An Invitation to the Big Dance (also known as Querying Lit Agents).
A few published writers forewarned me that the querying — Is that a word? It is now — of literary agents for representation is the worst part of writing. And you know what? They’re right.
In some respects, it’s similar to what actors go through when they’re looking for a talent agent. You get some headshots, cobble together a resumé, write a cover letter, and you’re off and running. If talent agents are interested, they call you in for an interview. If not . . . well, you just keep sending those packets out till someone calls and invites you in for an interview.
I won’t bore you with the details of exactly how many query letters I’ve sent out, but it’s been encouraging. A few nibbles here and there. But I’m still waiting to get the call.
I worked for years as an art director and let me tell you, I’ve got a keen sense of design. Everybody rambles on about how your query letter has to be immaculate. I can understand that, but it curls my toes back how many lit agents have poorly designed websites.
If a typo says a lot about a writer, a poor web presence tells me a lot about an agency.
One agency’s splash page had the nerve to use the phrase “state of the art” in reference to their website. I’m sure HTML Neanderthal coded the thing as a science project three years before the internet went public.
So much for being on the cutting edge of design. I can only imagine their take on the 21st century shift in publishing.
— exhaling —
But there’s a couple of agencies out there that have impeccable websites riddled with thought, centered on a concept, and the covers of their published books make me drool because —
- the design is banging
- people are buying those books
- the authors are getting paid.
Now that’s cutting edge.
One agency out there is in receipt of my manuscript, a freakin’ hot website, and killer book covers. And I’m waiting. Patiently.
I’m not waiting patiently.
You know it and I know it.
Last night I chatted with a friend on Twitter, a published writer in New Zealand with several published books under his belt, and I was rattling on about being Donald Duck at Walt Disney World, working at Imagineering, having done a film and some TV, the whole Radio City Christmas Spectacular thing, blah, blah, blah. And he went on about how I should cull pictures to show agents, kinda like proof that I’m not making this stuff up.
Brilliant idea! I’ve got all sorts of pictures from back in the day to yesterday. I’ll make a nice little digital presentation for them to pursue after we talk. They’ll love it. I’ll love it. And you’ll love it when you hear me talk about this very post on my book tour.
I think my uniqueness, and that of my story, is the thing this country hasn’t seen the likes of before. It’s a no-brainer to me. It’s probably a risk for a typical self-professed state of the art agency. But for an agency that’s freakin’ smart enough to see I’m a goldmine with a substantive story to boot, it’s a game changer.
Getting back to that one agency . . .
I so want to change the rules and write the contact at that agency and say/write, “Look, I like you guys. You have style, you’re savvy, and you seem like you’re smart enough to understand the humor, wit, charm, and message in my manuscript. Let’s just cut to the chase: I pick you.”
But no-o-o, protocol dictates that I must wait to be invited to the big dance. After all, who wants a desperate date? Who wants what they can easily get?
Yeah, yeah . . . I know how it works. I went to prom. Twice.
Are you listening Agency X?
Well, I’m not that the garden variety wallflower kind of date. I’m the kind of date your parents adore because I’m smart, funny, responsible, dress well, and a perceived safe date. But at the same time, I never promise to be a good date.
I don’t make promises.
What I do is deliver.
I’m the date that’ll deliver the time of your life — which is something totally different that putting out, capisce? — and at no time will anyone wake up in a tub of cold water missing a kidney. No car chases. And no cops.
So get off your butt, get your head out of the slush pile, and stop wondering how the heck you’re going to find a platform to sell my book or if you’re going to be able to sell the concept to a publisher. Call me up and we’ll talk about it.
I am the platform.
In the meantime, I’m going to go hit these ribs and slather on some homemade chimichurri sauce.