Friday, October 12, 2007

In Quest of a Literary Agent...

Okay, I admit it.

I am actively seeking a literary agent.

And I'm using the big bad internet to do it; I have posted blogs and web pages. I have registered dot-com generic domains having to do do with literary agents, memoirs, books, and literature in general and redirected them to Literary Agent Wanted, my formal "Call for a Literary Agent," so to speak.

Fifty-plus targeted domains have been directed to one blogger site--cheaper than hiring a webmaster and a publicist. Evidently, writers aren't all that savvy about using domain names as keywords because registering cool generic dot-coms was like picking big red juicy apples at harvest.

I have actually created two Blogger sites, the first manipulated to remain static and uncluttered by day-to-day blog posts, and this second dynamic blog for my day-to-day ruminations about my search. If I work it right, surfers will be able to navigate back and forth between the two blogs and barely sense they are two different sites. We'll see how that works out.

I expect my agent search to be long and arduous. So far, my success rate with agents has been about nil because, as most of you know, it's a buyer's market: too many writers, not enough publishers.

Yeah, I'm breaking all the unspoken "literary rules" by plastering blurbs about my memoir and myself all over the internet--tooting my own horn, rah, rah, rah...

Seeking literary representation is supposed to be a quiet, genteel quest, conducted through the conventions of the U.S.P.S., and all envelopes must include the ubiquitous S.A.S.E.; unfortunately, this time-honored tradition is also a great time waster, and I'm 57 years old. At my age, one begins to think like T.S. Eliot's Prufrock, who "measured out his life with coffee spoons."

I will be also sending out traditional query letters--I'm not totally mad--but I will be offering prospective agents the option of clicking on my online synopsis and excerpts.

I spent three years working on I, Driven: memoir of a teen's involuntary commitment, which has gone through three titles, numerous revisions, and many cuts. The first draft, about 700 pages, took about eight months to write. This "final" version, trimmed to 415 pages, took over two years, and now, for better or worse, it's ready to go forth, out into the cruel world.

Here, I'll be blogging about this quest for an agent. I probably won't be posting every day because I do have other lives: as a teacher, an activist, and a domainer (probably not a very good one yet), and I tend to flit from topic to topic.

Such is the creative life.

Best, Jennifer

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