Mailing It In Old School

Today I’m sending in two more queries, one for Chivalry to Kathleen Anderson at Anderson Literary Management and one for The Peaceful and Just to Marcia Amsterdam at Marcia Amsterdam Agency. Both of these agents, surprisingly, asked for queries by snail mail, so I did the whole thing with the big envelope and lots of paper and printed words and a self-addressed stamped envelope. So at least I’ll get some mail.

Looking at my queries laid out on the desk, fat stacks of papers neatly lined up with a cover letter and printed words spread across the page, perfect, lovely . . .  It is good to look at. It is hopeful. Still, I can’t help but think of the phrase “Mail it in . . .” It is not an endorsement of quality.

It is strange now to scramble around looking for paper to print on, and hoping there is enough ink, and trying to make sure the manuscript looks right on the page. I remember my worry, years ago, that we would run out of trees, and so out of literature. Also my worries that every agent would want their submissions over the internet, and I wouldn’t have the technology to compete. Now I can send my submissions in a flash from my iPad, and it is this old style of solicitation that gives me pause.

It’s wonderful to think of someone in the literary world riffling the pages through their fingers and reading my words. Joyce: “The pages of his timeworn Horace never felt cold to the touch even when his own fingers were cold: they were human pages . . .”

Is it as close as I will ever get? Will Kathleen, or Marcia, or both, like what they read? Will my words spark their imagination? Will they ask me for more? What more can I do?

Joyce: “It wounded him to think that he would never be but a shy guest at the feast of the world’s culture and that the monkish learning, in terms of which he was striving to forge out an esthetic philosophy, was held no higher by the age he lived in than the subtle and curious jargons of heraldry and falconry.”

Ahh–wounded. Well, James, you made it, didn’t you. And so those words you wrote ended up being ironic, or prophesy, or something you read again with a smug and satisfied smile . . .

Now it’s my turn.


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