Monday, June 22, 2009

Mission Submission

Pearls Before Swine By Stephan Pastis

Over the past few months, I rewrote, revised, puttered with and polished my middle grade manuscript. My core query is tightly written and ready for agent-specific info. I researched a targeted agent list and I am putting finishing touches to each query. My synopsis is a 500-word wonder. Will I let the worst possible time of the year during the worst possible economy stop me from hitting send?

Heck no. For me, it's the right time.

If I wasn't ready before, I had an aha moment at our last critique group meeting. We discussed how editors and agents must view "prepublished" writers. How they must see two-thirds of conference attendees as never-to-be-published, with one-third holding publishing possibilities. And how the same work of fiction is viewed oh-so-differently once it's fully justified and between the covers, rather than printed flush-left on 8-1/2" x 11" copy stock.

Enough of this, I thought. Hit send, and send, and send again, until I find a match.

Agents do sign first-time writers and editors do acquire that work. They do get excited by manuscripts they find in the slush. (Or as Edward Necarsulmer IV at MacIntosh & Otis calls it -- the Discovery Pile. I love that.)

So, I'm spending my summer vacation on the agent prowl. Anybody care to join me? And has anyone out there been discovered in the slush? Care to share your story?


  1. I'm on the agent prowl this summer too! I've been agonizing over my synopsis with a specific agent in mind.

    We'll have to support each other!

    Sending lots of luck to you!


  2. Here's to you and Discovery Pile success!

    The last revision you did was super and I hope it strikes a spark somewhere out there in the realm of agents.

    Keep hitting send.

  3. A writer's gotta do what a writer's gotta do. If you're me, you drink a six pack and revise your query for the 863rd time in your Grinch slippers.

  4. Is there really a "good" time to go agent/publisher hunting? If it's not summer and vacation time, it's winter and holiday time....I figure any time is as good as it gets.

    You go! Loved the cartoon.

  5. Since so many agents take queries via email now, it's so much easier to hit a bunch at a time.

    My fingers are crossed. I agree with Gale that your latest revision was grand!

  6. That cartoon is hysterical. G'luck J.A. Can't wait to hear what happens.

  7. Thanks for the comments everyone.

    Christy -- I'm definitely in for support. Keep us posted here on your news.

    Gale, Meg, J.L. and all other official Paper Waiters -- thanks so much for all your help with this manuscript.

    Aimee -- something about your comment sounds oh-so-familiar. Hmmmm.

    Bish -- I think you're right. No one time is really better than another.

    And to all -- yes, isn't that cartoon the best ever?

  8. I sent a query and got a request for 30 pages today. Does anyone ever blog about the bile inducing fear associated with actually getting past the critique?

  9. Aimee:

    You're a hoot! But I know what you mean. It's that mixture of hope and fear that will get you every time.

    Congrats on the partial request! Keep us posted.