So I had four agents considering Ghost Notes, and I had all the time in the world to wait.
Unfortunately, all the time in the world wouldn't be long enough to hear back from all four.
The first agent I heard back from quickly. This agent, whom we’ll call Agent 1, was a junior agent, meaning he was relatively new to the publishing game. Agent 1 couldn’t say enough good things about Ghost Notes. He called the writing “pretty tremendous,” but he couldn’t identify the book’s target audience, and thus which editor to sell it to. He wrote, “This is a reflection of the publishing industry and of my inexperience as an agent, not your work.” He offered to look at the next thing I wrote, and thanked me for thinking of him.
Nice complements, to be sure, but not what I was hoping for. Alas, I still had three agents to go, and all three were seasoned veterans. I just had to wait for them to read the manuscript and make their decisions.
And January came to an end.
And February came and went.
And March came and went.
I heard from Agent 2--this one a big time agent with an agency that represents writers anyone would recognize--on April 6. After what I thought was a very enthusiastic request for the whole manuscript a couple of months previously, he rejected it with a form letter.
And April came an end.
I heard from Agent 3 on May 7. This agent wrote a very nice personal note, referring to it as a “tough call” but ultimately passing on Ghost Notes because she didn’t feel a personal connection with the material. She also said she would be happy to see my next manuscript.
And May came to an end.
So it was June, ten months after I’d started sending out query letters, and I had one agent still considering Ghost Notes. Just to make sure she hadn’t forgotten me—it had been five months since I’d emailed her the manuscript--I sent another brief email to her, updating her on things like my solo record.
And June came to an end.
So here I am, July 6, 2007, almost a full year into my search for representation, 111 agents queried, and things aren’t looking grand. Am I disappointed? Of course. Is it the end of the world? Hardly. This is not our parents' publishing industry; we have options now that people twenty years ago wouldn’t have dreamt of. If no one wants Ghost Notes, it just means I have to work harder to find my book’s audience. Self-publishing is never the easy way to go, but it has its upside.
And after 111 agents said no or said nothing, what's my option?
Next week, more on the Portland gig, Saturday, Sept. 1.