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Queries and Agents => Literary Agents => Topic started by: isinglass on June 30, 2009, 11:55:48 PM

Title: Back in the saddle
Post by: isinglass on June 30, 2009, 11:55:48 PM
Or should that be "blood on the saddle"? Anyway, I found another four agents to try. I queried two of them tonight, and I'll get to the other two tomorrow or the next day.

Then that's it. Trunk novel. Unless I want to try publishers directly. But if no agent wants it, why would a publisher?
Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: AshK on July 01, 2009, 07:14:15 AM
I started putting together a list of small-press that that unagented sumbissions. When I decided to market this book, I swore to do it to death. Hopefully I will never have to use the publisher list, but I have no qualms after coming this far.
Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: Molly Z on July 01, 2009, 11:40:18 AM
Good luck, Isinglass. 

I have two novels published by small presses and I've had nothing but positive experiences with them.  I really think being able to list the publishing credits on my query for my current project really helps me get my foot in the door.  It's not a bad option.  What genre do you write? 
Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: isinglass on July 02, 2009, 03:32:44 AM
The one I'm about to give up on is traditional fantasy. The books I'm working on now are urban fantasy, but I'm nowhere close to done.

I'd consider small press publishers depending on the publisher. So many small publishers I've seen, though, don't take genre fiction. They go either for specific niches or for more literary fiction, the highbrow stuff that isn't blockbuster type best sellers. Mine is nowhere near highbrow!

I went to a panel at the last science fiction convention I attended put on by a local small press publisher. They seemed nice and on the up and up. When I looked at their website, I saw that they were advertising for a copyeditor. I applied, but it's been nine months and they haven't responded, so I don't think they're going to. That didn't impress me, and I crossed them off my list.
Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: Molly Z on July 02, 2009, 07:43:34 AM
A site I found really useful when researching small presses is http://www.hipiers.com/publishing.html  .   It's run by Piers Anthony (he of sci-fi/fantasy fame).  He lists (with his own research/comments) small presses.  Most take Fantasy and/or a wide range of genre fiction. 

My two small press releases are historical fiction.  One of my publishers is Highland Press and they're branching out into fantasy:  http://www.highlandpress.org/   Books are available through Amazon, Barnes&Noble, kindle, fictionwise, and for order at any bookstore (if you don't want to pay shipping costs).  HP just signed a contract for e-books to be able to be listed/downloaded on iTunes.  It's not exactly the exposure you'd get it your book was sitting on a bookstore shelf, but you can still do book signings and local stores like to stock "local authors."  And you can still claim that all important publishing credit on your next round of queries.   :wink:
Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: nimblemoon on July 02, 2009, 10:55:51 AM
Good luck! Lately I'm wondering if pitching direct is the way to go, especially if you want a good agent. Here's why. I read this interesting blog post written by Neil Gaiman the other day that included an interview with an editor at Tor books. The topic was essentially, how to find an agent. This quote from the editor blew me out of the water:

Quote
1. If you're writing fiction, the True Secret Answer is "get an
offer." If you've got an offer, you can get an agent. If you don't
have an offer, you don't want the kind of agent you're likely to get.

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2005/01/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about.asp



Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: isinglass on July 02, 2009, 06:02:20 PM
But if publishers won't look at your stuff unless you have an agent, and if agents aren't interested unless you've got a publisher....

Well, obviously it's impossible to publish, and all the stuff sitting on my bookshelves is a figment of my imagination.  :bang: No wonder writers are nuts.
Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: Cujo5 on July 02, 2009, 06:12:23 PM
I can see why they said that, but I think that kind of thinking is more in the screenwriting industry. There it is near impossible to get an agent until you've got a deal on the table, so maybe some agents for books work the same way. I can honestly say having searched for agents for both. It's much easier to seek and get agent's attentions writing novels than it is writing screenplays. Even with a top 50 placement in screenwriting, I've never gotten an agent to request my scripts. Production companies on the other hand are more open than it seems the publishing world seems to be.
Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: isinglass on July 03, 2009, 12:25:56 AM
I now have five active queries out. Wish me luck.
Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: isinglass on July 14, 2009, 10:46:32 PM
I have officially given up on getting an agent for this novel. Of the five queries I sent, I got exactly zero responses. A couple of the agents have a record of blowing writers off unless they're interested. If they're interested, they respond immediately. Obviously I got blown off. Another couple of agents also respond within a day or two if they're interested. Beyond that, it's a rejection, although they have a better record re: blowing writers off.

