My First Agent Oops

Outside my writing bubble, I’m a carefree, laid back, casual guy. Whatever you want to do, I’m gravy. Inside my writing bubble, on the other hand, I’m a mad scientist sweating bullets while staring lasers into a (seemingly) empty beaker.

I’m never happy with my work. I’m my own worst critic. I study a page before I move on. Doubly so with submitting queries to agents.

I finally did it. I inadvertently sent an outdated chapter as part of a package to an agent. And I wanted to do this one special, too, so I wrote the whole query from scratch, opened my heart, pitched the story in a much more realistic, respectable manner (instead of my Book Trailer-esque query). I grabbed the file (without looking: I had just saved and exited five minutes bef0re) and sent.

Then, being anal as I am, I opened the files I sent them to make certain. Horror knows no bounds than an anal-retentive writer realizing a fatal mistake. Haha

It was the similar .docx file instead of the specially saved .doc file I had prepared. It hurt. Deep down, I freaked out a little like when a child loses a parent at Disneyland.

So I sent a second email, apologizing, with the proper attachment. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll take pity on my plight and disregard the first attachment. Fingers crossed.

On an unrelated note, rewrite 4 of IGMAN (It Gave Me a Name) is going very smooth. I had to strip down the first five chapters due to a huge flow issue (Ch 2-4 consisted of a conversation between the MC and an assistant. Literally Hi How Are Ya with nothing else going on). It’s 100k words, this book. I’m at page 93 of 173. After reading two chapters in a day, it just starts to flow, and it’s heck to separate yourself from reading it and just study the thing.

 

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David and His Shade Query Letter

I have a nasty habit: I love to screw with my query letters as a mindless pastime. It’s like writing a short story, where I have to make every word perfect. Theoretically every one of my words will sit just as perfect. Anyway, I think I’m finally at a place where I can show it off. (Note: I wrote this book in 6 months. I am currently in my first rewrite. It’s not ready to go out.) Please tell me what you think.

Ms. Agent/Publisher:

David and His Shade, my completed 115k YA Modern Fantasy novel, takes place on an alternative Earth where magic of all faith systems is real: religion, mythology, philosophy, and realities collide on an island off the coast of Oregon.

David Price thinks the greatest challenge he’d face his 7th grade summer is a three mile high spiritual journey to the top of a mountain in Tibet. As one of a hundred summer interns at a school of magic, the mountain is nothing compared to the challenges he’ll face to simply gain admittance to the school.

Unfortunately, David’s haunted. He’s been haunted since as far back as he can remember. Usually the shade David calls Cold Man only haunts his nightmares and seldom makes guest appearances in the real world, but when he enters the school, Cold Man seems to have taken an active interest in David’s magical career.

With shadowy “cleaners” watching over him as he sleeps, hanging gardens that kill the unsuspecting, and subject matter that could land him in prison for life if abused, David’s summer internship at Cliffsedge School of the Mind is anything but easy. Luckily for him, David found some pretty cool friends, including a bubbly redhead, Constance, that are as adventurous as he is.

Demons, angels, and reanimated elves are guest speakers. A tribe of “Lost Boys” bent on stealing magical wands for their Neverland war has its eye on David. And those nightmares David had when growing up are suddenly much more real, and ten times more dangerous.

Coupled with getting to know his classmates, dealing with a magical school filled with ghosts, mythical creatures, and political intrigue, and learning material way above his grade level, David must confront some of his darkest fears by learning the name of his shade—and finding a way to make it stop—while passing the internship to get into 8th grade.

The rest is just peer pressure.

I appreciate your time.

 

Why Twitter is So Cool (For A Writer)

I have three followers on my Twitter account (unless that changed sometime today).

On the other hand, I am following 21 people and growing. I created the account to accomplish one thing only: to help me get published.

Before last week I found Twitter annoying, overwhelming, and uninteresting. It wasn’t for me: I don’t update with my every thought (I don’t have any followers anyway, so that didn’t matter x2), I don’t have many RL friends that visit/update, and those who do simply aren’t interesting to me. So why did I set up an account?

To stalk people. I would add maniacal laughter after that, but the medium simply won’t allow for it. I am “following” all the agents I have submitted to in the past, or plan on submitting to in the future. On the surface it’ll probably seem like a step sideways: I don’t get my name tothem(it’s not like they noticed my little “click”) and they are busy people constantly tweeting about upcoming events, how-to-write seminars/blogs/novels, and the release of their clients’ work. You might ask yourself:where do I fit in? I know I did when I stared at the “sign up and follow The Rock or Barack Obama!”

Because it shows you care. It seems (I might be wrong) that start-up writers are 20% writing, 75% resume/public face, and 5% luck/masochism. How does it show you care? When it comes time for me to query a letter to XYZ at CoolAgency, I can, with authority, say, “I’ve been following your releases, and believe X Author’s Y Title Urban Fantasy novel is very similar to mine, and while the styles are different, I think you’d like the similarities.” Boom. Fireworks. Maybe.

If you’re a reader, or if you’re just starting out, reading about these agents’ workshops and releases will also help get you involved with the scene. You can read what they’re publishing (as a fun hobby) and possibly find a workshop taking place in a city near you (you’re bound to have them). When you’re confident enough with your WIP to send out, you might be surprised how far a little “connective” comment in the query letter will go.

Write on.

More on Query Letters

These query letters are driving me nuts. For each completed book, I have now written three query letters: one as formal, one as casual, and one “specialized.”

It’s driving me nuts because after four years of studying the art of query, I still don’t have a clue what an editor wants. I’ve gone to “how to write a query” blogs that exist only to critique/improve readers’ query letters. So I write one that would (possibly) pass all her critiques. Then I get my Writer’s Market book out, read the first article, and slap my forehead: Apparently Editors Want More Info, Less Story. Oh.

*Adjusts glasses* Yes, sir or madam, I am currently unpublished, I think my work is very good, I’ve gone to college for this kind of stuff, and I work really, really well with others. I promote corporate synergy… oh wait, that’s my resume.

What to do? A query that smacks the publisher/agent in the face with an instant delving of story? A query that begins with, “It Gave Me a Name is my 93k finished paranormal fantasy novel set in St. Louis and focusing on Soren, my ghost-haunting, reluctant protagonist. He hates people sometimes. It’s not based on anyone I know in real life.”

No. I don’t know. I’ve sent this type of query out several times (read: over 50), and haven’t got a bite. I’ve learned a lot in the past year, but I don’t think it’s enough.

I’ll try for Zam! Pow! and hope the tight prose is tight enough, the information succinct enough, and the single-sentence explanation at the end should be, specifically, at the end. Oi. ~x