clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Saturday, February 8, 2014

It's Not You, It's Me

Sub-Title: That Bitch Crazy.

Autophoto supplies the image at left. 1970 Camaro. If you didn't have one, you knew someone who did.

Alternately, you were born in the wrong decade.

You grew up on 8-bit Nintendo. We didn't even have Mario let alone Super Mario. We had Frogger, Tempest, Joust, Pac Man and Ms. Pac Man. Ate quarters like - well - a parking meter, come to think of it. I might have gotten more time in Pac Man than you get for a quarter in South Bend. Ok, it sucks to be you, still.

Now, on the subject: agents.

You know that hot girl who sat in your Camaro for the last time and said "it's not you, it's me" ? Well, that crazy bitch in a split level in Tulsa was right. It fucking was her. You dodged one there.

I had the occasion to relate the little vignette above to a friend today. Rejection blues. Let's review how the business works.

  1. Agent has to like it (i.e. judge it as 'sellable').
  2. Agent has to have room for it in their portfolio (i.e. judge it as 'sellable').
  3. Agent has to have not signed two other guys in the past six months in the same state as you - debut novelist in genre X (i.e. judge it as 'sellable').
  4. Agent has to believe it will earn out book one and make selling book 2 probable (i.e. judge book 2 as 'sellable').
See the pattern?

It's business. It's dating. Is there only "the one" out there for us? Hell no. However, there is a finite set of possible matches and finding one of those can be difficult. Kiss a lot of frogs, both for the agent and for you.

It is not a reflection on talent, effort or product. It can be; but, it doesn't have to be. Put out good product. Write a fine query letter. Solicit widely. Get a pile of rejection notices. Surprise.

What can you do? Write another book. Continue to solicit. Make sure you didn't commit nitwitery (queue Miss Snark - or just read her archives: all of them!).

Apart from being spiritual adviser to the unrepresented, I met a writer friend today and had a great conversation.

It's always good to talk to another writer. You learn a great deal. My friend has tremendous characters. He's careful with them and uses an organic process to evolve conflict and plot.

It's going to pay off in a huge way. His cast of characters - wonderful. We were talking about one in particular and a great title just rolled off his tongue. That's one of the things I love about writers: the turn of a good phrase.

In this case, the bloody thing was so wonderful (in combination with the character we were discussing) that I wish I had said it. Really, quite a lovely premise, title, and character all rolled in a ball. First class.

I'm trying to get him to write more but there it is. We'd all like to write more even when we have all the time in the world for writing. Support ain't just a river in Egypt - or whatever. Sometimes phrases turn like shit, too.

Finished a tough scene this morning. Saw a bookseller I love. Met with a writer friend. Pretty damn good literary life day.

Oh, I got to use my bit about the hot chick in the Camaro, too. Not bad for a guy who drove a 1-ton GMC flatbed from the dairy whose cows he was milking. Never had the Camaro at that age.

Chicks dig 1-ton GMC flatbeds that smell not-so-vaguely of dairy barn. Oh yea. Hotness on dualies.

Ok. Not so much. I can't stand "the hot chicks." Inevitably, they open their mouth and talk. Doesn't go well for me after that at all. I'm allergic to crazy.

It's why I write.

(Stop Laughing Now).

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