I am horrified — I am not ready. I feel like I am giving up a child for adoption.
Wow – what a lot of reading and research this week; all focused on one publishing company: Greystone Publishers in Vancouver. I began with Greystone for a few reasons: they publish one of my favorite writers: Wade Davis; I love the way he writes portraits of peoples and places and the stories both tell. Greystone also recently published a book by an acquaintance of mine from the past: Mark Leiren-Young: The Killer Whale Who Changed the World, it is a wonderful read. And, while studying Greystone’s website, I found a new writer, Candace Savage, whose memoir I read yesterday. A Geography of Blood is a captivating memoir laced with lyrical knowledge of the land she travels – that is indeed a bit like my writing style. And, finally Greystone is a good fit because they support unique Canadian voices writing literary non-fiction; that’s me.
The exciting news is that Greystone is accepting unsolicited submissions. The horrifying news is that Greystone is accepting submissions – I could send them a submission. I am not ready. I still need to do more hunting to see if I can find an agent that works with Greystone. This is a one shot-deal. I am thinking about hiring a professional, published writer, to read my manuscript. They cost about $40 an hour, I am worried about the length of my manuscript – it is short: 4500 words; a crisp 45000 words, it moves along at a fast pace, which I like.
Doubts and more doubts.
Following the advice from my research, and the instructions from Greystone, I have created a package for submission that is tailored specifically for Greystone. I had to change the name of the manuscript, well – I didn’t have to, but I change it all the time, so. Next Post: my submission to Greystone – maybe.
When I left Canada, I wanted the world to humble me, I wanted to get my lily-white skin dirty, and I did. All bundled up in the belly of a giant greyhound with blinders on traveling south-southeast, I was on a quest that took me through the U.S. and as far south as Honduras. Stopping in unexpected places, I let chance decide my destiny; living for months without any cash, trading my skills for food, a bed, beer and stories, I made friendships with Zapatistas’ in Chiapas, Mayans in Guatemala, and Garifuna in Honduras. I met a man who changed my life. He was an old man with purple ankles, rum soaked breath and bushy eyebrows that swept across my cheek when he whispered in my ear, “Let go.” And, I did.
The Hunt Begins:
“When writers ask, can you find me a literary agent?” they don’t realize it’s kind of like asking me “Can you find me the right spouse?” Janet Friedman
Janet Friedman makes me think we need a kind of match.com for authors and agents.
I read a good book, a little dated, but still — How to Find (and Keep) a Literary Agent lays out a clear and sensible path for looking for a literary agent, and the e-book includes a free upload of How to Write a Query Letter. I’ve been online for several hours reading Blogs and Websites for writers, agents and publishers, made a long ‘cut and paste’ list of Agents and Agencies in Canada, to begin.
This is the first step:
- Find a friend who has a friend who is either an agent or a published author who 1) will read my manuscript and a) love It and b) knows, or has a friend who knows, an agent or published author who is a ‘good fit’ for the manuscript, and c) recommend that person to read the Synopsis
- Research agents and create profiles that include:
- The books they have helped to publish
- Read reviews and find the books that are similar to THE CENTRE OF THE COMPASS
- Read the most recently published of those books before contacting those agents
- Blog once a week and work hard at gathering followers who might find me followers who might be a friend of a friend who knows …..
- Read ….
Next Blog, I want to write about the genre of ‘Fictional Memoir’ – what does it even mean?
Looking for a literary agent is hard work, harder than writing a book. After reading one informative book on the subject, How to Land (and Keep) a Literary Agent, and a two-day goggle blitz of reading Blogs and articles about the dangers and pit falls and necessity to “do your research” before approaching an agent. Apparently, there are crooked agents that feed off novice writers hoping to publish — I hadn’t thought of that. One thing all the research agrees upon is that I need a ‘Platform’ if I want to find the agent I am looking for, and I hope is looking for me. This is the beginnings of my Platform.