BRN #13: Querying Agents

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I’ve written a book (or two…or three). But I’m talking about the one that’s been through edits, revisions, and beta-readers. It’s YA. It’s Sci-Fi/Fantasy. And the few people who’ve read it assure me it’s good. But I tend not to trust the opinions of family and friends. Well…even if they lied and it’s terrible, at least I like it. I’m proud of it. I completed a task most people don’t even dare to attempt.

harriet11

But now what? Well personally I’d love to land an agent and score a sweet book deal. There’s something annoyingly validating about having a stranger choose to pluck your book from anonymity and make it their job to have it shine. But it’s what I want and there seem to be rules and so off I go. Step one: Query Letter. Gross.

Querying agents for your book rather feels a lot like throwing wet paper towels at the ceiling hoping that eventually one will stick and even if one does then you stare at it with sweaty tingly palms counting the seconds to see how long it’ll stay up there. A book deal is like throwing a wet hunk of paper at the bathroom ceiling and having it stay up there all day and night waiting to amaze you upon your return. Not impossible but rather difficult because everything has to line up just right: the dampness of the towel, the material of the towel, the material/texture and dryness of the ceiling, the height of the ceiling, the velocity of the throw, etc. You go down a list crossing off names as each agent rejects you and you send another wad of paper towards the heavens.

harriet the spy

So to keep myself sane I keep writing. I work on a sequel, I draft an entirely different book, I read more and more novels by authors I admire, I write reviews and my random thoughts. I write and write and write because if I let myself sit there staring at slim chances while everyone leaves and the sun goes down and I’m locked in the darkness sitting on cold grimy ceramic tiles staring at a peeling once-white ceiling lobbing fistfuls of hope into the air just to have them crash down upon my face again and again…well, I imagine I’d go mad. Or if not I’d spiral somewhere darker, a place an artist really should not be unless ’tis but for a brief visit of self-discovery.

Harriet the Spy cry

Anyway, I’m not really sure where I was going with this post. Just some random thoughts I suppose. Perhaps any of you fellow writers feel similarly? It’s the worst though when agents don’t bother to respond to your query at all because then you’re left wondering if they got it, if they’re still mulling it over, if they even bothered to read past your opening sentence, if it was so awful they had no words, if they perhaps overlooked it as it got lost in the shuffle, if you should try submitting it again or if that might throw them into a rage, etc. In this day and age everyone seems to be wanting a slice of the pie and so the poor agents get far too busy to send you a simple ‘thank you, but no,’ much less find the time to provide any constructive feedback on your work or even just on the query letter. Is it too much to ask? Yeah, perhaps it is. C’est la vie.

Harriet the Spy Marion

Maybe the waiting and the hoping wouldn’t be so bad if I had something else. Another job. But writing is what I’m dreaming of right now, dreaming of doing full-time. So what do I do in the mean time? What am I qualified for? Theatre is almost all volunteer these days unless you have many years of experience under your belt and sometimes not even then. So what do I do? Get a job at the movie theater working for minimum wage, living off of beans and rice, wearing my shoes until there are holes in the soles? I suppose. Perhaps I feel too entitled. No one said being an artist would be easy or comfortable. I mean, the phrase ‘starving artist’ is a common one for a reason, no?

So fine, I will spend my mornings writing, my afternoons volunteering or working minimum wage or helping around the house, my evenings reading, and my nights throwing wet paper towels at the ceiling of wishes. Maybe one day it’ll stick.

Best wishes for you fellow writers.

Cheers.

P.S. Okay fine landing an agent is a thousand times more difficult than making a damp wad of paper stick to the ceiling. Haha whatever. It still feels that way though – silly, mostly pointless, and repetitive. And I guess I just don’t have the skills kids in movies do because I’m terrible at it haha 😉 Such is life my friends.


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