Tuesday, December 21, 2010

...I have two new things: "Back Yard" up at Matchbook Lit and also "Monetary Scar" in audio form as read by Mel Bosworth for Dark Sky Magazine. Both are here under "Words In Print."

...I have just discovered an amazing writer. She is genius. I don't know how she escaped me until now. Jayne Anne Phillips. She shoots volts in every sentence, sometimes lightning and bullets, arrows and saws in a sentence. I'm reading her story collection, "Black Tickets." I'm reading it slowly, much the same way James Franco rationed water in the movie "127 Hours." I don't want it to end. Jayne Anne even has a blurb from my favorite writer ever, Raymond Carver, on the back book jacket. Finding great new writing and great new music are two of my favorite things.

...I have been waking up at 4am the last few days. It's not so bad. Actually, it's kind of nice. At that hour the world is dark and still, everyone ensnared in their REM sleep. It feels like I'm getting a head start on people. This morning at around five-thirty I finished Marcy Dermansky's very fine and quirky novel, "Bad Marie." The entire time I read it I kept hearing the narrator's voice from "Pushing Daisies" in my head for some reason. Next, I'm getting her book, "Twins."

...I have three more books and I'll have again read 100 for the year. Next year I will read a lot but I don't think I'll make it a resolution to hit 100. Too much pressure. I find myself selecting thin books. Besides, I read so much stuff online now, both for pleasure and for my gig at Metazen.

...I need an agent. Can you get me one? I would love you madly and a long time if you could do that for me. Come January, I am going to start actively looking. I have a guide book sitting inches from my right hand. Inside are the names of every book publisher, agent and editor. The thing is a tome, larger than a Stephen King novel. I will get to it soon.

...That last thought leads me to share this (If you're a writer, it'll be interesting, if you're not one, you can probably just click off and I'll find something juicy for you next time.)

...Tina Wexler shares how to get an Agent:
1. Write a really amazing query. Which is to say: take your time, try describing your work multiple ways until you find the best approach, read successful queries online and have as many people as possible read yours so that you’re certain it makes sense and is a shiny apple.

2. Demonstrate knowledge of an agent's list. This doesn’t mean you have to read every book they’ve ever sold—I leave that job to my mom—but by showing them you know a bit about who they represent, you’re telling agents you’ve done your research on who to query.

3. Do your research on who to query. Period.

4. Write a really amazing manuscript. Which is to say: take your time, put your work through multiple revisions, read published works in your genre, and consider joining a critique group or finding a writing partner whom you trust who can help make your manuscript a shiny apple.

5. Be nice. Agents, like most everyone, want to work with people who are personable. This does not, however, mean “Fawn over the agent” or “Send a bushel of apples to the agent.”

6. Don’t ask me, “Why all the talk about apples?” because if you’ve read my client Donna Gephart's How to Survive Middle School, you already know it’s because I'm constantly daydreaming about Bubbe’s Jewish Apple Cake. But do ask other questions you may have. Be a part of the conversation. Agents want critical thinkers who take this getting-published thing seriously.

6 ½. Take this getting-published thing seriously. There’s plenty of fun to be had, but remember, this is a business, not a hobby or a get-rich-quick scheme. Agents want hard workers, writers dedicated to their craft who view getting published as the first step of a long journey, writers whom they will want to be with on that journey.

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