I'm just venting. This blog has no point, except to get out of my mind, the latest adventure in what I'm calling, My AgentQuest.

Hmmm. I'm not sure what to make of my situation. I have done several rounds of edits and revisions to my manuscript, CHILD SUPPORT. I have queried agents and after only one partial and one full read, everyone has passed, mostly on the personalized letter alone.

Coming from a newspaper background, I have several people who read me. So, I reached out to one and asked her to read my book. I was quite nervous as she was the first person beyond these faceless agents to do so. My own mother wouldn't read it but that's not unusual, as my mother never reads me. She's busy not reading anything, so I don't hold it against her.

Aside from some grammatical missteps, which I know I'm prone to make, my reader's reaction was glorious. When she got to Chapter 7 she couldn't stop until Chapter 21, the midpoint. (She says it was only because she was exhausted and couldn't sit at the computer any longer.) The next time she went to read it, she read all the way to the end, Chapter 52.

Unlike the agents, she thought it was wonderful and the scenes and plot paid off. Like the agents, she loved the fast pace and the character development. She loved the entire book when the agents didn't.

A friend, who's a published author, told me not to change the manuscript based on the reaction of a passing agent. He said finding an agent is like finding a lover, it takes time and patience. Besides, when I find that elusive agent who loves my book as much as we do, THAT person will give me helpful editing notes that I should adhere to. Until then, I could be changing it all for naught. For now, I must plug along believing in what I have written.

In the short-term, I am grateful to my reader for reassuring me that it is, at least, possible to find one other person who loves my story as much as I do. Think I could convince her to agent it? I wish it was that easy.

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Comment by Ailene Yasmin on March 26, 2008 at 2:31am
I have revamped my query letter after reading several blogs including Rachel Vater's, Nathan B. (Curtis Brown) and BookEnds. That's when I got the initial requests for the two reads I have had.

Um, are you offering? I wouldn't mind. Before journalism, I led a secreted life in corporate America. When I write letters, the old business me comes out. They want so much in very little and I was at a complete loss on where to start, so those blogs really helped.

Let me know, if I should post it. I could do it in another blog, etc. ;) Thanks.
Comment by Grant McKenzie on March 26, 2008 at 1:49am
You're doing just fine - keep at it.
Comment by Ailene Yasmin on March 26, 2008 at 1:45am
Gotcha, that is a noteworthy distinction.

And yeah, how do they expect someone shopping an ms to be able to afford a several hundred dollar conference? And that's just in registration, then there's lodging, travel and food. *smh* I'm sure they can be helpful to those who can afford it but I am of the school that there is always more than one way to skin a cat! LOL.

I will keep on truckin'. Thanks, you've been quite helpful.

Now, am I supposed to leave reply here or on your page? Not sure how this is supposed to work. LOL.
Comment by Grant McKenzie on March 26, 2008 at 1:38am
I've never attended any of the conferences as, like you, I could never afford it, but you can usually see what agents have signed up for the conferences from the conference website, and then contact them with a query by email. And when I was actively looking for an agent, I never had one turn me down because they had just sold a similar book. Publishers are different, if they have just launched a mystery from a reporter's point of view, they may not want another mystery starring a reporter.
Comment by Ailene Yasmin on March 26, 2008 at 1:38am
As to Mr. Getze's comment: The total story and what I didn't write was during the preceding chapters she kept emailing me saying she couldn't believe this or that. In her first read, she read from the prologue to chapter 7 straight away. In all, she read the entire manuscript, on a computer in three sessions: prologue to 7, 7-21 and then the rest. The little feedback I did receive from the one agent who did a full read mentioned the pacing worked for her.

Initially, I did make a mistake and took too long getting to the story. A mistake all new writers make, I understand. Now that I have reworked it, I am satisified it gets the reader to the crux in a hurry.

The jury is still out for me with these conventions, until I hear enough people say they got what they paid for.

What have you gotten out of these conventions/conferences?

Thanks for the tips.
Comment by Ailene Yasmin on March 26, 2008 at 1:20am
Thanks. Yes, I am a subscriber to the Lunch. LOL. I'm never quite sure though if they have just sold something similar, would it then be overkill to pitch my story to them? Could they find room for it, or would they say, "I just sold something like that. Bad timing." etc...

As I live in Prague and am barely scraping by, funding conventions on the hopes of meeting an agent doesn't sit well with me. As a journalist, we were urged to go to conventions when looking for jobs etc. I paid lots of money in travel, lodging and nice clothes doing just that. I was schmoozed by more than one drunk editor who when they returned to the office forgot 1,000 percent of all the guarantees and promises they made me. In the end, I never got a job through a conference. It's kind of the same feeling I have about these publishing conventions.

What's your experience been?

Thanks so much for commenting. =)
Comment by Jack Getze on March 26, 2008 at 1:17am
"When she got to Chapter 7 she couldn't stop until Chapter 21, the midpoint."

With the majority of agents I've talked to, or heard speak, a writer's very lucky if an agent finishes Chapter One. Many give a manuscript one paragraph to interest them. They look at hundreds a week.

If you haven't already, try going to writer's conferences and meeting an agent or two.
Comment by Grant McKenzie on March 26, 2008 at 1:07am
It's a crazy, crazy, crazy business, Ailene. You just have to keep plugging away. One of the things I did when I was searching for an agent was watch the announcements on Publisher's Lunch to see when an agent sold a book in a similar genre and then approach her with how my book may be a good fit for her agency, etc. You may also find it easier to land a newer agent who is actively looking, such as the ones who will be attending author events like BoucherCon, etc. If they're doing agent/writer panels then they're in the market for new writers.

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