So far I've submitted to six agencies...
1 request for a full
1 request for first 50 pages (from a major agency; a lovely rep who is also into beat literature- and if you know me, you know how much Kerouac et al meant to me when I was a whack-o teen)
1 form letter rejection (this means indifference- ow)
3 still pending.
Everyone's website warns that they take anywhere from 30 days to 45 days to pretty much indefinitely to get back to you. As I've written about here, I've applied to residencies and whatnot before. Hearing back so quickly is incredibly encouraging, and a new experience for me. Even if these agents decide my novel isn't the right project for them, clearly the first section of it (which they were initially sent) is a grabber, so hell yea!
I expect this will go on for another six months. You guys are going to get so tired of me always trying to find the pattern, but I can't help it! It's my brain!
Here's what I've learned so far:
Come prepared with a fully completed manuscript. Have a baller synopsis and query letter, ideally with a few notches in your belt, too. Research like crazy to find literary agents who are interested in your genre. Research the agents, try to find those you get a good gut feeling about- and personalize your query.
If anyone does decide to represent me, 3-6 months down the line, here's what I imagine would happen next. They come back with a bunch of suggested edits. I do a rewrite. And then, happy day! we go off to book auction. Actually I don't understand that part yet. But there's plenty a slip between the cup and the lip. I'm not even going to think about that yet.
(I just can't wait to get back to writing; I already have an outline for my next novel, The Savages. I just want to hole up and work and not deal with anything else, ever. Frankly.)
Meanwhile. Celebratory glass of wine and-
wonderful story in this month's New Yorker by Karen Russell. Here's some of my favorite quotes from it:
"And the Mojave was a good place to launch into exile together; already they felt their past lives in Pennsylvania dissolving into rumor, sucked up by the hot sun of California and the perfectly blue solvent of the day."
"Sand, sand, sand- all that pulverized time. Aeons ago the world’s burst hourglass spilled its contents here; now the years pile and spin, waiting with inhuman patience to be swept into some future ocean. Sand washes right up to the paved road, washes over to the other side in a solid orange current, illuminated by their headlights."
"In terms of an ecology that can support two lovers in hot pursuit of each other, this is the place: everywhere you look you’ll find monuments to fevered longing. Craters beg for rain all year long. Moths haunt the succulents, winging sticky pollen from flower to flower."
"That night she basks int he glow of the TV as if it were the sun. Yellow is such a relief."
"Calmly, he becomes aware that the girl he loves has exited the room. Usually when this sensation comes over him, it means she’s fallen asleep."
"The crumbly truth: the boy imagined he’d be the one to betray the girl."
"A weather seizes them and blows them around- a weather you can order for a quarter, the jukebox song."
Damn, she's good. I love The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis. Haven't yet read Swamplandia, although I have it on good authority from my bestie that it is wonderful. Childhood transmogrified into pages. Although she and I had a really oddball & lovely childhood, so maybe our idea of it is not normal.
P.Z. West's first novel, EVENING’S LAND, is a Library Journal Self-e Selection, winner of the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation Award and recipient of the Carol Marie Smith Memorial Scholarship for the NOEPE Center of Literary Arts.
Pauline West's books on Goodreads
Candlemoth: A Holy City Romance
ratings: 27 (avg rating 4.04)
ratings: 24 (avg rating 3.46)
Candlemoth Volume 2: How To Spend It
ratings: 10 (avg rating 4.40)
Candlemoth Book 3: A Twist of Fate
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.17)
Stalker: A Gothic Thriller
ratings: 4 (avg rating 4.25)