A light bulb went off in my head as I was reading the 2017 Literary Guide to Agents. I identified the feeling in my stomach as the same overwhelming anxiety I felt when I was a 17 year old applying to colleges. First, choosing an agent is like choosing a college. I suspect the prestigious agencies look only at the proven. Not to say if I'm not a proven quantity, I won't apply. I applied to Stanford at 17 and was turned down. Turned out University of Pacific was a better placement for me. Hope I'll find a "Pacific" for an agent.
The next step is writing a query letter and a synopsis to "sell" Invisible Injuries. This process is so similar to writing an essay to impress, I shudder. I knew how to write a personal essay, and yet I freeze trying to write a query letter and proper summation of the book. I was on the other side of grading for too long. I sympathize with agents' feelings when they receive unsolicited manuscripts from hopeful authors. That sympathy leads me to hope brevity is the answer. I tell myself, don't brag, don't drone on and on, be concise. Hopefully, the first two chapters of the manuscript will be good enough to attract someone to take a chance on the unproven.
One huge difference between 17 and 80 is when I'm too overwhelmed, I can stop, pour a nice glass of Chardonnay, sit on the deck and relax.
Next installment in the process of publishing was copyright, or so I thought. I started with the Library of Congress. Once again, the amount of reading required to know what to do is amazing. I found out that once a book is in complete form, it is my intellectual property. Whoa! A Bit overwhelming and kind of an ego trip. After two attempts, I found the online form to fill out. More reading. There is a visual tutorial to help, but it really burst my "intellectual property" into a short lived ego trip. Started filling the form out only to have to go back to reading what each line meant. As Katie and I wrote the book together, I had to figure out if we were anonymous or pseudonymous. We are pseudo since I am the M and Katie is the K of MK Eddleman. I'm exhausted and I'm only on line two. What tuckered me out was trying to figure out if that meant we owed a single fee or a double fee so I quit for the day. The patent office is trying. At least they ask for feedback unlike many institutions. I suggest every head of company, university, public office etc. fill out forms, buy products, sit in coach seats for 8 hours (that's directed at airline CEO's) and try to get through to a person on the phone. Whoops, I just fell off my soap box. Bye for today
Invisible Injuries awaits an agent. People have read it, critiqued it, suggested improvements, corrected grammar and errors, and generally helped make it the best it can be. Now starts the process of trying to find someone who cares enough about the characters and the mystery to want to represent it. I thought it might be interesting if the blog describes the experience of how to or not to get a book published. First, Katie and I researched a plethora of "how to" articles - how to find an agent, how to write a cover letter, what's the difference between cover letter and letter of enquiry (BTW, enquiry means to ask a question, inquiry means to formally investigate), what type of mystery we had written. Our choices were capers, crime, whodunit, Pasitische, urban fantasy, steampunk, cozy, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, police procedural, suspense, thriller and true crime. I had to look up every one of them to understand the distinctions. Turns out Invisible Injuries is a police procedural mystery. Who knew!
After the research, finding agents who accept unsolicited manuscripts is another journey into testing one's tenacity. I went to the websites of some of my favorite writers to look for answers. Louise Penny was most helpful except she threw in a new road block. Her first book was discovered when she entered and earned top ranking in a national writing contest. Writing contest??? Holy Moly. Never thought of that, so a new search started. Hundreds of them but the big problem is which are legitimate and which are simply out to get the writer to spend money.
Are you beginning to understand why so many writers are self-publishing? If so, stay tuned in for the continuing saga of MK and the search for a book publisher.
Expectations of perfection have ruined more events for me than I can count. The perfect prom. The perfect mate. The perfect family. The perfect Christmas. I'm reminded of the story of the wealthy man who was looking for the perfect woman. He searched the world over. Dated constantly. He finally found her. She was perfect in every way. Except, she was looking for the perfect man. In actuality, perfection is rare, fleeting and unexpected. So, back to expectations. I have finally learned to let go of expectations and try to enjoy what comes, both good and not so good. It's only taken 80 years.