Tag Archives: Literary Agents
I’m Gonna Write Me One of Them Thar Books. Can’t Be but So Hard, a Word Here, a Word Thar a Period or Two and You Got It…I Reckon
Clowns Give Some Folks the Willies. Being an Author They Don’t Really Bother Me. I Just Ball up in a Fetal Position and Whimper Till They’re Gone.
Ever written yourself into a corner, like an absent-minded painter might do with his brush? Or have you completely botched a section of dialog so badly, when you read what was written you considered a career in the fast food industry?
The misnomer we encounter while writing can be humorous, questionable or mind-boggling, leaving us stewing in its wake.
The same can be said for the real world. Ever heard of a hung jury? Of course, you have. Then why when capital punishment is carried out using a rope, the prisoner is said to be hanged?
This one will keep you scratching your head. We have televisions that receive information through the airways by substations or satellite. Radios receive signals in a similar fashion. Hundreds of thousands of cell phones world-wide also carve their paths through the air, back and forth from receiver to receiver. Clocks, Wi-Fi, planes, trains and automobiles all vie for space in the atmosphere with a myriad of other devices. How do these signals get from point A to point B without colliding with the millions of other signals heading from point C to point D and on and on?
Finally, and this one is a question for the literary ages. Why is it easier to balance a Volkswagen full of drunken clowns at the end of a twelve-foot rod while standing on a greasy slab of ice during a category 4 hurricane at the epicenter of a 7.5 earthquake than it is to obtain a literary agent?
Whew, I need a nap.
I’ve Never Experienced Writer’s Block, I’ve Never Experienced Writer’s Block, I’ve Never Experienced Writer’s Block, I’ve Never Experienced Writer’s Block…
Imagine acquiring a literary agent. This agent quickly finds a publisher for your first book. You’re given deadlines to complete various parts of your manuscript. Things are going fine until your well-oiled machine slams into a concrete wall. Sound familiar?
Oh no! You’ve run into that immovable force known as writer’s block. This will send the average author screaming toward the hills.
Are you picking up what I am carefully placing down for you…?…Okay, good, let us continue.
What once was on schedule has now begun to slip behind. No big worries so far, but pandemonium may lie in the future if this problem is not corrected…sound familiar yet?
Guess what kids? We’re now in the future which has been carefully renamed the present. Your publisher with much foreboding is insisting you complete the remaining pieces of your manuscript. You assure said publisher the remaining chapters are complete and will be sent next week after your final edits.
Your next move is to write the remaining few chapters.
Next week has come and gone and your publisher is threatening to cancel your contract. Your agent is also threatening cancellation and possible law suites to follow. Now, I ask again, does this sound familiar? If it does, you’re in a world of trouble and should have paid more attention to your deadlines.
As for me, I’ve been unable to coerce an agent so far. I have come close, but we know that close and three dollars will get you a cup of coffee. Until that day I’ll rely on small presses; they’re wonderful to work with.
If You Place my Rejections End to End You’d Go……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….and Back Again
I don’t mean to harp on any one part of the publishing experience, but this one bears repeating. Literary agents are one of the most valuable tools an author can have. Aren’t you curious as to how I know this? Well I’ll tell ya. I don’t! It boils down to what I’ve read. No doubt a literary agent is a boon to those authors who have managed to acquire one.
Then again, I believe it would be more likely to be sucked up by a tornado, struck by lightening and bitten by a shark all while summiting Mount Everest than obtain an agent. This is something I can speak on with authority.
I have contacted hundreds of agents with queries, requests for various parts of my manuscripts and the promise of my first born. I’ve received form rejections, told that the story was exceptional; however, they couldn’t fall in love with it and a plethora of other reasons. I did receive one response from a very sweet agent who enjoyed the query and chapters I sent. The more I read the more I knew this was it. What I had been slaving for had finally come to pass. Acceptance, I tell you, acceptance from the ones who had deemed me unacceptable. I had finally cracked the nut, escaped my cell of rejection and reached the pinnacle of pinnacles.
Alas, came the word “but.” I was dashed upon the rocks below, once again to dwell beneath the radar of agented representation.
I’m not trying to slam agents. I realize how hard it must be to pick an author to represent when each author you select represents your income. To make their selection process more difficult, literary agents receive hundreds of manuscripts a week, which equates to many thousand a year.
I still receive rejections from queries I sent over a year ago. I don’t want to self-publish; there are too many aspects of releasing a professional novel that I don’t feel proficient enough to tackle alone. Instead, I focus on small presses.
To wrap this blog post up, if you’re searching for an agent, make sure you have thick skin, dig in and get ready for an extended exchange…it nearly slipped my mind, but while you’re sending queries and awaiting responses, don’t forget to enjoy your grandchildren when they arrive, they grow up so quickly.
