Sent to the minors! Excused!
Ok, it wasn't that bad. My agent, Caitlin, whom I still love dearly, and I have split up. Personally I think she found another writer but just doesn't want to tell me. Her excuse is the old "I need to spend more time with my family so I'm reducing my client list" thing. If only I had a dime for every time I heard that. I'd have...um...a dime.
Anyway, I am now a free agent, looking for an agent. As it were. And am I crying, drowning my sorrows is large quantities of alcohol and narcotics? YES! But that was yesterday. Today I'm back to business, finding my old agents lists and publishers, and getting busy. This book WILL BE SOLD DAMMIT!
Sorry. Didn't mean to cuss. This is a kid friendly blog. As in "hey kid, want some candy?"
NONONONO. I did NOT just say that on my blog. I meant no cussing.
Anyway, at first the news that Caitlin kindly delivered to me on the phone (as opposed to email) was devastating. I mean, it's been 20+ years since I've been dumped. I know Caitlin and I can still be friends, and like, she can see other writers and I can see other agents, but still, you wonder: am I that much of a screw up? Or worse, am I just that mediocre?
No! Caitlin's reasons were sound, her criticisms of me were well founded, and I know she had to make the call to several other clients so I knew I didn't screw any one particular thing up. She just didn't think it was fair to keep me waiting months on end for some feedback (not like I really, ya know, paid attention or anything). So it was all cool.
Thus ends the cycle with my first agent, Caitlin. Ah well.
So what do I do now? Well, fortunately (take notes here) I kept EVERY emailed query letter I got back, and found three people who were interested in reading the manuscript after I had already hooked on with Caitlin. Wanna know how fast the industry changes? Not ONE of them was still in the same location. One got automatically forwarded to the replacement agent, another gave his new email address, so I forwarded the query back to him, and the third went to a publishing house of scholarly books - which mine is not.
I kept my original query letter AND their response and sent them both back saying that my agent and I had parted ways and would they still be interested in looking at it. Notice I did NOT send them any attachment like, a year later. "Ok, here it is!" Gotta give them a chance to remember who the heck you are, and what your selling.
But the biggest thing to do is to GET OVER IT QUICKLY. I am NOT a failure, my book does NOT suck, and I am NOT going to wallow in freakish misery while every woman screams "Dear God what is that thing?". Sorry - channeling Princess Bride there for a minute.
Yes, Optimism STILL ABOUNDS! I will get smacked in the face, beaten to a pulp, dragged through the mud, stapled in the forehead and laughed at by the ghosts of my ancestors. But I will not, ever, give up.
Jeff and Ben (my characters) deserve better.
I have taken the fall so that any of you who might later can learn from my mistakes. Never take anything for granted, for you never know when things will crap out on you.
But most importantly,
I'm starting a new book today with that as the title. "The Strength To Stand Up. Memoirs of an Unemployed Man." People have...
Great time had at the SCBWI conference on Saturday! And a big hello to my friends from that conference who've hopefully joined us here....