Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Toe in the Water

Fact is, my manuscript has found an agent in New York! (I am allowing myself one chaste exclamation point.) Yesterday, it happened.

I admit I'd been hovering by the phone all day the day I expected his call, as I blogged about previously. So yesterday, in a more resilient frame of mind, I went into my office, and there was a message from him on the office voicemail. (Note to self: check the frigging voicemail more regularly.) He had called, just as he said he would--but he had called on the number I put on the submission, rather than the two I put in the email saying I'd be available. Perfectly reasonable, of course.

So I called him back. The young man who answered his phone seemed unsurprised. He even pronounced my name correctly. (Always a positive sign, I find.) He put Philip on the line and bingo. The most charming conversation, on his end.

He's an established, successful agent who said some amazingly kind things about the writing, aggregations of nouns and adjectives that I will cherish forever, no matter what happens.

Fiction is indeed hard to sell these days, but he'll have a shot. And I only have to address one little area, a small item that previous readers have raised questions about, in fact. Addressing that will be my task for today. It has to do with a psychic who wandered into the Santa Fe section of the book, pretty much as a plot device. Psychics can be uncannily accurate once in a while, he mentioned (a story resides within that simple concept, I suspect), but it's more difficult to make it work in fiction.

OK. I accept that.

When I began this blog's recent thread, I thought I would be chronicling a long and sorrowful process of sending out queries and receiving rejections. In contrast, this acceptance feels like a coup de fou--the kind of lightning bolt of good fortune (in the French case, love at first sight) that one dreams about. I feel better, knowing I still have work to do. Also knowing that I have two other ideas for books worth pursuing. And a manuscript from the past that may actually have a life, now that I understand something about the structure of a novel.

A thirty plus year apprenticeship--but it's still an apprenticeship, because gaining representation from an agent doesn't mean publication is guaranteed. It never did, and especially not now, but it gives one a fighting chance.

The last time an agent accepted a manuscript of mine, we received 23 elegantly phrased and complimentary rejections. That was twenty-seven years ago, give or take. Tough business, writing. Takes perseverance, I'm told.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! (One chaste exclamation point from me, too.)