I’ve Been Rejected so Many Times I Created a Novel From my Rejection Notices…and What Do you Know, Acceptance at Last.
I’m sure you’ve heard about authors being turned down numerous times before finally finding acceptance. For example: J.K. Rowlings was rejected a dozen or so times before someone found space for “Harry Potter.”
Stephenie Meyer was another author scorned until she found huge success with her ” Twilight Saga.”
Even Stephen King was rejected thirty times before his first novel “Carrie” found a home.
Keeping these in mind, do you ever wonder if the agents/publishers that rejected these stories are still kicking themselves around the block?
I’ll admit the job of an agent having to sort through thousands of manuscripts has got to be a daunting task at the very least; however, sometimes it tickles me to think of a trip around the block motivated by one’s foot. My concept of this scenario would become more evident as my series of rejections increased to a volume that would rival an elementary school’s paper drive.
Once my breakout series is discovered and I sell a few bazillion copies, I’ll think of all of those rejections and realize there’s just not enough time, nor any reason to hold a grudge.
Guess I’ll just continue writing bestsellers and maybe, just maybe, slip a few emails expressing my gratitude for their refusals. After all, that’s one of the reasons I’ll be where I am when I get there.
“Just Because No One Seems to Like It Doesn’t Mean that Anyone Does.” Words of Comfort from My Heart to Yours
When I’m working on a novel, I incorporate short chapters with several different scenarios at the beginning. These situations may consist of groups formed by humans, groups formed from anything but humans, or groups mingled with humans and anything but humans working together. Occasionally, a single human or otherwise may wing it alone.
These groups usually share a common goal, although they may expand or decrease in number, meld together, or disappear completely, splinter groups may peel away or totally new groups may appear. That’s where the excitement comes in. You’re not sure what will happen until it happens.
What if you were to take a human from one of the groups (we’ll call him Bob)? Now, remove one of the anything but humans (we’ll call him, Splurch Flap). Let’s say that Bob wanders into a Clargovian minefield in chapter 8 and is blown to smithereens. (Smithereens in this case equaling a couple trillion pieces.)
Three chapters later, Splurch Flap falls into a dry well and is consumed by two famished air breathing guppies. To bring the point I’m trying to make home, in chapter 49, we find Bob and Splurch Flap have returned and are taking the vows.
One thing you want to remember is to maintain continuity in your writing. Publishers tend to frown on the author killing off a character and then bringing said character back as if they were never gone. I don’t believe, “I forgot,” would wash very well as an excuse.
Another thing that confounds me came about when I was searching for an agent. Who am I kidding? I’ve been searching for an agent; I am still searching for an agent; and if you ask me after the earth makes another trip around the sun, I’m fairly certain my answer will be, “Yep, I’m searching for an agent.”
This search, believe it or not has produced its share of ups along with the downs. Several agents have taken the time to write complimentary replies which I very much appreciated. One in particular went so far as to inspire the notion I may have an honest chance at representation.
Then I spied it; near the end of the last paragraph, that phrase that dashes hope to dust. It knocks you down for the sake of something to kick. What is that phrase, you so innocently inquire? With a lump in my throat and my eyes beginning to well, I answer in a low trembling voice, “Unfortunately, it’s not what I’m looking for at this time.” Once again (to quote Bon Jovi) “shot through the heart.” Nuff said
And what about this thing, this endless chasm, the bottomless pit, the slush pile? Each agency has one and even though most consist of virtual paper I feel fairly confident I’ve spent a significant amount of time drowning in more than one.
In fact, if slush pile aerobics were an Olympic sport, I have no doubt my collection of medals would be quite impressive.
I certainly understand a literary agent’s dilemma; thousands of manuscripts, with but a few spots to fill; a daunting task to say the least.
My first novel, “Rising Tide,” did rather well. My mother liked it and if that’s not a barometer of success I don’t know what is. I guess what it boils down to, is this business of writing, publishing, marketing, selling and starving is another feather in the antidepressant industries hat.
And I guess it’s pretty well accepted, that writing and starving are the easiest of the lot. Still we eagerly jump behind our keyboards and follow each letter as it flows across the screen. With anticipation we tap, tap, tap, turning letters into words, words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into pages and pages into completed works of literary art.
Now saddle up, hold on tight, and get ready for the ride your life. You’re going to be thrown off, trampled, kicked in the head, spat upon, dragged through the mud and left for dead.
You’ve got two choices. Turn tail and run or climb back on your ride and get a better grip this time.
By the way, you hungry yet?
