Old, old...and really old

Dear M.S.

In polishing my query for a new agent, I'm wondering if too many previous publications can ever be considered a negative, especially if some of these books were published before the advent of Ipods, cell phones, personal computers, cable television, electric typewriters, fast food, soft cover originals, the bicycle, magic, and fire?

Good question.
I don't think there is a yes or no answer.

I've read novels from guys who first published in the 60's, outlived their agents, and were on the scout for new representation. They had long lists of pub credits. Trouble was, they were still writing like it was the 60's so it was hard to think of where I could sell it. The writing was good..it just wasn't something I thought I could sell in 2006. If the writing had not reeked of mothballs I certainly would have considered taking it on.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if these authors were trying to update their stuff to the 21st century, or just counted on their previous credits to get the MSs out there?

This is scary for me as a writer. Since I write romance, and I'm not exactly (ahem) in my 20s and 30s anymore, I catch myself writing what I knew during those years. Not what the 20-30 set are thinking/feeling/doing NOW. If I catch it, I change it, but how much is sneaking through that I'm too old to catch?

Old and getting older by the minute,

none said...

I write like it's still the C19th, so my writing has, yanno, retro charm.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

kim reid said...

Here's a good argument for reading the contemporary market in your genre if you want to write for publication, no matter your credentials or genre.
Or an example of why this kind of argument doesn't work:
Blogging agent: I don't think X will sell; I tend to reject those type stories.
Outraged writer: I guess you would reject Author X (who debuted in 1985) with that thinking!

Kitty said...

Jaaaaay-zus, I can't wait to experience that problem!