It’s September, and us long-suffering Southern ladies must wait weeks for the sweater weather that much of the country is already enjoying.
I’m whiling away the last of the year’s swelter-weather (yes, I just coined that: swelter-weather. You’re welcome.) by querying agents and publishers about my novel, Haints, featuring Appalachian magical realism. For those of you out there who are contemplating this step off the ledge, or who are in the thick of submissions, like me, I thought I’d share one or two frustrations and some inspiring links.
- Magazines like “Writer’s Digest,” who are billed as industry leaders in all things publishing, writing and … well, publishing, give advice like this: Don’t give away the story ending in your queries! Keep ’em guessing. Sounds cheeky and intriguing, right? Except that every agent profile I visit says they hate when authors don’t disclose the endings. So …
- I try to follow each agent or publisher’s distinct query guidelines. Except that sometimes the guidelines vary from the interview they gave in “Writer’s Digest” or “Poets and Writers,” vs. their personal website, vs. their profile on the agency’s website … what’s a writer to do? Follow the distinct three-paragraph format, or ramble a bit longer because that’s what the “ideal query letter” the agent posted does … ? Argh. Argh again. Argh thrice.
Somewhat helpful links:
- I often read what Neil Gaiman has to say, because … Neil Gaiman. He gives the advice that getting published first is better than trying to find an agent as a newbie. Makes sense, except (always that word, “except!”) some publishers only accept agented work. Sigh. Regardless, this article is an interesting read.
- Literary agent and author Eric Smith, of P.S. Literary, has a very friendly blog with accessible advice on query letters. It’s a little mood-booster for those rough days of throwing your work into the abyss of the internet, hoping for a spark of interest.
Now, on to more submissions! Wish me luck! How about you? What were your experiences in submitting to agents and publishers? Drop me a line to let me know.