Well, I finally did it.
(Muse: Learned to write?)
Not quite. After finishing Pilgrimage and horsing it into a reasonable good shape, I started the submissions progress and began submitting to literary agents today.
This was a much more involved process than I would have believed. I read an absolute ton of information on the process, polled author friends, read back over my copies of Writer’s Digest, and maybe forty or fifty examples of successful query letters. E. L. Wagner (see links) was particularly helpful and offered up some good advice. It’s amazing that despite all the conventional wisdom on what a query letter should look like, there are an infinite number of variables that go into it. How do you know you gave yourself the best chance? Hell, I have already gone back over what I sent out and started second-guessing myself. Not that I misspelled a bunch of stuff or anything but minor stuff, like whether I should have put the word count towards the front instead of after the elevator pitch, or whether I should have said, “Dear Agent:” or “To Agent:” or “Attention Agent:” Sounds silly but this is brought on by reading all these shades of query letters out there. I am reminded of the old saying: A man with one watch knows the time, but a man with two watches is never sure. I am not sure.
I admit it: this process left me shaking and a little nervous. I don’t believe I was this nervous when I did my first short-story submission. I’m not sure why. Really What’s the worst that could happen?
(Muse: The agents could use your letter and manuscript as an example of what not to do? Set fire to your dreams and urinate on the ashes?)
Yeah the more I think about this, the more unsettled I am going to be. But what’s done is done and I need to have a little optimism. It’s the hands of fate now – fate, and some agents who I hope are having a good day and like my work. And assuming I am offered nothing but polite rejections, this is not the end of journey for Pilgrimage.
We shall see.