Monday, August 11, 2008

Submission -- in every sense

Being a writer is an interesting job, even if you only do it part time. It allows you to spill your guts on a page and then offer it up to the pantheon of writing gods and goddesses (editors and agents) and hope they respond, granting your fondest wish-- that is, to be a published writer.

For the last year I have been studying the publishing industry-- aka: Mount Olympus-- where the aforementioned deities reside. I have been submitting my work, in hopes they feel it is good enough to 1) read, 2) represent and 3) publish. So far, I have some people to read my work, but no luck with the later two. I keep hoping. And revising. And writing more.

Having two completed manuscripts and part of a third, plus a MA in creative writing gives me a legitimacy that might not be possessed by others. However, all the degrees and manuscripts in the universe are no guarantee. This is a business. Like any other business it comes down to the bottom line. The bottom line is the bottom line.

In my vast experience as a writer (* insert smiley face here *) I have noticed one thing in particular. When I realized this, I figured I had made a mistake, but last night my crit partner, Rich, made the same observation. So, there are two of us now. Be forewarned.

The observation is:
No matter what an agent's website or profile says, they are not necessarily looking for all the genres they list.

A HA! Eureka! A major discovery. I have actually made an Excel spreadsheet of agents and editors looking for historical fiction and romance. Guess what? A lot of people may SAY they are looking for these on Agent Query or Publishers Marketplace, but they are not. Which is not to say these agents are evil or bad, they just don't feel comfortable with these genres, or don't have contacts or whatever. Or maybe they are "full up" in the genre. Or their boss is changing the agency's focus. How do I know this? I have a number of rejection letters saying so.

It would be nice if the information would be updated periodically, but who can say it is not. Maybe they don't want to miss the next Harry Potter or The Other Boleyn Girl. It would make it easier on us writers to be able to send it to exactly the right person, but perhaps someone who would not usually take your genre LOVES your manuscript and signs you on the spot.
It works both ways.

And so now I return to my altar to sacrifice to the publishing deities once again... and hope someone will look kindly upon my submissive stance and my offering, er, manuscript.

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