In my search for an agent, besides Writer’s Digest (and some other sites I might later address), another resource-overload I continually come across is Absolute Write Water Cooler. More than a few times, I’ve found useful, helpful information at AWWC, but I’m not at all a message board type of guy.
I got an account anyway. I just might become a message board type of guy.
As with this blog, joining AWWC is yet another effort to immerse myself in the vast community of literary-minded folk. And from everything I’ve seen, AWWC’s information is borderline endless. I’ve barely skimmed the surface of the tip of the apex of the iceberg that is AWWC. I trust I’ll find some amazing info and entertaining reads.
My only concern (aside from too much content) going in is seeing ancient posts on agents or agencies—it’s disheartening to read up on publishers and agents and think someone’s a decent fit for you only to remember (from seeing the post dates) that 2009 was eons ago. Perhaps the people I’ve read up on no longer feel the way they once did—something my exes know plenty about. (Just kidding. I don’t have exes—I merely kick people out of my super-exclusive fan club).
According to the web page, Jen’s got a soft spot for Middle Grade. +1 point for me.
She’s “open to all genres in this category.” +1 point for me.
In YA she’s looking for “smart stories that are layered, complex and unexpected,” +3 points for me (or so I tell myself).
Light Sci-fi? +1
She “appreciates big, developed worlds.” My world isn’t big, but it’s very developed through an extremely rich history which plays directly into the plot on multiple occasions and on multiple levels thematically and plot-wise. Perhaps this is a stretch, but I gave myself another hopeful +1 point.
From Literary Rambles, a nice site that compiles agent info from a number of sources and gives helpful links, I read that she’s interested in acquiring a “middle grade boy adventure. Something gritty.” Another hopeful +1 point… however, this particular bit of information is from way back in 2008, when t-rexes were still fighting for handicapable awareness and acknowledgement.
All combined, I had at least 8 things going for me, and I thought that was a good start. Good enough to hit up Jen and shove my product in her face.
So what do I do?
The first thing I tell her about my book is that it’s something she’s expressed no direct interest in—it’s a family-bonds story set in an adventure mystery. (-3 points right out the gate).
Granted, she says she’s open to “all categories” in middle grade, but wouldn’t it be better to start with areas she’s directly expressed interest in?
Maybe it doesn’t matter with Jen. Time will tell.
I then immediately waste an entire paragraph explaining how my story’s not something Jen’s expressed interest in, but is something else which might be a substitute. Not so sure if that was the best idea either, especially when agents are (seemingly) so quick to disinterest and deletion.
But here’s the clincher. I only just now went back and reread my query, and I’m kicking myself. Not once, not twice, but at least THREE times I made blatant grammatical errors. (-1,000,000 points for me).
Maybe the writing excerpt will pique her interest!
Perhaps. It’s still possible. But I’d be willing to bet she never even made it that far considering how I approached her and my glaringly poor editing skills.
My query went out on the 13th (six days ago) and there’s about a 6-8 week waiting period for replies, so we’ll see how things go.
Doing your research on agents and learning their lingo can only get you so far if you begin your query with stuff they’re not expressly interested in….