Thursday, February 18, 2010

Happiness Doesn't Depend on Hearing From My Agent

It's only Thursday, but I had to tell you. My agent is accepting no further submissions!

You know I've been trying to reach them (and they're in England, so I can't just drop in). All their incoming emails are going through some kind of auto-reject response, so even I can't get a reply. I can phone, of course, and will, but now I think I'll wait a bit longer because of this latest news. It's been eight months since I signed the contract, but I can wait a bit longer.  Patience should have been my middle name, remember.

The agency's web page speaks of their enthusiasm for new work, how prompt they are if they like your query, but there's now an addendum as of September last year. It hadn't occurred to me to check that until today, smug and confident as I was.
"...It is our policy to read and reply to all emails within 48 hours whenever possible. Of course it will take us longer to read your whole manuscript but in most cases we will give you an answer within 2 to 3 weeks. However, this approach has proved too successful and therefore we regret to say that we are unable to accept any new unsolicited submissions for the foreseeable future. "

Goodness, I squeaked in just before the crunch (June 2009). Perhaps it's my manuscript that's taking up all their time. Could it be that they are so busy trying to sell my work to publishers that all else must fall by the wayside? (And now you're wondering why I'm not writing fantasies, as I'm so good at it.)

I'm going to remain resolute about these guys until I finish Summer Must End later in the year. I certainly don't want to deal with New Agent-chasing while I'm still working on it as I use the opposite side of the brain for querying, and that can't be good for the creative flow.

You'd think I'd be cranky about all of this, but I'm not. This whole frustrating profession is full of strange hiccups and wobblies. I've gathered this from contact with all of you, and from reading writer bios and memoirs. I honestly don't think there's room for irritation in this game. We love to write. That's it. All the other stuff is merely fluff, and you deal with it, or sweep it under the bed. In fact, waiting for a response from the moving company I'm considering is annoying me much more than waiting for my agent to check in.

All in all, I'm a happy person. I believe you grade happiness by how often you feel good, compared with feeling bad. Allowing for Life's usual turmoils and emotional upheavals, I always bounce back. This doesn't mean I don't get angry over things, but that quickly passes. It doesn't mean I'm not cynical over much that happens in this world, but you can be healthily critical and still maintain good humor.

Studying someone (surreptitiously, I thought) as we writers tend to do regularly,  I'm sometimes accused of thinking too much, that I'm too serious. Well, of course that's true,  but I certainly like a good belly laugh; it's a buffer against being overly self-absorbed. I do talk to myself a lot as well, and use sailor-like expletives quite regularly when I'm alone - that's always good for a laugh considering how my cats look at me each time. But I can also enjoy a really good weep (remember Holly Hunter's character in Broadcast News?) and then just move on. Moderation in all things, right?

I salute you all, my deeply sensitive, constantly questioning, unwaveringly observant, often, I think, teary-eyed, but patient friends. What an adventure we're all on. Do we all think too much? Hell, yes! And we wouldn't have it any other way.

I wonder if my agent needs a hand getting through the slush pile.  Perhaps I should offer to help. IF I could only get through to them...

Quotes to Consider

"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, Either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing." ~Benjamin Franklin

"Well behaved women rarely make history."~Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”~William G.T. Shedd (1820-1894), theologian, teacher, pastor

"It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something." ~Franklin D Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd U.S. president

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), essayist, poet, philosopher


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~Mark Twain

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
~ Wayne Gretzky