The past few months have been hectic, hence my absence from the bloggers’ sphere. I’ve only just managed to catch up on all the wonderful posts from blogs I follow and can tell you it was a mammoth task! I’ve still to get back to finishing my next short story, though I am grateful to have a majority of it written. Just a few more scenes to write then the task of editing.
What I find rather frightening is how quickly this year has gone. I remember thinking back in January about the plans I had for the year and though I have achieved quite a few of my goals, there a many that may not even get off the runway. I am way behind querying agents; managed to get a few letters submitted yet feel the year is slipping away. A bit like the sand in the hour-glass (I remember the old soapy ‘Days of our Lives’ from when mum occasionally watched it. I can still hear the voice over!)
Still, chasing my tail is not a bad thing, it is a good reminder of what I need to do and somehow find the time to do them. And if I don’t then there’s always tomorrow.
The book I am currently reading, which relates to the period of time I am interested in, but within the first twenty pages I came across ‘head-hopping’. For those who don’t know what this means, it is when the writer jumps from one character’s point of view to another in the same scene or in the same paragraph. This author has four published books and the publishing house is one of the more notable ones. So my question is: how does this get passed through the editorial stage?
‘The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed–it is a process of elimination.’ Elbert Hubbard
Bit by bit, day by day
I chip away.
There, I can almost see it.
The fruits of my labour.
One day to be shared around the world.
For all the agents out there trawling blogs and e-books looking for your next big client, take heed for I am coming your way. I have two completed manuscripts with a third still in progress that form part of a trilogy. If you are a Historical Fantasy fan with a penchant for Greek mythology then look no further.
I have read hundreds of books and some stand out more than others, while there are those that slip down the wayside. Why? I probably could re-iterate an English lesson here but what it really comes down to is one major factor: do you like what you’ve read? This business of writing is so subjective that even if you have a great story, it doesn’t mean the agent or publisher will like it. You are at the mercy of whether the story strikes a chord with them.
I just read David Gaughran’s post on why he self-published an e-book rather than go down the track of agents and traditional publishing. He has certainly made me re-consider my options, especially spelling out the pros of such a venture. Granted, it will not be a bed of roses but it has helped me think more positively about going down that path.
Those who have been following my blog know I am currently researching suitable literary agents to send query letters. It has been time-consuming and though submissions outlines are similar, there is a varying degree of differences. Who just wants a letter, some a letter and a synopsis, others want letter, synopsis and the first 3 chapters and even that varies. Some agencies want 5 pages, 10 pages and so on. Then there are agencies who want a biography, where does your book fit on the market. And it goes on. Oh, and whether they accept email submissions or prefer snail mail. Plus those who only accept queries from referrals!
One of the difficult things I need to address when researching appropriate agents is to identify the genre of my story. It’s historical based on mythology. Is it just Fantasy or is it better labelled as Historical Fantasy? It all comes down to commercial appeal. Will it sell under the broader classification of Fantasy or should it be streamlined? Its hard to know which way to go. I’d be happier to put under the Historical Fantasy genre but it does have mass appeal and can be regarded as popular fiction.
I had one agency regard it as ‘supernatural’. To this day it still mystifies me. I always regarded mythology more as fantasy rather than supernatural. I did ask a few friends what they thought and had mixed responses. So what is the difference between the two? There is no easy way to define either one, even literary experts have difficulty in explaining them. Each have so many elements they cross over including the genre of Science Fiction. I have defined them for my own purposes and by no means this is the only way. Simply supernatural stories contains paranormal elements, whereas fantasy stories uses magic as the main impetus.
Where does this leave me? For the purposes of enquiring literary agents I will classify it as Historical Fantasy.
I was researching Literary Agents on the web when I came across a site titled ‘The Rejection Slip Blues’. As I was reading, the experiences this writer cleverly and wittily propounded, sounded awfully familiar. I too, have received replies: ‘my list is too full’, or ‘this sounds very interesting but it is not for me’ and so on. I have to admit after having read the two pages, not only did I feel better but in a strange way validated. I wasn’t the only one getting the same responses. Strange to think that way but writing is a solo enterprise, just you and your characters, everything and everyone else is secondary. Sorry, but its true.
Oddly in contrast, the message conveyed in the Writers’ & Artists’ Handbook, is the agent works for you and not the other way around. That’s okay once you have an agent!
Getting an agent just to respond to a query is hard work. Some are great and respond within a month or so, then there are those who don’t at all. These agents state on their website if they don’t respond within a certain amount of time they are not interested. I realise they are busy people but honestly, it only takes two minutes to email a response.
Anyway, I will keep researching appropriate agents for my book. Fingers-crossed.