Things to Do Instead of Nudging an Agent

If, like me, you find yourself with a fair number of partial and full submissions to agents, and those submissions are creeping toward the two- and three-month-old mark, you will (unless you have much more patience than I) find your finger hovering over the SEND and DIRECT MESSAGE buttons.

But nudging is folly, especially when it’s only(?!) been two or three months. Patience is key. You should go distract yourself and, whatever you do, DO NOT PRESS SEND.

How about….

1. Write a new book. (Working on it.)

2. Write a blog post. (Doing it right now.)

3. Read something fabulous. (Anna Karenina, I will conquer you at last!)

4. Read a writing craft book. (Writing the Breakout Novel sounds like something I’d like to do.)

5. Chat with a friend.

6. Watch holiday movies.

7. Make a new playlist for that new book you’re writing.

8. Work out: stave off writer’s butt!

9. Send out some new queries to obsess over.

10. Buy gifts for upcoming holidays/birthdays.

11. Work on something crafty (i.e. use other parts of your brain).

12. Play a video game.

13. Get those clothes out of the dryer and fold them. (Hahahaha yeah but I did this.)

14. Take those bags of old clothes to Goodwill and get them out of the way, finally.

15. Take a walk—listen to that new playlist and do some mental plotting.

16. Blow the dust off your guitar and practice.

17. Call someone you haven’t chatted with in awhile.

18. Go to bed early. (What madness is this?!)

19. Cook dinner instead of eating Lean Cuisine.

20. Finish the National Geographic issue that’s starting to collect dust before another one comes.

21. Figure out how to successfully hunt as a vampire Sim.

22. Plan next year’s garden.

23. Decorate your Christmas/Yule tree.

24. Learn about something you’ve always wanted to do and then do it. (See 11 and 16.)

25. Go tell your new neighbors to turn down their music.

26. Watch Downton Abbey. (Seriously, watch it.)

27. Have a glass of wine and relax.

28. Renew your domain lease and domain mapping subscription. (This might be specific to me.)

29. Lust after the Kindle Fire and then remind yourself why you don’t need it.

30. Learn to use all those fancy features in Scrivener.

31. Dust. (Bahahaha that’s just funny.)

32. Play with your pets.

33. Get dressed and don’t just work in your sweats every day.

34. Read all those articles you’ve archived for ‘later’.

35. JUST FREAKING RELAX ALREADY. Agents are people, too, and sometimes they take a little longer than you would like. But the time will creep by much more slowly if you are constantly biting your nails. Your nails and your mental healthy will do a lot better if you just shut down the computer and do something else.

Someone remind me of this list again next week, ‘kay?

The Great Agent Hunt

The great agent hunt starts this week.

The first step, you see, of submitting a book is figuring out who might like to read it. What agent out there will love it enough to go to bat for it and for me, to take it to editors and say, “This book is worth putting out into the world!”

I’m both excited and frightened by the process. I’ll get to spend hours at my local library poring over the 2012 Writer’s Market, and right here at home looking at the meager agency listings in the back of The Writer magazine. I’ve already looked in the acknowledgments section of my favorite urban fantasy books to see what agents are representing books similar to mine… and suddenly I’m so intimidated I want to curl up in bed with a pillow over my head.

It’s a terrifying prospect.

It’s not unlike applying to colleges, which I did five years ago now—or is it six?—to go to grad school. First you find the best colleges in the field you want, and then you narrow it down to places you actually want to go. Then you narrow it down to places you actually have a shot at, but you throw in a few wishful-thinking schools all the same. You also throw in a few you don’t really want, but you feel fairly certain will accept you… no one wants to be the last belle at the ball, am I right?

So then you write your application materials. The cheesy essays that are all the same but all a little bit different somehow. Maybe you write one that’s great, and then you try to use piecemeal bits of it in your other essays, because you know a good thing when you see it.

We all want to put our best foot forward, and we also have to stand out from the hoard of other applications. So not only do we have to create shining work, but we also have to inject our personalities, make our perfectly correct work also enticingly unique.

And then you wait.

I didn’t start this blog post with the intention of freaking myself out, but I’m afraid that’s all I’m doing.

Still, this is all just a dramatic lead-up to say this is probably the last you’ll hear about the great agent hunt. Once I’ve actually started submitting, I plan a radio silence on the topic. Professionally, I think it’s best to resist the urge to comment on each rejection and/or request for chapters.

Wish me luck, then, readers, and happy hunting.