Friday, July 6, 2007

The Search for an Agent-Part 3

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.



k said...

Another WOW blog! And, what's your next option? I hope you keep trying to find that elusive agent who is as in love with your art as you are, no pun intended :-). I am in awe and admiration of your tenacity and dedication to reach your goal. It is so very easy to get discouraged and give up, even when we know we've written something publish-worthy. I'll keep watching for news of that one communication you get that seals the deal! Thanks so much for sharing your experience. It's very inspiring.

NEIL said...

Hopefuly the royalty checks are still rollin' in for KOTH that you can afford to wait! I'm itching to read it having read "Stuck" more than a few times. Hang in there bro!

Randy said...

I dunno Bud,

My ignorant opinion would be this.....after you revised your letter that you send to publishers, the quality and quantity of your responses increased. So maybe another revision is in order. In the meantime I'm looking forward to hearing some of your new music. I DO know that when Ghost Notes hits the streets, I'm re-reading Stuck first so Hotes' game is fresh in my head. There are such things as Ghost Notes, notes in a passage that you don't consciensly hear, but you'd notice if they weren't there. How does that tie into the book? hmmmnnn....

Art Edwards said...

Thanks for the comments, all.

I'm not giving up, but I'm not afraid to go it alone either. It's a different publishing world out there than it was even five years ago. No one seems to be having any fun. We'll have to change that.