July 21, 2006

Whas a guy gotta do?

Y'all can read a basic query letter template for my first novel, Jumping The Stream, here. I've tried only five agents so far; the two superstars I sent it to passed ("not right for my list"), and I've not yet heard from the other three.

I think I may have spent more time on the query letter than I did writing the entire first draft of the novel. (That old saw, "I can give you 30 pages in 2 days, but I'll need 30 days to give you 2 pages.") Anyway, the novel is really women's literary fiction; more literary than chick-lit, not quite as self-impressed as literary fiction. It takes a new approach to an old story. It has an historical aspect yet does not fit the historical genre. Just the other day, I read that these things are exactly what editors are looking for right now.

Gives me hope despite the two rejections, yet the jury is still out. How do editors feel about male-authored women's fiction? How do editors feel about an aspect of lesbianism that is integral to the story? (OK, I know the answers: Editors don't care; they only care if they can sell the book. So I guess the questions really are about whether editors feel they can sell books with those characteristics.)

The results of a straw poll are impossible to gage. 50-50. But sometimes that happens with a sample of two. What do you think? Is there hope for this book? (Assume that it's competently written, that the characters are interesting and sympathetic, and that the story holds together. Obviously without those, the other questions are moot.)

I am not terribly discouraged by my two rejections thus far. They come from the very best at times when those agents are brimming with clients. It's like I decided I wanted to play soccer professionally and took my first tryouts with Manchester United and Real Madrid. Shoot for the moon, right?

Update on my first published work: The first issue of Thereby Hangs A Tale is going to print pretty much as I write this. So all of you who subscribed should receive your first issue in the mail probably between late August and mid September (that's my guess, not a commitment from the publishers). All those of you who've not subscribed: C'mon, pony up! I only get two contributor copies (plus my subscription copy, I'm hoping), so don't expect me to send you one unless you gave birth to me or paid for my college education. That pretty much narrows the field.

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