4.03.2007

overseas deployment when querying

I'm in the editing process of my first novel, it's fantasy genre. I just found out I'm deploying to Afghanistan in November. When I send my manuscript out to agents, in my query letter should I let them know that I will be overseas by the time they reply back to me? I really think that my military background (US ARMY INFANTRY) helps give some of the scenes in my book credibility, but I don't want my chances to suffer because I'll be out of the US for a year. Any insight you could provide would be great.


You think your stint as infantry gives credibility to your fantasy novel?
I'm not sure I want to know why.
No, I'm absolutely sure I don't want to know why.


DO let agents know that you have a day job so to speak that is taking you out of the country and when. You'll be better off querying electronically of course and most agents do take e-queries these days.

You've got a job a lot of people disparage, few people understand and that a lot of political baggage is attached to. You've got my admiration and respect. Come home safe, soldier.

18 comments:

Greta LaGarbeaux said...

Disparage? Disparage?! Who disparages the infantry? I'll fight 'em with one hand tied behind my back. I'll fight standing on one foot. I'll fight 'em with my eyes closed.

Seriously, politics notwithstanding, I'm going to say public admiration for our uniformed services is pretty high in these difficult days.

May you each and every one of you come home safe.

Diantha said...

A simple "I expect to be deployed X months starting on Y date. During this time, the best way to reach me is ..." and provide whatever contact information works best for you. Anybody worth working with will put two and two together and act accordingly.

And in less eloquent words than those used by Miss Snark, thank you for your service and be safe.

D.

Brady Westwater said...

Very nice touch at the end, Miss Snark.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely HOPE no one in the USA, regardless of political bent or whatnot, disparages our troops!

We owe so much to you.

Nicole said...

I know you, Miss Snark, already expressed admiration to the inquirer regarding service. I would like to add to it.

My father flew helicopters in Desert Storm, so I know first hand how hard it is to be at home waiting for news. My father often told me how hard it was to be overseas waiting for mail to come his way. (I can only imagine how it would be waiting for news from an agent/publisher on top of it!)

To echo Miss Snark, come home soon, be safe while you're there, and know we're thinking of you here at Snark Central.

j h woodyatt said...

I really think that my military background (US ARMY INFANTRY) helps give some of the scenes in my book credibility...

This may be true, despite what Miss Snark fears. She doesn't handle the genre, so she's maybe not the best judge on that score. I'd be skeptical, mainly because I don't think there's anything particular about infantry service that improves overall writing skill. If writing is something that comes naturally to you, then your military experience may help make certain important areas of your writing stronger. One of my favorite fantasy/sf writers, sadly no longer writing, was a veteran of the SE Asia wars, and his experience definitely gave his fantasy settings a lot of verisimilitude. Miss Snark may not want to know how that works, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work...

December Quinn said...

Ditto. Thank you, and come back safe.

Bernita said...

Credibility in fantasy?
Certainly.
Thinking David Drake's "Hammer's Slammers/The Tank Lords, etc., or Elizabeth Moon.

Linda Adams said...

When I was deployed during the first Persian Gulf War, I ended up putting everything on hold. I don't know if the military has improved on the system, but the mail then was absolutely terrible. It took two months just for anything to get to me, and frankly, a lot of it got lost. A lot of it never even got delivered. I returned home to find a stack of more mail in the mail room. I personally would not trust the mail system to send out queries or manuscripts. If you don't get a response, you'd never know if the agent got the letter and hasn't responded if the military lost a request for a manuscript.

Email queries would be the best way to go ... but, if it's possible (it wasn't for me), try working on your next book.

--I really think that my military background (US ARMY INFANTRY) helps give some of the scenes in my book credibility--

I got this immediately. I'm doing a thriller with tons of action, and my military experience has been very helpful. I see a lot of action scenes where my first impression is that the writer basically is writing action scenes based on films.

Soldier, come home safely.

Southern Writer said...

I don't like the war, but I admire, respect, and thank those who fight it to preserve my right to say I don't like it. Be careful over there, and come home safely.

bloggingasothertoday said...

I'd put your query on top of the slush pile if I knew you were a soldier overseas. And I wonder how on earth you could find the time to write while defending the country. And I'd marvel. Then I'd read your query. God bless you and keep you safe, soldier. And thank you. I hope we can get all of you home soon.

(PS) Is the commander-in-chief considered "the troops" or is that like considering Paris Hilton an author because there's a book with her name on it?"

dan said...

Hey Miss Snark, I don't know anyone who disparages the troops. I hang with a fairly liberal crowd too. (And the one person I know who's ever been *in* the US army, an ex-ranger, is one of the more liberal people I know.) But I've never heard anything bad or disrespectful about people serving. Ever. Not once.

All of which I say only because your comment didn't jive with my experience, and I hope my experience is the more common one.

But this post and its consequent comments was (were?) educational -- it never occurred to me if I ever tried writing an action scene, I'd be basing it all on movies. Now I'll know to run it by a cop or an army vet or someone who, I guess, has actually shot a gun. :oP

BernardL said...

Thank you for your service. I hope by the time you get home, you're on the best seller list.

Kate Thornton said...

Linda Adams, I echo everything you said - I too was deployed for Desert Storm and my whole life went on hold. Now with email access, though, things should be a bit easier in the commo dept.

Come home safe - and Miss Snark, you've got class.

Army Wife said...

If you don't want to put things on hold while deployed, you might consider asking someone (spouse, family member, good friend) to be your liason for publishing contacts. This would work best if the person is supportive of your writing and understands the biz. It would have the added benefit of giving your loved one something concrete he/she can do for you.

My husband recently returned from Iraq. Mail was fairly unreliable and computer time wasn't always easy to get. The Soldiers I've spoken with who've been to Afghanistan and Iraq both, say communications with the former are even more frustrating. Of course, it all depends on exactly where you're stationed and your duties. If this isn't your first deployment, I'm not telling you anything you don't know.
Best of luck. Hooah!

Anonymous said...

I have an additional question that goes along with this one: If you know your parents will be staying put while you're out of the country (and hard to reach), could you leave the agent your parents' address and phone number and let them direct the agent to you? Or should you just give the agent your email address and hope you'll get it in a timely manner?

Writer on Board said...

Come home safe, soldier. Yes. Absolutely.

Elizabeth said...

I agree that E-mail would probably be the easiest and safest way of anyone getting in contact with you. Having someone at home available to receive things would also be wise.

Thank you, good luck and return safely!