Oct 4, 2010

Five Down

Eleven to go.

This is it.  The moment of truth.  I've started querying the first of my 16 carefully selected agents. 

For those of you who haven't spent the past year or so obsessed with the workings of the anglophone fiction publishing circus, lowly unpublished authors like myself can't just up and send a manuscript to editors willy-nilly.  Oh no.  Before any contact with editors is to be had, one must first bag oneself an Agent.

The Agent is the holy grail of the unpublished writer.  The Gateway to publication, the Saint Peter of literature.  And finding one involves hours of research, intense preparation and some pretty serious groveling.

The process goes something like this:

1.  Purchase the Writer's Yearbook, aka The Bible.  Even though you would think, in this day and age of the internet, such tomes would be unnecessary, you do it anyway because "They" say you should.

2.  Spend precious writing time reading through the list of thousands of agents and checking all their websites, to find the one agent that will be A Perfect Fit.

3.  Give up and just make up a random list.

4.  Check, double check, triple check exactly what you are supposed to send each of these agents so that they don't laugh you off the island.

5.  Write, re-write, throw away, start over, tear hair out over query letter to said agents.  End up with something along the lines of "Please agree to read a few pages of my novel.  It's amazing.  Not as amazing as you, obviously.  I love you.  Attached is my first-born."

6.  Wait.

7.  Wait some more.

8.  Move to Switzerland in despair at never hearing from agent.

It's oodles of fun.  Especially as most agents have never heard of the 21st century and actually still require you to snail mail over pages of manuscript. 

But I suppose it does lend the whole process a bit of a dramatic artistic aura.  If only I had penned my novel with a quill and ink in a haze of absinthe.


Anonymous said...

Would you consider self-publishing the book using some 21st century method? You make website, you offer an excerpt, and the potential customer can order the book. You can also sell through amazon and print on demand. I am sure you have thought about this, but you have good reasons not to do it.

Res I(p)sa said...

Yup, I've thought about it, and if I get no love from agents over the next 6 months, will definitely consider going that route!