Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Decision time...

I need an agent...

Let's be real, magic only happens within the pages of a book or on screen. There will be no magic in my attempts at getting published.

Chance, fortune and persistence are part of this endeavor. But I want to stack the damn deck in my favor.

So do I approach a lesser known agent who is eager for new material or do I try to worm my way into the august presence of a confirmed winner with clients who top the bestsellers lists?

The problem is you really only get one shot per agency with a specific manuscript.

Let's look at The Writers House: I found two different agents, one senior and one junior, who make sense for me to approach.

The senior agent in question handled Stephanie Meyer's book deal for the "Twilight" series. If you're not a teenage girl who loves reading about romances with vampires, you never heard of it. Meyer found commercial success with her debut novel, landing at No. 5 on the bestsellers list for young adult fiction. The first movie adaptation is due for release in December of this year.

Meyer had no other writing credentials I am aware of before the first book went to press.

Meyer is six months younger than me.

This single line from her Web site turned the screws of envy even deeper into my spine: "And that's how, in the course of six months, Twilight was dreamed, written, and accepted for publication."

Her agent is very experienced in the market whose other clients include BRUCE CAMPBELL, you know, Ashe from the "Evil Dead" movies. How cool is that? This agent is a rock star in my eyes.

But off course this agent is very, very busy. Counting money. On an island in Fiji. I exaggerate of course but you see where I am going.

Then there is a fresher face at the agency who sounds eager with her own respectable stable of clients under her belt. A junior agent may be more inclined to at least look at my work. And regardless of the individual clout of the agents, The Writers House has a great reputation.

Each agent handles submissions differently: The senior agent wants a query and the first 10 pages via snail mail. Response time: up to eight weeks

The junior agent wants a query and just the first page via email. Response time: up to three weeks.

So do I launch a "Hail Mary" pass at the senior agent in the end zone or do I go for the running play with the junior agent and hope to gain a little bit of yardage and maybe break through to daylight?

Either way, I can fumble the play and get nowhere. They both might think I stink.


mesanchez79 said...

Tough call. So same Publishing company just different agents. How about a Statue of Liberty play!!?? Send the senior your book under your name and then send the junior your book under my name. Then, if the junior agent picks it up, you can say you used "Mike Sanchez" as your ghost name.

I think it depends how far you want to take this writing career. I say aim high! As they say, if you aim high at least you dont end up with dirt in your hands. If this publishing house is really good and the senior picks you up then great. If not, can't your try another publishing house? ...then maybe aim small? But if all you want to is just get published just for the hell of it, aim for the junior agent.

I also think its weird the junior agent only wants one page tho - isn't she suppose to have more time? It seems to me the Jr and Sr even out really. 10 pages/8 weeks vs 1 page/3 weeks. I think that also puts a lot more pressure on you to make that first page really really good. I've read a book or two and the first page really doesn't give me a feel for the book. Thinking about it even more now, I'd definitely go with the senior agent. You've read more books some maybe you have a different feel and maybe your first is really good, I dunno, but the odds to me would favor the senior agent.

And I'll finish on this note since you threw in some football terminology: Back in 1995 I went to a Jets game. They were playing Buffalo. We were down by 22 points. Somehow we score 2 TDs and with 5 seconds on the clock, Boomer launches a 55-yard hail mary into the end zone, the ball gets tipped, clock runs out, and somehow, somehow the ball lands in the hands of our running back, Adrian Murrell, TD!!! We failed the 2-pt conversion to tie the game, but hey, the one time I wanted a hail mary to be completed and it was!

...Maybe your due...

Let me know what happens.

acereporter73 said...

Hmmmm I think playing a switcheroo between the agents will get me blacklisted immediately, but neat idea!

Just to clarify, the agents are the middlemen before you even get to the publisher. They are the ones who will make introductions and negotiate any deals with publishers but they are not part of any publishing house.

So landing a good agent will improve one's chances of signing a good book deal.

It does seem very strange that the junior agent only looks at the first page... probably means they are very aggressive and have a lot of material to read.

OKAY so I will give it a shot chasing the senior agent... time to warm up my printer...

Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away