Monday, January 19, 2009

GETTING AN AGENT: EASY AS A, B, 1/888bazillion

Hot Young Latino Status: So I found a picture of a model who I think kinda looks like Alex in my head. (Alex is one of the characters in my book. I think I've mentioned him. At least, I mention him to myself all of the time.)

I'm sure I can't afford the actual model (his name's Bruno, I call him Bruno Baby) but if anyone has any friends who look like him, please send them along my way. To star in my book trailer. Seriously. That's all. Maybe dinner and a movie, but really that's all.
Okay, I just crossed the line into creepy, right? (Don't you dare say, "That happened, like, eight posts ago!)

Often the question arises: How do you get an agent?

So here is the answer. It's a simple road to getting published. Three easy steps:

1. Write, revise, polish manuscript. (Plan on taking at least a month for this step. Maybe two.)

2. Query agents with a one page letter telling about your book. (This could take hours. Be prepared.)

3. Sift through the gaggle of agents clambering to represent you. (They usually respond to your queries within 24 hours, requesting the full manuscript, which they will read in two days at the most.) Interview each of them for weeks at a time, as they fly you out to New York and take you to expensive restaurants in an effort to woo you. Once you have found the highest bidder for your prized work, said bidder will immediately present you with a check, just for being you.

Easy, Peezy, Lemon-juice in your papercuts, knee to the groin, gouge your eyeballs out fun!

Queries. Hmmmmm.

So I got together with my cool writer friends today (cool, because they are all so accomplished, and I feel like a gumby-head around them) and we talked a little about the process of getting an agent. Specifically the Query process.

It's kind of a hellish thing, because you've spent years writing your novel, and suddenly, in two paragraphs or less, you have to sell someone on the idea of your novel, or they won't even take a peek.

My sister author Bree once compared getting an agent to getting into the top three of American Idol, and she's totally right. And since the new season is upon us, I thought I would delve into the analogy.

It's like you have to condense years of training and singing into a few seconds, and hope those few seconds represent your voice.

Not only that, you have to pick the right song, the right key, you have to hope you don't have a cold that day, or a serious phlegm issue in the back of your throat. (That eliminates me right now).

Furthermore, you have to hope Simon's in a good mood, Paula's not high, and Randy's not hungry. Then, there's always the chance your query will reach your target on a day when his grandma died, and he's just not feeling very paranormal at the moment.

Then, while you're waiting years for a response, you get on all of the publishing blogs, and start reading about your wonderful chances to make it on the bookshelves. (Like, 1 in ten bazillion).

And unlike some of the sad saps on American Idol, you seem to have EVERYONE around you telling you your book sucks eggs. And you start to believe them, and think to yourself, maybe I can be the next William Hung, and people will read my book because it IS so bad and it DOES suck eggs.

So you've condensed your 90,000 word novel into a 100 word paragraph, and you've addressed it to the right agent, and you've spelled his name right, and you've waited in line, and you're all sweaty and haggered, and full of doubts.

Then you get your one moment in front of the judges. And if the moons align, and Zeus smiles upon you, maybe your query won't sound like this:

Dear Agent:

So, like, there's this cool girl named Lane. Broken, befuddled, but, like crazy strong. Oh yeah, and she's also crazy. As in, the clinical kind. So, she goes to high school in Blackfoot, Idaho, and she wants to be a reporter, and everyone around her seems to be dead.

And aliens take over the world.

So, Mr. Agent, what do you think?

And then the agents put together their blooper roll, a collection of the biggest losers, and show it to each other over expensive lunches.

I don't know where I was going with this. Maybe it's just another love letter to Sherpa Ted.

Last week, Nathan Bransford's blog just had some very very very very depressing numbers on the whole publishing thing. It caused quite a controversy, because so many of his readers didn't want to hear about the numbers.

Moral to the story: if you want to make a quick buck, write a novel. Or win the lottery.

Moral #2: If all else fails, wear a bikini to sing.
Maybe I'll go back to searching for hot young latino guys. Much more uplifting, wouldn't you agree?

P.S. What do you think of Bruno Baby?


  1. I love BRUNO BABY!

    ay yi yi!

  2. Bruno Baby is hot and I am confident enough in my metrosexiness to be able to say that.

    Another way to make a quick buck? Marry rich. If you had thought about that before you married me, you could have been stinkin' rich right now.

  3. Bruno baby is delish! Now I REALLY want to read your book :) Hang in there William Hung...she bang, she bang, she bang.

  4. Bruno way hotto. He totally fits the image of Alex in my head. And your book rocks! I bet Frank/Fred would think so too.

  5. Bruno: wow.
    I can so relate to the query frustration. I drool over Sherpa Ted and fervently wish for someone to see my-I mean my book's-potential. Actually, lately I just don't want to think about. Argh! The angst!

  6. Oh my! if it weren't for Bruno I would be totally depressed, as it is I consider daily whether or not to shove my barely started manuscript back in the bottom drawer...

    Bree pointed me here, thanks for sharing, your blog is a fun read.

  7. Nicole and Keersten-
    I have redeemed myself! I'm all about the positive on my last post!