Friday, February 12, 2010

Query One - Just One - Manuscript at a Time

Today I'm including a link to a children's agent blog, which impressed me with an interesting post on querying. A kids'  book agent? Well, agents are agents, whatever their field, and this post covers an area not often addressed - the urge to query more than one project at a time.

One or two of you are tut-tutting, saying, "There's that Fran being silly again, assuming we have more than one MS to query." But some of you do. You comment about it. And as we query agents with one story, we long to mention that other one, and perhaps an even earlier one - just a hint of them, that's all; just a snippet...a little whisper of a suggestion that we have a couple of other books looking for an agent; let them see that we're prolific, that we're industrious; and this, in turn, should warrant serious consideration.

Sometimes we sneak it in at the end of the letter. "This is my third novel. My first and second (third, fourth and fifth) are currently being revised (unrecognizably reconstructed, mercilessly mutilated, savagely vandalized, irrevocably ruined)," we say, hoping against hope that the agent will swoon in anticipation of yet more of our great works and email back, "Send these immediately!" Most times we don't say anything, but feel a litte inadequate talking about only one novel, as if we've been a bit lazy, when we've spent years working on those others, too, our earlier babies.

So this children's literature blog, KidLit, has a very useful take on the problem.  And if finding an agent for your only novel is your torment, thank your lucky stars. You are still delightfully uncynical about the whole business and probably life in general.  (It won't last, you know.)

I see Anne Mini is focusing on the correct formatting of  the manuscript again at her blog.  It's hard to believe it's still necessary to remind people of the preferred style, but there you are, all giddy excitement over your clever words and no thought for the agent's feelings, as she, it's hoped, reads it.  This is the one time when you don't want to appear eccentric, inexperienced, or just plain silly. You can do that later during the television interviews.

Of course, her Author! Author! link is permanently in my side bar, but to save you mousing over and looking for it, check Anne Mini's blog here. If you've forgotten how good her posts are, read a couple of others while you're there. This woman really knows what she's talking about, and the site is well indexed and ready for just about anything a writer could need.

Okay, so all of this chit-chat could be perceived as a cover-up for the fact of my NOT working on my current book. It's been ten weeks. I've done a few pages here and there, but no real, out-of-control, steam-heat-generating, can't-concentrate-on-TV, writing. But, I told you, I've had so much on my mind. I am entering a life-altering period again, a stage in my history which will be writ large for a long time to come. Such huge intercontinental house moves are up there with death and divorce when it comes to traumatic experiences, although you usually have little control over the last two.

And so Summer Must End can wait another couple of weeks while I deal with all the stresses that I've chosen for myself. The associated drama and frayed nerves (the cats will cost HOW MUCH to transport?) should help with the writing, at least, when I am ready.  We writers will do almost anything to put the excitement back into our writing.

Last, because it's almost Valentine's Day, I've slipped in the link to Patricia Volonakis Davis's blog, which is entitled "Got Love?" Hope you enjoy it.

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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