Fork in the Road

Week 19

Question to any writers – I really need your feedback: Do any other writers out there raise an eyebrow ala Mr. Spock when you’re told you have to have an agent because publishers simply do not have enough time to deal with the truckloads of manuscripts they receive on a weekly basis? I wonder, because my research on the Internet lists publishers who want manuscripts sent directly to them and not through an agent. And, as if in contradiction, there are multiple agent search engines and listings that, like the webinar I mentioned before, insist no debut author can get a big toe in the door without an agent.

Used to be Labor Day Weekend was the end of summer vacation and my parents’ last ditch effort to get my sister and me finish up some outdoors chores. I have memories of either obliterating my fingerprints or raising calluses on my fingertips weeding a rock garden and trying to crack open bushels of black walnuts with a hammer and pick. I still am not wild about walnuts, and I still feel as if some schools in life start right after Labor Day.

Plus ca change, plus ca meme. I’ve gardened and canned (replacing those quarts of tomatoes that I had to toss due to bad seals two weeks ago), and reorganizing my writing space. And I’ve realized there’s another school and subject matter I will have to learn on my own: writing sales.

Part of my Labor Day went to listening to yet another webinar on snagging the ideal agent and pushing forward into the Land of the Published Author. No, that wasn’t the title, but it could have been. The content covered 20 mistakes beginning or otherwise unknown authors make when they attempt to query an agent to represent them. Then came the expected sales pitch for query templates, lists and a lot of pre-assembled resources for a fee that would equal two weeks’ pay for me right now. In short, out of my budget at the moment.

I wish I knew which way was the One True Way to do this, if such a tack or process exists.

So the next few weeks will require distilling and adapting the 20 mistakes into something approaching a positive query. New skills to be learned here involved sales. Not the sales pitches from the media, but honest sales pitches. A veritable Mt. Denali to climb with unfamiliar tools. I wonder where that hammer and pick went?

Anyway, Ketivah vakhatimah tovah!L’shanah tovah, y’all!

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