Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oy, My Head is Spinning

No, really. I may also be cross-eyed.

I have been reading, and reading, and reading, and eating a hot dog, and reading and reading, and downing twenty or so Twix miniatures, and reading, and eyeing the bottle of scotch...

Luckily I did some of this leg work last year, when I thought I was almost finished with one of my longer pieces. Yeah...almost finished...did you know that most writers get the first eighty-percent (should that actually be hyphenated?) done in fairly short order - but the last twenty can bumfuzzle 'em? Yep.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah, dazed and confused on the Internet.

I did some legwork last year and found a few websites dedicated to helping aspiring authors. No, not to part with their money - I do know enough about this racket to know that legitimate agents don't ask for reading fees and one doesn't generally pay to publish one's own work unless one is OK with the vanity press [Hey, back off, I'm not disrespecting the vanity press...it has its place in the world...just not my world. Yet. I'm hoping I don't have to resort to that, but hey...I won't write (hah!) it off entirely, at least not for the children's stories - I even have (potentially) some artists that I believe would do some brilliant illustrations for me if I begged hard enough and offered up bribes of fresh baked cookies, muffins, and bread.] - but to find representation and (one hopes) be published.

There being so very many sites out there (it's mind boggling, truly), I narrowed it down to a couple that were laid out in a way I could navigate without requiring a map, Sherpas, or liquor.

I have spent the last few hours bouncing around one of those sites (Agent Query), trying to make heads or tails of this whole finding-an-agent/writing-a-query thing. Whew. At least they provide a tool to narrow down the list of people I might irritate to a few pages-worth of names. Twenty one. Pages, not names. And that's for the children's story/stories, because the not-a-mystery (yes, Kit, I know it's a mystery...but it really isn't a whodunit sort, because you know whodunit from the start) isn't quite done with the whole proofing/editing phase (thank you Kit, for being one of my victims/proofers. There are some other folks having a go at it, too, but Kit has actually read the dad-blasted thing once and is going through it again...that's yeoman's duty, y'all!).

It's taken hours because I'm diligently reading each agent's mini-blurb, then (where I may) link-hopping to read up on them and their agency, on what (or if) they are looking for in new authors/material, and (when they're kind enough to provide them) their thoughts on query letters.

Something that troubles me, though, is how many agents want you to be published before you contact them. Umm...hello? If I knew how to get bloody published, I wouldn't need help, now would I??

There are different guidelines for fiction, non-fiction, and children's stories. Send text, don't send text, e-mail, don't e-mail,...I mentioned a spinning head?

I remember why I gave it up last year - TMI. What, you thought TMI was only for personal tales involving unfortunate bowel activity or sexual misadventures?

Now I am sitting here with a bowl of orange Jell-O (there's always room for it, dontcha know?) wondering what the Hell I was thinking.

Still, I think I have enough information to have a go at making a couple of queries...and the names I found accept e-queries, so I won't be out postage or printing, so that's a bonus.

Tomorrow, I will try to write some query letters in preparation for e-mailing.

Y'all, why can't it be as easy as "I wrote a story, wanna see?"


Writer Dad said...

I am so with you on this. I found myself smiling, then laughing as I read your post. The last line was the best. I've found myself in the same situation. I've written a ton of material. It's presently waiting out its last week of an eight week stay at a potential agent. At the end of the eight weeks, I may not get so much as an email saying no thank you. But I do think that the internet is changing the rules of self distribution. We need a much smaller audience to make the same amount of money, as long as we know how to market ourselves. I've subscribed to your site, and will follow your progress. I wish you all the luck in the world.

Kyddryn said...

Thanks, Writer Dad - I have a great deal of respect for your blog writing, and am rather surprised you're on the tail end of an eight-week wait - I would have thought an agent would jump at the chance.

Considering the quality on your blog, I shouldn't think it'd take too long for you to find representation and publication.

Luck to you, too!