Tuesday, December 6, 2011

General Thoughts/This and That

Did some really good revision work on "Chrissie Warren: Pirate Hunter," the last couple of days, though there's much more to do. Did write one passage that I like very much, so I'll probably have to delete it ("Murder your darlings," as the saying goes) and the new framing device is working very well.

Today and tomorrow I'm finishing up a new chapter of "Scurvy Dogs!" because the kids don't care that I have a deadline – they want another chapter.

And it's not a pressing deadline. The agent thinks there's little point in pushing before the holidays, you can barely get publishing house editors on the phone, and you certainly can't get them to read something during this time of year.

In the meantime, there were two good blog posts today on dealing with agents when you're in the query stage. The first post is some good advice on turns of phrase that might set off alarm bells for a potential agent. (Alarm bells are bad things, of course. You want your query to set off choirs of angels or something similar.) The second blog has some advice on how not to behave with agents, written by an agent who had just had an off-putting experience. It's the sort of thing you wouldn’t think you'd need to be reminded of. I mean, real "duh!" stuff. but there you go. Some people think the rules don't apply to them, or aren't aware that there are in fact rules.

Anyway, the agent, Janet Reid (who has both her personal blog and the very helpful "Query Shark" blog, explains it really succinctly. If I may quote: "I'm astounded people think this is Undergraduate Lit 101 and I'm some sort of prof with office hours for writers to drop in and get help. This is a for-profit business and I spend my time doing what I think is going to make me boatloads of money. Shiploads would be better. Helping you figure out why your book doesn't work is not going to make me any money. It makes you feel better. Those are NOT the same things."

Books are such a personal thing, and a love of good books marks you as a sensitive individual. So sometimes people sometimes forget that the first thing about the book business is – It's a business.

As to the boatloads of money, sounds good to me. Although I'm always ready to settle for a suitcase full, as long as it's a pretty big suitcase and none of the bills are smaller than twenties.

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