No excuses, and i mean NONE

I would really appreciate any advice you can give me...

Last March Agent A read my manuscript as a favor for my sister, who is a friend. She said my characters were delightful, the plot was interesting, yadda yadda yadda, but she declined representation since was too much like one of her clients (previously mentioned in the Snark Files). She gave me the name of Agent B and suggested I submit to him and mention her name.

Real life got in the way and I didn't send off a query to Agent B until July. Since then I have heard nothing. (Maybe I should get a procrastination award as well, since that was five months ago and I haven't done too much to try to get an agent). Anyway, do I send another query to Agent B? ask Agent A for another alternative? put the novel in a trunk?

I think my query letter is the biggest problem, as I have queried other agencies and been rejected every time. I'm sorry I missed the crap-o-meter for that one...but I am working on my synopsis.

You follow up with Agent B.
You write a thank you note to Agent A.
You get a list of agents and you start querying on your own.
You do NOT go back to Agent A for more referrals. If you do, yes, you will be a nitwit.
You do NOT put the novel in a trunk unless you've started another one. That would be quitting, and that's not a good choice.

Referrals are like butter, they have expiration dates. You don't want to dilly dally around if someone says "call Mo at Larry Curly and Joe's Agency". You want to get ON it post haste.

You've gotten a lot of favors here. In fact, you've used up pretty much all the breaks you're gonna get. Now you have to do the work.

And unless "real life" means you, your spouse or parent, or your child was desperately ill, it's not an acceptable excuse. You make time for things that are important to you. If this is important you'll do it. If you're just lollygagging about cause you like the idea of being a writer...well, you can imagine what I think of that.

Get to work.


Kathleen said...

Thanks Miss Snark! You are absolutely right...as I expected. 'Preciate the heads up, but you didn't say anything unexpected. Thank you to Agent A has already been done and follow up to Agent B will go out tomorrow. You're the best.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Just wandering what the appropriate time for follow-up is with an agent...lots of publishers will give you a range of 6 weeks to 6 months depending on whether you query or submit chapters, but how long do you wait before you follow up with an agent if they've asked for chapters, or the whole manuscript, and you haven't established a response time with them in initial correspondence. Last thing I want to do is seem to be badgering the agent...

Kim Smith said...

...You do NOT put the novel in a trunk unless you've started another one. That would be quitting, and that's not a good choice....

Dearest Snark,

Would you kindly give us your view on WHEN one would be permitted to trunk a book? I have done this and now wonder if it was a bad idea. I am sure once I pull it out and see all the terrible faux pas I will not feel this way long, but the question rose in my mind like the fat from cooking chicken in a pot.

Thank you dear, you are wondermoose.

Mad Scientist Matt said...

Why trunk the novel even if you've started another one? If you finish a second book, you have more lures in your tackle box. Unless, of course, you finish the second one and think it's so much better than the first that you should only querry the second one.

Maxwell said...

As far as I can tell, almost every published author has a "learning" novel in the trunk somewhere. It seems like you have to go through the experience of writing one just to learn how to write one! If that's the price you have to pay though, it seems affordable to me.

Dhewco said...

My first completed novel was a YA fantasy. I wrote it before I'd learned to reduce wordiness, and before I'd become familiar with concepts like not beginning each sentence with the same pronoun...She did it. She said that. She...well, you get the picture.

So, consequently, it's the best work. However, I love the storyline and plot. I'm working to rewrite it stronger, because I feel it still has promise.


Sandra Ruttan said...

My first novel was also a young person's fantasy, and I'm hoping no copies of it exist anywhere! I never even tried to market it!

But getting one book under your belt is a big accomplishment. You learn so much about how to plot, pace, construct...best lesson in the world is to learn how to edit your own work too. I was one of those rotten journo types that thought all my copy was perfect first draft. My manuscript has people in it that are vital in the @!*draft that didn't even exist in the first draft. Which makes me glad I didn't try marketing that one right off either.

Sometimes, I wonder how you ever know when you're really ready to market. I feel like I've been blundering my way along.

Dhewco said...

um, that's supposed to read...consequently, it's NOT the best work.

Sorry about my slip up.