The Arts: See Them In a Different Light As You Never Have Before or Ever Will Again…Probably…Maybe; but Maybe Not
Imagine the excitement an artist experiences when staring at a blank canvas. What to create; oh, what to create this time? Every color of the palette flashes through his mind. A landscape? A portrait? Something surreal, traditional or a young lady with two heads, four boobs, and three toes on all six feet? “Anything I wish,” he giddily, whisperers.
Then, there’s the sculptor. He inspects a large ball of rock (unfortunately, there’s no other way to say it) hard as stone staring back at him. Once the artisan decides upon the subject of his masterpiece, he knows all he must do is remove the material that does not look like the finished product. “Much easier said than done,” he muses.
Deciding upon his point of attack, a disastrous twist enters the recesses of his mind. In no way do I intend to detract from the painters unique skills: however, if the sculptor slips, his piece could be ruined after months of work. Whereas, the man of paint (I should think) would have much less trouble, initiating repair.
On the other hand… Wait a minute, I already used both hands… I’ll start over.
On the other foot, we have the author. Some spend a great deal of preliminary time forming the plot, developing characters, and outlining the entire book from beginning to end.
Others study diligently (forensics, espionage or military weapons and strategies) to ensure their novels are accurate and true to form for their readers.
I tend to fly by the seat of my pants. I stare at the blank page with a vague idea and begin writing. I seldom know what lies ahead as I write in real-time. I’m like a parasite attached to my character’s brain, and wired into the nervous system. I see, hear, feel and make decisions in tandem as we move along. (My psychiatrist says I should be sporting no more than a dozen or so personalities by the first of the year.)
Writing adventure, science fiction, fantasy and the like doesn’t require much preliminary study to ensure accuracy. What I don’t have, I concoct, and accuracy is what I deem it to be.
Of course, there are instances from the world we live in that coincide with the world I write in (a dimensional crossroad if you will) that require that I bounce down to the library to assure continuity in my book.
And what author wouldn’t be proud to have one of their readers quote a statement or incident from one of their novels using that same novel to back up their quote as fact?
All this talk about the arts has set my mind to wondering (like that’s some kind of revelation).
But you have to admit that slinging a brush full of pigment across a tight piece of canvas conjures images of Tom Sawyer suckering the neighborhood kids into slapping white wash against an old picket fence.
This in turn brings about thoughts of P. T. Barnum uttering that famous line, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”
I immediately find myself sailing toward the Midwest during the spring in tornado alley. It was here during the 1996 movie, “Twister,” that Dusty coined the phrase, “the suck zone.”
So by my reasoning (something you should avoid) if you dabble in the fine art of painting you will inevitably end up hanging in a tree, stripped naked by an F5 tornado, somewhere in Oklahoma.
It seems perfectly logical to me that if one ponders an ashtray masterpiece being carved from a 50 ton granite boulder, their next thought would certainly gravitate toward the first carver of stone.
The picture begins to fade and blur then refocuses on a primeval setting. Strange animal grunts and growls, active volcanoes, and huge fern trees dot the landscape.
Amidst the noise a small sound cuts through unscathed. Tink, tink, tink…Tink, tink, tink…Tink, tink, tink, tink, tink. Why it’s none other than Grog fashioning the first wheel from (who would have thunk it) a 50 ton chunk of granite.
“Hold on there, Grog. It seems you left the bottom of your wheel flat… It won’t roll like that.”
Tink, tin… “What you mean, ‘no roll?’”
“It’s got to be round its entire circumference.”
“What you mean, ‘cumfense?’”
“Never mind, you big dumb ape, it just won’t roll.”
Thus, the first stone carver changed vocations becoming the first serial killer, something about instant gratification.
And now (I’ve said this before but evidently it bears repeating since I don’t seem to be listening to myself. Do not begin a sentence with ‘and’) we begin the ending of this storied tale.
I am working on my fifth book. One has been published. I decided to forgo dealing with the publisher myself and attempt to acquire an agent.
“How’s that coming?” you ask.
Well, I guess it depends on how you want to look at. Agents receive as many as 500 query’s each week. They accept less than 1%. I figure I have more of a chance being struck by lightning while riding in a plane. The jet continues on safely, as I am the only one ejected over the ocean, still smoldering when I take the plunge. I am plucked from the water by a sport fishing club who specializes in catching Great Whites. The one negative, they’re out of bait.
But that only strengthens (once again do not begin sentence with “but”) my resolve not to give up. Because you never know when that slightly quirky agent forgets their medication one day, picks up my query and realizes a bipolar Dr. Seuss is exactly what they’ve been looking for all these years.
When that day comes, they’ll call me, “eccentric.”
Until then, I’m just crazy Lynn.