I just emailed my first query letter to an agent. I’m excited but bracing myself for the inevitable string of rejections.
Why try to get an agent? I’ve attended several “First time authors reveal all” panels at Litquake, and heard stories of successes and failures, both with and without agents. Self-publishing The Perfect Specimen has given me a glimpse into the publishing world and even the pathetic attempts I’ve made to market the book have cut into my writing and editing time. I haven’t written anything new in months. Plus, I believe in the value of an expert. An agent can market my book better and faster than I can, and now that I’ve tried to do this myself I’m not going to begrudge them their commission.
Even if I don’t find an agent, everything I did in preparation for this needed to be done. I created a two-page synopsis of my 140k word novel. That was tough, but I found a technique that worked for me. First, I did a synopsis of each chapter. Then, using only those as source material, I created a ten-page synopsis. From that, I got down to two pages.
Though I’m annoyed that I have to paint my intricate artwork in such broad strokes, I realize I can do the same thing to other books I’ve read with no qualms. “Bookstore employee solves centuries-old mystery with the help of modern technology.” (Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore), so I need to get over thinking my work is too precious for the same treatment.
Also, I finally created a decent query letter. It helped when I imagined it being read by a voice actor. “In a world…” It has to be big, dramatic, and easy to grasp. I’ve got only a couple of paragraphs to tempt an agent into reading my synopsis, and that has to interest them in the first five pages of the book.
Here is the frustrating part. I really like my book. It is as good as anything you’d grab off the shelf of your local bookstore, but agents and publishers are drowning in a sea of creativity. I’m doing little more than throwing another bucket of water at them…but hey…we both have a job to do and I’m doing mine to the best of my ability and I have to trust that they are as well.
Why the photo of the 280z? This was my dream car when I was in high school. It was a vehicle, a way to transport myself and my friends. Now, I’ve found a much better way to transport people. : ) (I know, groan!)