Friday, November 2, 2012

Progress, Then Off to Bed

An update for those who (astoundingly!) claim to find this sort of thing interesting (hi, Cute Shoes!) ... querying still going well.  After nothing but eliminations last night, found a good one tonight, and got that off a little while ago.  One query in a night may not be much - perhaps other authors do more at a time - but I start with a pretty large list as a rule, research carefully, and eliminate based on a fairly well-educated-at-this-point set of criteria.

I don't query in hard copy.  This made me feel guilty for a bit - what if I am missing out? - but in this day and age, it's the rarer agency who won't accept electronic than who will, and I look at this as a business consideration.  If even a Luddite such as myself finds email etc. a convenience, the refusal of the practical advance using it represents (not to mention the affront to trees; what a wasteful practice, even with recycling) and the excesses of time it requires are, valid or not, a deal-breaker for me.  We're coming to a time when refusal to go electronic almost looks like pointless posturing - whether to intimidate or just look snobbishly elite - and I don't need that noise.  (Yes, it has occurred to me that sticking with hard copy reduces the slush pile flow.  But I have to draw my personal lines somewhere.  Your lines may vary!)

If an agent's idea of historical fiction is undefined, and their website is predominantly pink and precious, I won't query.  It's my guess you're looking for romance-in-a-corset, and that's great stuff, but I'm writing ahead of the (European) invention of that bodice-heaving accessory, and my work is passionate, not romantic.  It also involves an awful lot of blood and blades ...

... but, muscular as my work may be, I'm also not quite Bernard Cornwell, Conn Iggulden, nor even (and I love this guy!) Ben Kane.  If I think the cover designs for your histfic would work as well for genre video games, I might not query there either.  Or I will be pretty careful about it.

I'm even getting so I want to eliminate agents who don't clearly state their taste profile on their website, or at Agent Query, QueryTracker, or another such clearinghouse listing site.  Yes:  the need to research agents and read interviews is understood; but, if I have to open three or more pages to get to the meat of the matter, you're fatiguing me unnecessarily.  It's almost as wasteful of my time as snail-mail querying.  And wears authors out.  Have a page on your agency website with a blurb for each agent, and IN THAT BLURB please tell me what you want to see - genre, taste preference, authors on your list - I don't care which way you do it, but give me some sort of an indication.  With everything we have to do to appeal to you guys, coyness is just a cruel return on our quest to attract literary (publishing industry) attention.

So only one query out tonight.  For me, given the grumpy exclusions above - that's not a bad night at all.

It doesn't stop me querying extensively.  I just don't blanket-spam every member of the AAR without any consideration.

1 comment:

JSF aka Cute Shoes said...

Of course I find this interesting! The hard work and what you have to go through as a writer impresses the heck out of me! I'm here cheering you on from the sideline even if I am a Harry Potter/Twilight/Adult Paranormal fan.