The Agent Hunt Begins

Hello, hello! How is everyone’s May going? Are you still staying at home? Is your area opening back up? North Texas is opening new stuff every week or so, but Dallas county alone is still gaining around 250 new cases every day. Needless to say, Dad and I are staying home for the foreseeable future. What does that mean for my productivity? Nothing. I’ve been pretty lazy the last couple of weeks. I know what I should be doing, but I can’t find the motivation. At least I couldn’t find it until I got an email on Monday informing my that the next PitDark is on the 21st. That means I have about a week to get my shit together and get ready to start my agent hunt. What does that entail? Panic. And some other stuff I’ll ramble about right now.

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Borrowed the image from the site listed on it. Click here for the link.

First, if you’re not familiar with Twitter pitch sessions (and you haven’t clicked the link under the picture), you’re probably wondering what PitDark is. It’s a chance for writers of horror/dark fantasy/murder mysteries/anything on the darker side to pitch completed manuscripts to participating agents and publishers. Anything from middle grade to adult is welcome. Basically, you post a Tweet-length pitch with all of the appropriate hashtags (see the website above for that info) up to once an hour per manuscript from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Eastern time) on May 21st and if an agent or publisher hits the little heart button, it’s an invitation to query them if you want to.

Luckily, I’ve finished my revisions of DS1 and also completed a round of edits for consistency and grammar and typos. I’ve just been trying to convince myself to prepare everything I’ll need in order to query agents. What does that include? Most importantly, a query letter that contains a blurb about the book to hook the agent (basically like what you find on the back of books to let you know what they’re about), a brief summary of my publication history, anything unique about me that informs my writing of this particular book, and a brief introduction reminding them if we’ve met or why we might work well together just to show I’ve done my research. Sometimes, that letter and the first few pages (or chapters) of the book are all you need. But some agents also require a synopsis. There’s the standard 1-2 page synopsis that introduces everything, but doesn’t necessarily spoil the ending. Most of the time, that’s enough. However, there’s also the 3-5 page synopsis that gives away everything. Some agents ask for that or both types of synopses. In other words, I have to write all of these things PLUS a Tweet-length pitch if I want to participate in PitDark and be ready to submit to someone if they like my pitch.

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And that’s not all. I also need to research agents. This I can do as I go along or after PitDark is over in the event that I don’t get a bite. The list of participating agents on the PitDark website is a good place for me to start. I can look at their preferences and see if we might be a good fit, then query them if they’re accepting unsolicited queries. I can also look at other agents within the bigger agencies to see if I can find a better fit. Some agencies have the policy that a no from one agent is a no from them all. Other agencies allow you to query multiple agents (one at a time of course). So, it’s good to find agents who are looking for work similar to your own instead of randomly querying everyone. I have a list of 101 agents from when I queried for G&G, but most of them wouldn’t be interested in DS1. However, I can use my list as another starting point because I listed the agencies they were with as well, so I can look at other agents in each agency. Otherwise, there’s always Google and checking to see who reps authors of similar works and a million other sources it would take too long to list.

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Anyway, my next few days will consist of writing a query letter and two synopses. If you notice my Twitter feed spammed with hourly pitches on the 21st, now you’ll know why. I’m not crazy, I’m just searching for an agent. As always, feel free to post your thoughts or comments or advice or good vibes or whatever here or on my social media pages!

The New Year Is Coming

Hello, hello!  The new year is almost upon us.  Unlike a lot of people I know, I have to say that 2016 wasn’t a bad year for me.  Personally, it was a quiet and uneventful year.  Yeah, bad and scary things happened in the world, but good things also happened.  For example, Spinraza was approved by the FDA as the first therapy for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (which was one of my diagnoses over the years, but I was assured 7 or 8 years ago that I actually have Ullrich Congenital Muscular Dystrophy).  Also, a lot of people were lost this year, including icons like Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, and Carrie Fisher.  But we’ve survived.  We’re still here to make 2017 a better year.  To make ourselves better people.

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R.I.P. General Organa

 If we want the new year to be better, we have to start with ourselves.  Many people make New Year’s Resolutions, which are great if you stick with them, but most of us don’t.  A week into January and that resolution to exercise more flies out the window with that first pulled muscle.  That resolution to be more positive disappears with the jerk who dents your car in the grocery store parking lot and doesn’t bother leaving a note.  It’s hard to change our habits.  And that’s okay.  But if you really want the year to be better, you’re going to have to make an effort.  That’s why I’m making a goal for myself for 2017.

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That’s how it goes.

 For 2017, instead of trying to change my habits (which is what resolutions usually entail), I’ve decided to pick one area of my life that I want to advance in and create a high (but reachable) goal for myself.  Right now, I’m mostly concerned about my career, so my goal is to find an agent by the end of 2017.  Hopefully, it won’t take an entire year, but it’s a goal I’m comfortable with.  If I were feeling courageous, I might go so far as to make my goal having my first novel published, but that takes time and requires an agent first (okay, so I don’t technically have to have an agent and I could go the whole self-publishing route for those who want to argue those points, but I don’t feel comfortable with those options for myself, so an agent I shall search for).

So, that’s my one big goal for 2017: find an agent.

I simply feel that if we aim to improve one part of our lives at a time (whether it’s our career, personal relationships, health, or whatever) with a concrete and reachable goal, we’ll have a better chance of achieving it and thus improving our year.  By all means, make some resolutions or extravagant goals.  Aim to change the world if that’s what you’re into, but remember that change starts at home.  By improving yourself, you’re improving the world.  Don’t let anyone tell you different.

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Exactly.

 Do you have any resolutions or goals for the coming year?  What area of your life would you most like to advance in during 2017?  Leave a comment here or on my social media pages to share your plans for the year.

See you next year!