Saturday, January 29, 2011

Badge Query Letter


A Novel by Art Edwards

Badge, aging rock guitarist, has drunk and screwed his way out of his best chances at life. For three years he's managed to stay off the booze and, not coincidentally, out of the music business. But in 2000, flat broke and fearing passionless days ahead, he accepts work in Los Angeles with a new artist, young punk diva Betty. The gig features great pay, professional studios and Badge's last best chance to rock at the top of the heap, if only he can keep his mind on the music and away from the bars, back alleys and backstage temptations that greet him at every turn.

At the same time, the music business is undergoing monumental change, with bands turning to the internet to reach their fan bases and record companies making criminals of their customers. With a lead singer looking for more from her guitar player than memorable solos, a ten-year-old son curious about his dad's new world, and an ex-wife who misses nothing, Badge navigates both home and rock life with values accrued in a bygone era, and toward a future as murky as a used shot glass.

My second novel, Ghost Notes, released on my own imprint in 2008, won the 2009 PODBRAM Award for best work of contemporary fiction. My work has appeared in The Writer and Writers' Journal, and online at The Rumpus and I am also a contributing writer at The Nervous Breakdown. In the 1990s, I was co-founder, co-songwriter and bass player with the Refreshments, a band that sold over 400,000 units worldwide, had a hit single (“Banditos”), and wrote and recorded the theme song for the Fox television series King of the Hill. I live with my wife, artist Raquel Edwards, in Portland, Oregon.

Badge is complete at 100,000 words, and while solidly within the commercial/literary realm, it also occupies the burgeoning subgenre of rock lit, which has seen successful titles in the past year by Jennifer Egan, Patti Smith, Nick Hornby and Steve Almond.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Week Three

This week brought another query rejection and some good news.

Remember Agent 6? The one I sent to last week? I got a rejection from her. Form. I was hoping for something personal, telling me if my query is working or not, but no such luck. I'm guessing my novel just isn't right for her list, and that can generate form rejections no matter how good your query is. Anyway, onward.

The good news is from Agent 4. This agent was a referral in 2006 who nicely rejected Ghost Notes and encouraged me in the direction Badge goes. She said Badge isn't a good fit for her, but she wanted the first 25 pages to present to her agency, which has clients who explore some of the same topics I do. Hopefully, this means there are agents there who would be interested in my work. This is great news. All I can ask from this process is to get in front of the people who seem a good fit, and I'll take my chances with my novel. There are definitely people at this agency who seem a good fit.

So, hope.

Also, I've researched six new agents, each of whom represents writers like me. I'm gearing up for querying these six in early Feb. The only question is whether I stick with my query.

I said early on that if I got two requests for the manuscript out of the first five agents I'd stick with the query, but both of my requests came from referrals, and I don't know what carried the weight: the query or the referral. Still, if I get one more request for pages (there are still two agents I haven't heard from) I'm going to say the query is okay and be done with it. If I don't...I think I'm still inclined to say my query is okay, but I reserve the right to change my mind.

So, as of week three:

Number of Agents Queried-6

Number of MS Requests-2

Number of Rejected MSs-1

Number of Rejected Queries-2

Number of Unanswered Queries-2

This search is more fun when things go right.

See you next week.


Try Ghost Notes, the award-winning novel, in print form for just $5.

Try Ghost Notes the Audio Book as an unabridged digital download.

Or try Ghost Notes the Ebook.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Week Two

First of all, did everyone see my latest post on TNB? No? Check it out!

For the time being, I'm focusing this blog on my agent search for my third novel, which is called Badge, which I just finished.

Week Two brought a low point, a few new ideas, and a new query submission.

The low point came when Agent 1, a referral, read and turned down my full manuscript. He had some very nice things to say about it, but he believed he couldn’t successfully sell a rock novel in this "VERY difficult market for fiction (dominated primarily by women’s bookclub reads)."

This sucks of course, but it's also the kind of reaction I expect to get here and there. Rock fiction is not the genre for anyone expecting to start a bidding war. I've always believed that rock lit's time is in the future, and that my work will have a place in it once we get there. Badge needs an agent who has that same vision.

The good news is that Agent 1 not only liked my book but offered me three recommendations for other agents. At some point, I'd planned to comb the appropriate places for agents who might fit the bill, and these three names were good jumping-off points. I've since combed the web and found at least four more agents who would be appropriate.

So there's hope.

One other thing this week: I sent a query to an altogether new and different agent: Agent 6. This agent has never read my work, but she offered me some guidance during my search for an agent for Ghost Notes, and I felt she might--if not request Badge--at least give me some feedback on my query. I love my query, but I need some validation from an agent or three if it's going out to any more folks.

So, to this point:

Number of Agents Queried-6

Number of Requests for MS-1

Number of Rejected Queries-1

Number of Rejected MSs-1

Number of Unanswered Queries-4



Try Ghost Notes, the award-winning novel, in print form for just $5.

Try Ghost Notes the Audio Book as an unabridged digital download.

Or try Ghost Notes the Ebook.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Novel 3

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.


Try Ghost Notes, the award-winning novel, in print form for just $5.

Try Ghost Notes the Audio Book as an unabridged digital download.

Or try Ghost Notes the Ebook.