Sunday, October 29, 2006

Agent Quest

Larger publishers seem to be getting away from reading slush. I reviewed my database of markets and was discouraged at the number. Currently most of the big names are off limits unless I manage to meet one of the editors at a convention and snag an invitation to submit.

That has pushed me into searching out small publishers. There are hundreds, but that's its own kind of swampland. I collect names and begin to visit websites. Again, it's less inviting than I'd hoped. The small publishers with a good reputation are overwhelmed with submissions. Many say 'Closed for now'. Others are smaller than I can use. I'm not out to publish one book. I have many manuscripts ready to go. I'm much better at writing the books than selling them. A publisher with one book per year in its list doesn't do me any good. I need someone anxious and able to handle many books, a whole series.

So I hit the database of Literary Agents. I found a new one and culled a list of about fifteen agents that, on the surface, handle my kind of book. Yesterday, I put together six submissions, and after church, I'll be back at it.

I've hunted for agents in the past, but for the most part, I believe I was doing it wrong. From the current guidelines, it looks like submitting to an agent is identical to submitting to a book publisher. You try to entice them with one book. Previously, I wrote up a letter to agents that attempted to sell myself, and my portfolio of manuscripts. I think that's why most of those queries vanished without a trace, and for the most part, without even a reply.

This time I took my "alien nanobots take up housekeeping in a high school girl" book and packaged it with a polished pitch. What do you think?

"It wasn't tree sap that fell on fat highschool senior Deena Brooke in the forest; her body was changing, shedding weight and giving her new, frightening abilities, but the only person who could help her understand the alien infection, Luther Jennings, had deep secrets of his own that put them both in danger.

Lightning took off the top of giant redwood, but only fat and slow Deena Brooke was caught by the falling branches. Bruised and contaminated with dripping gray goo, everything changed. She healed fast, began losing weight faster than any diet, and started feeling a craving for zinc. She had a calculator in her head, mysteriously knew the Periodic Table of Elements inside and out, and could analyze any metal at a touch, but at least she was getting the attention of puzzled Luther Jenkins, the cute new guy in her class. Only when she started overhearing people's cell phone calls in her head did she realize Luther was on the run from the mob and needed her, just as she needed him. She liked changing from fat to athletic, but new changes and strange urges kept coming, and while Luther's analytical mind helped her explore these alien nanobots, their friendship strained and broke his carefully cultivated false identity. When his 'aunt' was captured by the mobsters desperate to regain the items stolen by Luther's father, Deena felt compelled to join Luther in an 800-mile road-trip down the coast to Malibu to rescue her. Her control over her body grew rapidly, allowing her to become the ideal girl she desired to be, but was she controlling the nanobots, or were they controlling her? Was she being turned into a weapon aimed at the human race?"

1 comment:

scott cupp said...

I'd read that book based on the description