What began as an interview with literary agents Jeff Kleinman, Founding Partner, and Michelle Brower, Senior Vice President, of Folio Literary Management turned into enough material for a three part Q&A series on what agents really want from authors.
The rejections are a learning opportunity. A rejection tells me that this particular agent is not the right fit for my work; he or she will not be the best advocate and is not the partner I need in this next chapter of my writing career.
Recently, I picked up a journal I had begun keeping when I committed to this writing thing and came across this entry from years ago: I had a twinge of uneasiness tonight in regards to Place of Angels. What if I can't sell this one, either? Then what?
"Southern" conjures up certain images and characteristics in my mind. Same goes for the West Coast, Upper Northwest, Southwest, New York, and New England. But what about the Midwest?
What does it mean to be Midwestern?
Maybe the Mayans had the American publishing industry in mind when their calendar conked out. If you thought 2012 was a bad year for traditional book publishing, and it was, you'll be nostalgic for it by the end of 2013.
One time I got a package containing a tattered copy of my book along with a handwritten note. To a writer, this is like going up to a stranger and telling them that a) they could use some plastic surgery, and b) you'd like to perform it yourself.
In modern America, the heyday of the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, also known as the WASP, is some decades behind us. But in American literature, WASPs continue to fascinate -- perhaps because the publishing industry is one of their last redoubts.
I keep meeting authors who rave about their agents as if they were combinations of the Buddha and Captain America. My own experience with agents has been anything but positive, and the first agent who took me on was a paragon of imperfection.
So, after years of torturing yourself beyond emotional repair, making several highly unnecessary sacrifices to the gods, and, finally, signing a contract (in blood) entitled Deal with the Devil, you've managed to finish your book.