Yesterday I requeried Gemma Cooper at The Bent Agency with The Peaceful and Just. I sent it to her mid–July and received a reply stating that she was too loaded up to look at it, resubmit in August. From her I got a nice and immediate e-mail telling what she was looking for (children’s and YA), her submission guidelines, and an offer to resubmit again if I didn’t follow them (I did, so good to go.) It’s always nice to get some form of acknowledgement that the submissions actually arrive.
Today I sent The Peaceful and Just to Sara Sciuto at Fuse Literary. Since I am still waiting to hear from Gordon Warnock at the same agency with Chivalry, I figured I would sent what I’m currently working on to another agent at that same agency. Also, I read her twitter post at #MSWL saying she was looking for YA fantasy with well imagined settings and rich characters, and immediately changed my query letter to reflect my feelings that I have created exactly that. I was depressed all day on Friday, actually, after reading that she was tired of novels about dystopian futures (of course, that is also my setting, and that’s what depressed me, because if she’s tired of it, then everyone’s tired of it.) Then I thought, what the hell, that’s really just background stuff, and it’s the story and the characters that matter, and dammit, my characters and my story are awesome. So I conquered my depression and sent it anyway. Hope you like it, Sara, since you also sent an immediate reply saying you will only get back to me if you’re interested. LIKE MY STORY, SARA. YOU WON’T BE SORRY.
Then I decided to send Chivalry off to Sarah Jane Freymann, since Sarah Jane likes edgy YA fiction and it was her associate Jessica Sinsheimer who actually came up with the hashtag #MSWL, which stands for Manuscript Wish List. So there you go, another bunch of queries out, a bunch of work still to do.
I sent another query out today, for Chivalry. I sent it to Elizabeth Kracht at Kimberley Cameron & Associates. I chose her because she also at the TMCC Writer’s Conference. During the Q & A section of the conference I asked her why I felt like agents never got beyond my query letter and into my manuscript, and she said it’s probably because my query sucked. I reminded her of that in my letter. I was funny about it, and I think it might make her remember me, but I’m still not sure it was the right tone to take. I guess it’s part of the submission process to immediately doubt what you have sent off into the ether. Like for instance, did it get there? Will they open it up and see a bunch of dots that don’t mean anything? Will I ever know what I did wrong?
It’s amazing how much time and effort it takes, but I really want to get to a place where I have a couple of letters out at all times. That way, even when I’m hearing no, I’m still thinking yes. I learned a few things this time around. I learned that every agent is a little bit different, and so I’m going to have to rework my letter each time. I already knew that, and I think it is a good thing anyway–how could I send out form letters and get them right? I learned that it’s easier to see on the big computer, or that my eyes are getting bad, one or the other. I had to learn that because you can’t add an attachment on an iPad, while its easy on a full sized Mac. I’m sure there’s a reason for that. I’m sure there is. For me that means so much moving around between files, saving this here, putting this there, that I start to fear inadvertently changing my manuscript. So I learned to use word count to make sure I’m not doing that, and I learned to make a copy of everything, and then I learned to put a copy on a hard disk in a safe deposit box at the bank. Oh, and to do that I had to learn to partition a drive for a Mac.
Yeah, technology. It’s amazing how much of this stuff I have to get through just to be creative. Was I still creative today? Yes, I was. I wrote about spears, and people getting stabbed by them.
All right, I did it. I sent out two query letters today, one for Chivalry, to Gordon Warnock at Fuse Literary. I said it is about a small town that is polarized by rumors of an affair between a young man and an older one. Then I sent one for The Peaceful and Just to Victoria Marini at Gelfman Schneider. In my young adult fantasy novel all the roads on planet Earth are turned into matter transporters, greatly enhancing life. One day, all of the matter transporters break. From that point on, anything that touches them is carried to an unknown place.
I don’t know how I would look for agents without the Guide. The Guide holds the names. The agents make great web pages that tell exactly what they want in a submission. Victoria even tells prospective authors whether she’s responded to their query or not based on when it was submitted, which is really nice. Without the guide, how would I ever have found her website? I wouldn’t have, that’s how. So get the Guide, and, with respect to Douglas Adams, don’t panic. I’m going to go have a Trans–Galactic Gargle Blaster, the drink that hits like a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.