Back in the thick of marketing as I’ve finished the literary agent research this week for another batch of queries. I truly wish that there were more agents interested in representing hybrid fiction and specified it in their likes and dislikes. This time I decided to try agents who love science fiction as well as other genres.
Yesterday I mailed the snail mail queries. I prefer to query an agent by snail mail actually. It takes a lot more effort which demands more effort in consideration and response from the agent. I e-mailed the e-mail queries this morning. Almost immediately I received an “out of office” notice from one of the agents — she would be out of her office all next week. Fine. No rush. About 25 minutes later, I received another e-mail response from the same literary agency, this time from an assistant who had sent me a form rejection. Only 25 minutes later?!!! I’m usually cool about rejections because of long experience but this one angered me. There’s no way anyone can convince me that my query had been thoughtfully read and considered. By an assistant and not the agent. I thought briefly of resubmitting to the agent in a couple weeks, but then I thought, hell no. I probably wouldn’t want to be at that agency if that’s the way they work and respond to writers….. I know that often assistants will be the first eyes to read a query, but usually the agent also has some input, either through discussion or actually seeing the query him/herself. Or the agent has given the assistant a long list of specific things to look for in a query, and also the deal-breakers. At any rate, I wan’t terribly pleased to hear back so fast from an agent this morning.
So, now the waiting begins….
Next week, I plan to follow up again with the agent who requested the manuscript of Perceval. He’s had it now for about 9 months. I hope to scare up some kind of response this time, even if it’s a “sorry, we haven’t had a chance to read it yet” response. The silence is deafening from him. I continue to reassure myself that he liked the sample chapters well enough to ask for the complete manuscript….
Another marketing note: next week I plan to find a market for the excerpt from Perceval and submit it. I need to get that out of the house.
For people who wonder about how booksellers choose the books they sell in their stores, I found an excellent blog post about it here: http://antickmusings.blogspot.com/2008/10/on-being-skipped.html. All writers need to know this information, and especially the details about printings and sales. Bookselling is a tough business.
And what business isn’t tough right now? As other businesses are assessing their balance sheets, so is publishing in all areas — publishers, booksellers, agents, packagers, printers, distributors. For the last five years or so it’s been tough for a fiction writer to get published. I don’t even want to think how much the current economic landscape has spooked people in the industry. Books endure.