Monday, November 29, 2010

Progress Report: 11/29/2010

Champagne! I have an agent.

I spoke with Ms. Devra Jacobs of Dancing Word Group this weekend, and it looks like she's a go to represent Rose & Jade. She's breaking into the Young Adult market, and she's very enthusiastic about the book and its potential. Not so hot on the title, so we'll be coming up with something else that telegraphs the content a little more clearly. Y'know, something to do with dragons.

I'm very psyched, folks.

Oh, so in terms of contacting an agent who's been holding onto your manuscript, I think it's worth it. The other agent that was in the running was taking quite a while to get back to me, though she eventually did. And she decided not to take the book on, which made my own decision much easier.

The thing is, it seems that agents will gnaw on a book for a long time if they're interested, and will send it out to other people in their inner circle to read and evaluate. This is why it takes so long. My experience is that they don't provide a stream of updates about this, so if the waiting is driving you mad (as it was for me), then you're probably best off dropping your potential agent a polite email to ask for an update. Might take a while to get a response to that, too.

Patience. This business requires patience.

Next up for me: book proposal. And, I'm told, creating a website for your book with an ambiguous "coming soon" is not a bad notion, if you can find a website designer and illustrator to help you out. Fortunately, I have both those skills myself, so there's a head start. Time to get to work!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Progress Report: 11/8/2010

The plot is thickening up on the agent front.

This week's news has a different agent asking to represent my novel. Which is... yay! With complications.

The first thing is, I did agree to inform the first agent if there was any other offer on the book, and to give her the a chance to say whether she's interested or not. So I'm waiting to hear back from the first (potential) agent, and I'm not sure how long that takes. I have horrifying visions of my emails somehow being netted in a spam filter, but I'm going to take it on faith that that's paranoia in action.

The second thing is that the new agent doesn't normally represent Young Adult books, which is somewhat of a concern. The first (potential) agent does. So... yeah. You can see how this is qualified good news. Still, I think it is important to remember that it is very good news indeed!

Champagne still pending.

So on other fronts, yesterday we went and saw Hereafter. First off, Clint Eastwood is a treasure, no amount of appreciation can do him justice. I felt the film spoke profoundly to my own life. It's not because I relate personally to the near-death experience--I haven't had one. Much of the film's focus is not about the experience itself, but how people relate to you when you've start talking about something that they aren't willing to accept. Your life has changed course, and all of a sudden you find yourself out on "the fringe." The people who you once respected and identified with now look at you as "woo-woo" and irrational, if not actually insane.

As someone who works at Sounds True, and as someone who was once, philosophically, a materialist atheist, this story speaks to me very strongly. It is something I want to capture in Sharon's story, since it is the journey that she undergoes when she is blindsided by something miraculous, and it forces her to change her point of view.

In my life, I haven't experienced anything that is obviously miraculous. I'm in the more difficult position of having to decide who to believe when they tell their stories of things that don't fit into the reductionist universe. Oh, to be sure, I've gotten little tastes myself. Yet if I wanted to go back to materialist thinking, I could (unlike Sharon, whose miraculous healing and ongoing immersion into the world of magic give her pretty much no choice but to swallow that she's going to have to change her worldview).

It is a subject that occupies much of my thinking, and I thought Eastwood's handling of the material was superb. If I get the chance, I'll write more about this.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Progress Report: 11/1/2010

One of the things that I hope this blog will be useful for is to help other writers gain helpful insights for their own careers. Right now, we have the issue of Etiquette with Agents. Specifically, how long does it take for an agent to review your manuscript before getting back to you, and should you contact them before they contact you?

For me, it has been almost two months. For me, personally, being in this kind of limbo is a particular sort of agony that wears away at my nerves. I've now frayed to the point that I am going to take the leap of etiquette and buzz my prospective agent to see how things are going. I shall let you know what results this produces, good or bad.

Meanwhile... tap, tap, tap.