Monday, February 22, 2010

Hitting Up Agents

Since my last blog, here, I've had to take a hard look at my book the way it was. I realized it was too long. So, I went and began chopping away at it, took out whole scenes, characters, chapters.

What I came away with was a 90,000+ word manuscript so much slimmer than the original, and I was then able to pull the thing out of the fire. It took a lot of work, but I did it.

Yesterday, I had checked out a literary agent, only because she had written an article which appeared in my latest Writer's Digest. The title "Lessons Learned From and Author-turned-Agent" piqued my attention, and I read it. I've also gone and read a few of Jennifer Lawler's blogs. I don't know, something about her seemed approachable. I read "How to Pitch To Me", found that what I had was not under her list of what not to send her (in other words, she didn't say "Don't even think of sending me any vampire novels"), and the fact she didn't want YA, just thrilled me to death (I"m sick of the glut of YA writers writing about vampire boy/girlfriends.)

So, I worked on a pitch, and since she only took 30 pages, or the first chapter, I sent her my first chapter. I've been told that the first lines of my first chapter, which I'd sent someone in an attachment, made him forget what he was cooking. I thought that was pretty wild!

I changed the format of my cover letter, rewrote that, she didn't want much, only my writing credits were included at the end. I kept it simple. I wanted her to get to the writing.

Now, in her article, Ms. Lawler tells us--now that she is an agent--what she asks herself when looking at a pitch is, "Can I sell this?" Not, "Is this person's writing any good?" or "Does this writer have a great career ahead of them?" -- hopefully I've quoted her correctly.

Anyway, I've known this for a while, that agents won't take any work, unless they know they can possibly sell it. Some agents won't bother with something they know won't make money. They all want to find the next Stephanie Meyer, or J.K. Rowling. And we writers would like to believe we are the next ones. Maybe.

Frankly, I'd rather not have the paparazzi following me around so that I have to hide in a castle. I'd rather go to a castle because I want to.

The only thing that I did wrong, as far as what I'd sent was, I didn't place a header on my document. It was a new document, I quickly saved my first chapter into the new document, making sure it was Word, so she can open it. I keep forgetting that the header doesn't automatically go up there. So, there's not header, or page numbers. I was busily getting this done, putting up the attachment, thinking I could get it sent off and forget about it (yeah, right).

Five minutes later, I realized what I had done. I wish you could retrieve e-mails.

Meanwhile, my friend told me to check out his review on my book Spell of the Black Unicorn over on Amazon, and said "you wouldn't believe what your book is going for!"

So, I had a look. First I read John's very nice review, and then I scrolled up and over. There were four books--2 used, and 2 new going for:
$41.51
Wow.
I'm not at all sure what this means. I mean do they really think they can get this price? The actual price for my book is only $18.95. Why would you pay more than twice the price? I wish I knew why or who was trying to sell my book for such an outrageous price.
I mean, the book is good, but I'm not famous--yet.

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