! They weren't ALL rejections! One agency wanted to see the first three chapters and a synopsis. I promptly sent her the requested material, and now I wait.

Now, writing query letters is an artform in of itself. To me, it's much more work than writing my books! If I could pay someone to write the perfect query letter (one that agents actually makes an agent want to see my work because the hook was too terrific to pass up), the synopsis (a 1 page and a full blown, what-the-book-is-about one), the dreaded chapter-by-chapter outline, and whatever else each agency wants to see just be have them return all your hard work and effort with a form letter saying something like, it's not your writing, it's our passion that's lacking to promote your work to a publisher. And those are the elaborate ones! Sometimes it's a business card saying thanks, but not right for us at this time.

To sort of be fair about it, I know agents receive thousands of queries a week. That alone would be a daunting task to go through, never mind find the jewel in the rough and want to proceed with it further. But, it's still a hateful, dreadfully slow, agonizing process that one must go through to pay our dues. And pay and pay and pay.

So, the waiting begins. Most agents will return an answer within a month or two. Some take just days. I guess it's a good thing there are thousands of agents out there to choose from. I just hope the one who will represent me isn't the last one on the list!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Genre Wars

Another rejection. I took this one kind of hard. Since many agents I query will tell me, I have a difficult book to place into a specific genre. I think Eye of Garnet is a historical fiction with a paranormal twist. The historical fiction agents get really spooked (pardon the pun!) by this "twist", and tell me they don't represent that stuff. So I queried a more paranormal publishing company. My rejection, though pleasant enough, stated that I wasn't paranormal enough. Hard to win with a genre-bending story. And no, I refuse to write to conform to one category. Can't. Won't! I write through my character's voice. I'm not my characters, they are themselves. So, I continue to query and keep writing ... what I want.

On a bit of a brighter side, my screenplay I wrote adapting Eyes of Garnet to the silver screen, has found an agent. 'Course, that means nothing if they can't sell it to a film company, but as ever, I'm blissfully naïve and always think something good will come of it. Hell, if I didn't, how could I keep going?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Ice Storms and Signings Don't Mix

I was supposed to join four other authors last night for a Valentine's Day signing. There were romance authors, murder mysteries, historical fiction and the like represented. Well, that was until we ended up having an ice storm that pretty much put the kibosh on the event.

Me and Dorothy Cannell braved the storm, but we were also the closest to the event in Belfast, Maine. Somehow, we did manage to get a store full of customers and sold some of our books, but it would have been a real treat to sit with some of my favorite authors and chat about writing.

The owners of the bookstore said it was the first time in the thirteen years they've owned the place that a weather event stopped them. At the end of the evening, though, it all seemed to work out all right, and we ate, drank and drove very, very slowly home.