I'll try publishers, but frankly I have no hope. And for the first time in my working life, I can't get a day job. I simply can't. Nobody wants me. And I can't figure out why. I have 20 years experience in my field. I have a college degree. But I'm utterly unemployable. I have no job skills that are of value to anyone.

Right now I feel like a complete loser.
Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: violet on July 14, 2009, 11:03:45 PM
Isinglass...

Don't go there. I know it's easy. I'm in the EXACT same situation. Tons of experience, a college degree...and no one seems interested. The company I was working for filed Chapter 11. Everyone I speak to (friends, family) says, "You're the hardest worker I know. Anyone who hired you would be lucky to have you." And gosh darn it all, I agree! I am extremely hard working and I actually love to work.

Anyway, I have complete empathy...and of course, it inevitably bleeds into everything else...my writing sucks, I'm a loser...etc.

Try to take a few deep breaths and see the beauty of the world. Go on a walk, garden in your back yard. Whatever it is that brings you joy. Do something nice for yourself.

On the query front, did you post your query? Perhaps it would be worthwhile.

Take a deep breath (or have a glass of wine if you drink  :wink:) and try to relax. Feel free to pm me...it's good to have a nice support network.

 :zen2:

~V
Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: nimblemoon on July 14, 2009, 11:20:04 PM
Hang in there Isinglass. I feel your pain. Been unemployed for a year. Haven't even reached the query stage. Still writing...well when I'm not blocked. Don't give up. Keep going.  I know what you mean. Everything snowballs and you feel like you're never going to get anywhere, you're a loser...etc...but you're not. You've even got an MS complete - that is awesome. Hang in there.
Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: JeanneT on July 15, 2009, 01:35:31 AM
Isinglass, believe me, I sympathize. I've given up trying to find a day job for the time being. Fortunately, I can survive (barely) without one. It does NOT make you a loser. It just mean the economy seriously sucks.

And you sometimes can sell novels that agents don't want to publishers. There are some good small publishers out there that accept non-agented work. One place that discusses them extensively is Piers Anthony's website. He has an extensive list with a lot of comments from writers and publishers. You'll also want to check AW for any you consider. Duotrope has a publisher list as well. And of course always check P&E and Writers Beware.

Don't give up. And DON'T think it means that you're a loser.

I have officially given up on getting an agent for this novel. Of the five queries I sent, I got exactly zero responses. A couple of the agents have a record of blowing writers off unless they're interested. If they're interested, they respond immediately. Obviously I got blown off. Another couple of agents also respond within a day or two if they're interested. Beyond that, it's a rejection, although they have a better record re: blowing writers off.

I'll try publishers, but frankly I have no hope. And for the first time in my working life, I can't get a day job. I simply can't. Nobody wants me. And I can't figure out why. I have 20 years experience in my field. I have a college degree. But I'm utterly unemployable. I have no job skills that are of value to anyone.

Right now I feel like a complete loser.
Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: isinglass on July 15, 2009, 05:46:46 AM
Thanks for the words of support. My last boss thought that I was an excellent worker -- reliable, dependable, smart. The only reason that I lost that job is because I was a contract worker and my contract ran out. My boss couldn't get them to extend it and couldn't get me hired on full time.

But that was going on two years ago. I can't live without a day job. Furthermore I can't live without a middle-class income that will pay my mortgage and bills.

There are about half a dozen major publishers to try, then I'll try the small publishers. But I have to ask myself, if nobody wants it so far, is it any good? (I also ask that question about myself. :-( ) Perhaps I should abandon it as a trunk novel? (But I LIKE the story! It's just that I'm the only one who does.) I spent part of today looking up publishers' websites. I'll look at Piers Anthony's site, too.

