A blog about my efforts to write, publish, and sell the books I know are worth reading.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Oh, Agent I'm on Submission With... Is This You?

  Full confession:  I sometimes have an issue with bad grammar on the internet.  I only argue about grammar when I didn't start the fight, but the impending death of proper English in writing makes me long for better days, sometimes (times before I was born, oddly enough).  Ironic bad grammar can be worse, on first glance, than unintentional mistakes that come about because of ignorance or inattentiveness.  It's harder to read than any but the most banal of mistake-driven bad grammar, and comes off as very condescending, in my opinion.  Nevertheless, the Bad Agent Sydney T. Cat blog should be required reading for all writers who are considering looking for an agent.

  Not all of these apply to the agent who is considering my manuscript, but this one got me thinking about the process that has been going on with me lately.  Three months is average, for a response on a Full.  I'm allowing three months, from the time that this agent actually admits to having received my manuscript.  That means, one way or the other, I will know by August 27th, or I will withdraw my manuscript from consideration.  As to whether I will consider sending to more publishers directly, at that point, I don't know.  I learned about a lot more publishers that accept unsolicited manuscripts than I did, prior to the unfolding of my (so far disastrous) agent search.  I'll leave that question for later.

  The thing that really bothers me about the Bad Agent description from the link [for those who didn't follow the link or couldn't stand the grammar, it's about agents who shop books to publishers before having any agreement on representation, with the author, one of many reasons to string a writer along], is that it represents a complete and total betrayal of trust.  What is stopping such an agent from -- when the shopping to publishers fails, as I'm sure it would, frequently -- selling the book as "the next Harry Potter" or "an advanced copy of the next big thing" in one of the more devious ways I can imagine?  The terrifying conspiracy theory I've been particularly fond of, lately, is that a first edition of a classic book would be sold above value, with my book added in as a bonus, and of course I don't see a dime.  Friends, not just literary agents, could perpetrate this awful atrocity.  There would be no guarantee that even the first edition would be well cared for.  I hope this is the kind of thing only my imagination could come up with, but who knows.  It's one of the things I worry about, and I'm overly fond of worrying.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A blog About Writing

I don't write like Hemingway.  But then again, maybe I do.  My writing does not imitate the style, subject matter, basic philosophy, genre, or time period typically associated with Hemingway.  But when I read Hemingway's descriptions of how he writes, it sounds like what I do.  More so than when I read what other writers say on writing, a lot of the time.  It's hard to be sure whether I should be proud of this, or worried.  Given my career up to this point, it may not be as encouraging as I once would have considered it.

I currently have a manuscript on submission with an agent.  There have been many attempts and many failed queries to get me to this point, but I haven't moved beyond this point and I've been waiting since January.  One time, I nudged this agent, and was informed that the agent had not received my manuscript.  I also became aware that this agent prefers email attachments (unusual, I know), so I sent one of those.  That was in May.  I'm starting to see potential mistakes in my correspondence with this agent everywhere, but I'm not entirely convinced I'm to blame here.

It may be time for me to get serious about the plan I had early on in this process, which was to self-publish online.  Hence the blogging.  Hence the more writerly approach to the concept of this blog.  Hence my infinite apprehension about how well I will do, out there on my own.  Will I obtain representation and have my book in stores?  Will I soar to the heights of self-pub stardom, forcing myself to a grueling schedule of at least one book every three months?  Or will this all be a dismal failure, with little or no profit to show for my considerable effort -- my words on the computer screen and my blood on the keyboard.  This is the blog where you can find out.  Posting will be highly irregular.  Check in periodically or subscribe.