The second handy blog is… ta-da-daaaa.
The reason I find this one useful is just to read comments from a savvy person who is an agent and is prepared to share information and time with the world. Here in the UK, you do tend to get the impression, when you approach an agent, that it’s about how busy they are and what a nuisance (to the point of stalkerdom) you are.
And there go my chances with any of them.
But what I mean is, they aren’t all like that, even the ones who give that impression, they’re just laden with British guilt because they have about 3,000 authors after each slot on their books… possibly more. Underneath it are people who want to help and when I read the work of Mr Bransford, even though he’s in the States I feel that yes, it is worth continuing the search for an agent, even as I self e-publish my book, because many of them are human.
Oh yes. Finally, I have made the Smashwords Premium Catalogue… my freebie, pique-their-interest-story should now appear on Amazon and Barnes and Noble… eventually.
It went live on Smashwords on 8th December and so far, 19 people have downloaded it. No reviews, though, which is a pity as I’m sure there’s nothing like a good review to drive it up the charts. Then again, I fear this story may receive nothing like a good review. There’s a reason I don’t usually write shorts and that reason is, I’m not very good at it.
On the search for unicorn poop er-hem, sorry, finding an agent front, I have been introduced to a couple of useful blogs.
The first, Queryshark answers the question, what do you write in your query letter when you approach an agent. The answer is an elevator pitch. A short sharp synopsis which (and I quote)
1. Who is the protagonist?
2. What choice does s/he face?
3. What are the consequences of the choice?
It seems that’s pretty much all you need to do, you can add a bit about how you’ve done writing classes if it’s relevant but nothing I’ve done is relevant… well actually I suppose 12 years of corporate communications probably counts for something but not anything of potential use when writing a novel.
I’ve been reading queryshark for a while now and have submitted my own pitch for perusal. I hope they tear it to bits because lord knows, I need to get it right.
And there I leave you. More on useful blogs tomorrow. Go check out the queryshark. She’s great.
My first application to an agent has been rejected.
I am unsurprised and I am surprisingly unmoved.
What does make it a bummer, though, is that they seem to be excellent types and have about the only website that talks to unpublished writers as if they are people rather than a trying nuisance! It’s also a bummer because it means I’ve got to compose a meaningful pitch aimed at someone else in the pitiful amount of free time the mother of a 10 month old has in a day!
What does surprise me is that I don’t seem to have lost any confidence. It sounds incredibly arrogant but I know my writing is good, I know it’s good enough to be worth publication. That’s not enough these days, of course, you have to be a red hot seller which I am so not and you have to have a certain kind of luck. Knowing somebody in publishing also helps.
Never mind. I heard somewhere that JK Rowling got rejected 20 times.
Onwards and upwards, I will now proceed to agency number two on my list. Meanwhile, here’s the letter.
Thank you for your recent letter and the material which I enjoyed looking at. As a small agency we take on very few of the many writers who approach us each year and, having considered your work, I am afraid I do not feel we can effectively represent you.
I trust you will understand that the sheer volume of submissions to this office unfortunately prevents us from providing you with a more detailed and personal response.
May I take this opportunity to wish you success with another agent or publisher.
With all best wishes etc
A decent letter. And I know they can’t but oh how I wish I could go into the next submission with a hint, just one thing, that might need improved. To paraphrase Rowan Atkinson… I am a blind man in a darkened room looking for a black cat that isn’t there!
I need to find an agent because, amongst other reasons, I’m shit at sales.
Trouble is, I need to write a shit hot sales letter to get an agent. Enter my smashing sister in-law who works in publishing and is on the case.
Emily, take a bow.
Some meaningful and helpful thoughts about this coming later… I hope.