I did post my query, quite some time ago, and revised it a little.

And just today I heard that the economy and job market was going to get worse for several more months before it began to swing around. Dammit! I don't have several more months.
Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: Jessica V. on July 15, 2009, 11:06:35 PM
Hang in there! Am I missing something, or did you really only send 5 queries?? Five is just a drop in the bucket. Keep sending!! :up:
Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: ChristineF on July 16, 2009, 12:26:16 AM
Jessica is right...I have friends that literally sent out 100's of queries on mulitple novels before landing an agent...and thngs have been good for them since then.  Look at some ofthe HUGE novelists out there making HUGE $$$ (Jim Butcher, James Patterson etc) - they were rejected hundreds of times before getting an agent.

Hang in there - keep writing, keep learning and it will eventually happen.  And lik most people will tell you - work another job to keep money coming in.  THis is not lucerative for a while :D
Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: isinglass on July 16, 2009, 07:49:33 AM
There are no more agents to try. Those were the last five. I forget what the total was, but it was well over 100.

Work another job?!? That's what I've been trying to do for the last two years! I thought I mentioned it, but ever since getting laid off at the start of the Great Recession, I've been desperately looking for work. The stress of not knowing where my next mortgage payment is coming from is trashing my health.

And to add to the examples, of course, there is Jo Rowling, who was on the dole and writing stories in coffeeshops before a small publisher finally picked up Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.  :)
Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: violet on July 16, 2009, 12:13:41 PM
Isinglass-

I know you said you posted your query but I looked and couldn't find it. Please post or PM with it...I'll try to help.

If you truly believe in your ms, rework your query--and change the title. Agents get too many queries to think, "Hey, I already read this." (Provided you didn't just query them in the last few weeks) When I first started querying, my query was El Sucko...but when I got it to where I wanted it, I changed the title, requeried and got many requests from agents who R'd me the first time around.

Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: Coldfeet on July 16, 2009, 03:45:48 PM
Isinglass,

I'm not much help on the job front, though I do know what living with continual stress feels like and I'd not wish it on anyone.  If you need an extra reader for either query or ms I'd be happy to offer my eyes as well.  I'm thorough and (hopefully) constructive.  If you reach a point that you want a new reader please don't hesitate to PM me.

CF
Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: isinglass on July 16, 2009, 11:48:00 PM
Coldfeet, thanks. I'll keep you in mind. I have a couple other novels that need to be finished. I'm a little concerned because my next three novels are part of a series, and I'm going to be working on the fourth one this November during Nanowrimo. If the first book of the series tanks as badly as this current novel, the next three are basically worthless. But I like the stories and the characters, and I'm going to try to ignore the fact that I don't seem to be a very good writer and work on finishing them.

Still no response from those last five agents, and no response from the last five day jobs I applied for. The economic news keeps getting worse, and now my mortgage company is calling me. I've been putting off calling them back, because I want to tell them that I have a job. I'm afraid that if they find out I don't have a steady income they'll take my house away from me, even though I've been making my mortgage payments on time for the past nine months. You'd think that would count for something, but anymore I just don't know.
Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: laurabdiamond on July 17, 2009, 12:19:24 AM
Isinglass,

I hear your pain, things have been tough for you to say the least. I am worried for you.

I hope that you have a strong support network to help you through it!!!!

Don't give up hope!

You'll be in my prayers, I hope that's helpful, for my part anyway.

Laura D
Title: Re: Back in the saddle
Post by: Steph Campbell on July 17, 2009, 02:49:23 PM
I agree with Violet, perhaps reposting the query may help. Maybe  a few little tweaks will make it perfect.
Have you received any requests off of the query? Did you have a beta reader for your novel?
I def understand your frustration, I am about to shelve my first novel and just concentrate on my WIP. I don't want to give up, but I am doubting that it is "the one", even if I do like it a lot...
Hang in there,
Steph