Southern belle with a story to tell. Refreshing iced tea served after literary punches thrown.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Evil Adventure With Touch O' Romance Seeks Mature Professional for Exclusive Relationship!

~from The Huffington Post.
Okay, so the other day at lunch I was perusing the internet trying to make a list of literary agents I want to query in the case my dreamy fave agent says thanks but it's not for me.  Why do I do this? Because the E.L.M. (Evil Little Manuscript) really wants a permanent home, and dreams of being inside someone's Vera Bradley beach tote with sand stuck between her pages.  Oh the things we do for our book babies, right?

Anyway, at lunch the other day I was making some online notes when a friend leans over my shoulder and stares along with me at the computer screen.

Here's what went down:

friend: "What the bleep are you doing checking out a dating site?"
me: "Oh hell no. Not doin' that. I'm happily married, and sometimes he even cooks dinner. Not gonna rock that boat ever."
friend: "Well then who the heck are those guys with bios you're staring at and making notes about?"
me:  (sighs) "If you'll notice on the far right one of them is woman. And there are actually three of them on this page."
Friend gives me quizzical look.
me:  "These fine folks are looking for dates with manuscripts.  You know, like that one I've written? They're literary agents."
friend: "Ahhh. Now that makes sense.  But don't you just send your manuscript in to a publishing company and they just make it into a book?"
me:  "Well, self-publishing is big now, but I'm not sure it's for me. I'm a traditional kind of chick."

After this happened, it made me think. There really is a lot in common between dating and querying.

We try to put our manuscript on diets, hoping to lower the word count to make it more pleasing initially to the agent or editor's eye without losing the true essence of the story. Our manuscripts are fussed-over constantly, trying to make the perfect little tweaks and changes so that they're lovable by all. And we work forever on that perfect pitch for any face-to-face agent encounter or with our online query that we hope will hook the most incredibly awesome agent in the world, in hopes of that moment of true Kismet, where their eyes meet and the magic happens.

But sometimes we must resort to more forceful tactics to make either agents or publishers (or both) take notice, so some of us take part in online manuscript pitching contests. Let me tell you, if I do it again, I'm going to wear a faux-fur coat and carry a jeweled cane with the perfect canary-yellow hat plopped on my head. You gotta get in character to do it right, baby. But online pitching is a fun thing to try, and I applaud all the kind writers, agents & publishers who host these fun contests to get the good books out there.  After all, at the heart of the matter, writers are people who love good books, and although we love our own manuscripts supremely, we have a soft spot for all good tales, thus doing a good thing for everyone.

If I ever do another one of these online pitch contests, I'll be ready with faux-fur coat
on & jeweled cane in hand! Make that pitch work the 'nets!
So friends, how's your manuscript doing in the dating pool? Mine is at the shameless flirting stage, but ready to jump to phase two. Has yours gone on any interesting blind dates yet? Any second dates? Let me know because the E.L.M. needs to hear hopeful stories of happily ever after, and not tales of endless one-night-partials.

Best of luck to all in the query trenches. Don't give up and get your stories out there!  Because if not mine, then perhaps yours. We're all in this together.


T.J. said...

LOL I still love this story LOL

77yankees said...

Sometimes upon reading your entries here I envision you as a radio host with an hour segment set aside for your listeners (all somehow connected to the literary world, fellow writers, agents, publishers, etc.)

Now, with that said, yes, there is a certain level of semblance to the dating concept when a talented author and a seasoned literary agent cross paths--something potentially in the making of a brilliant display of fireworks on the 4th of July...

Where I've been fortunate to get the 2nd date, it's not exactly a day in the park everyday, because like genuine relationships, there are "give and take" moments, where each party carves/molds the overall finished product with their personalize input. I've learned to put my ego in park mode...

Happy Sunday!

Michelle 4 Laughs said...

I tend to think of querying as a take no prisoners kind of battle. You have to armor yourself up in cold steel to survive it.

Maybe thinking of it as dating would be a kinder gentler way to go. :)

SC Author said...

That's funny :) I love the dialogue between you guys, and the analogy is so true!!

Joey Francisco said...

@TJ: I told you I was going to write this post! Thank you for putting up with another recap. You are a saint!!!

@77Yankees: Thank you so much Alan for the kind words. And it is much like dating, and we hope for our manuscripts there is a match somewhere out there, don't we? Crossing my fingers yours gets past the 2nd date. Querying is definitely a situation where the ego must be set aside.

@Michelle: Anything to lessen the pain is something I try to seek. Again, I'm just wading into the water and have been doing slowly thus far, but ready to dive into the deep end now.

@SC: Glad it made you smile. Querying is a wild ride, but I hope we can all emerge from it wiser, better writers, and hopefully with either an agent or a publisher. Fingers crossed for all of us.