Here's my news to start 2011:
My third novel is in the can. Like all of my novels, it took forever to finish (4 1/2 years), and it's bigger and better than the one before it.
One thing: I've changed its title from Good Night to the Rock and Roll Era to Badge, which is the protagonist's first name. More on the actual novel as the weeks progress because this week I want to focus on my agent search.
If you've followed this blog from its beginnings five years ago, you know that my agent searches haven't gone so well. I'll give you the short version:
In 2003, I queried 25 agents with my debut novel, Stuck Outside of Phoenix. Something like four agents request part or all of the manuscript. Some had some very nice things to say about it, but ultimately all said no. This search lasted about three months.
In 2006-2007, I queried 111 agents with my second novel, Ghost Notes. Something like six agents request part or all of the manuscript. Several had very nice things to say, but ultimately all said no. This search lasted about a year.
Still, I'm loony enough to get excited about these searches. My new novel is fab, and much good stuff has happened recently in the world of rock lit to make me think I have a chance this time. The successes of books by Steve Almond, Jennifer Egan, Patti Smith and Nick Hornby, along with the success of movies like Crazy Heart, have me believing that the tide has turned just enough. Crazier things have happened.
So, I started my agent search this past week, and I'm going to use this blog to keep you apprised of my progress. This week, I queried five agents. These were all agents for whom I had referrals, or who have liked my work in the past. A quick run-down:
Agent 1: Referral from one of the agent's clients.
Agent 2: Nicely rejected Ghost Notes and asked that I send my next novel.
Agent 3: Junior agent who flipped for GN but didn't know who he'd sell it to.
Agent 4: Referral who nicely rejected GN and encouraged me in the direction the new novel goes.
Agent 5: Nicely rejected Stuck Outside of Phoenix and seems the perfect agent for my new novel.
I started sending query letters on Monday, and I've already heard back from two agents. Agent 1 requested the manuscript (yay!), and Agent 2 sent a form rejection.
So, my progress so far: five agents queried, one MS request, one form rejection. Not bad for week one.
By the way, I have no grand plan for this search. I'm going to see how agents respond and act accordingly. Right now, I'd like some good feedback from agents on my query letter, which is oh-so-important. If the query doesn't wow, they'll never read the manuscript. If the rest of these agents reject my query, I'll have to rewrite it before it goes out to any more agents.
That's it for this week. I hope to have more good news for you next.
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