Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Two Months In...

Tomorrow will mark the beginning of the third month of The Quest. (The word "quest" always reminds me of the movie Quest for Fire, summed up neatly by comedian David Steinberg as, "Caveman goes off in search of fire and discovers fellatio.") Anyhoo, some reflections.

There are innumerable frustrations and disappointments in The Quest -- the waiting, the self-doubt, the rejections, the not-knowing if your query's been dissed by an assistant or an actual agent. The only part of it I actually hate is the non-response: bad as a rejection might be, it's preferable to an e-query sitting out in cyberspace like a big matzoh ball, completely unremarked-upon. I still say there's no excuse for this, as I did in this post.

From all the reading I've done on the internets, it's clear agents have their different styles. Some allow queries to build up like an enormous mound of autumn leaves, then every so often plunge in and purge the pile. Others never take more than a day or two to respond. Others just close themselves to queries periodically and work all the way through their backlog. Hard to say which style, if any, is superior. One does wonder if the slowpoke agents don't miss the occasional blockbuster or literary gem -- you snooze, you lose, right?

For me the angst of the search is compounded by the fact that I quit my very well paid day job with the Very Important Organization to devote myself to house-husbanding and writing while the spousal unit decided to embark on a real-estate career just in time for the biggest crash in real estate since the Great Depression (thank you, Wall Street). For a lot of complicated reasons having to do with my VIO pension, it almost doesn't pay for me to go back to work, especially if it's part-time (two school-age kids at home). So. It's just one more aggravation to add to the mix.

Still, there's nothing for it but to plod on, yes? We know it's partly a numbers game -- finding the agent who handles your kind of fiction, likes your "voice," isn't too busy with other projects, didn't just sign someone whose work is remarkably similar to yours, didn't get to your query at one a.m. after slogging through 300 others... So, onward, ploddingly, we go.


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