Agent hunting sucks

So I’ve got my mysterious other project, right? Well, since it isn’t SF, the single most suicidal arm of the publishing industry, I’m trying to publish in that lovely way where I get things like advances. Because I live in fucking GEORGIA, one of the top ten shittiest states in the Union! (For those wondering, my top worsts lists all include over half the south and a good part of the midwest). And money is needed to escape the soul sucking blackhole that is this place.

Gods, it sucks, but it’s better than shopping the damned manuscript around to publishers – especially given that there’re publishers that won’t touch unagented stuff, or can taken several times longer to look at it or make a decision. In short, that agent can have her (MOST agents seem to be female, and all the ones I’ve found worth bothering with all have been, odd statistic but true – I offer no theories for why, because other than to note with curiosity the number of white women who’re agents I don’t give a flying fuck. My agent can be a gorram burro gelding if it’s competent at its job!) damned 15% and gladly because I don’t want the goddamned headache.

Of course looking for an agent is an adventure and headache in itself. Of course no two agents want exactly the same sort of info, so it’s a bit hard to make a standard query letter that you just change the name at the beginning of. Though after awhile I did mange it. They all want a different amount of the story for the initial sample. And then the wait. Gods, I hate waiting.

Some want up to three months, fuck that, some want as little as three weeks! Some fucking rejected e story in the same day I sent it. Others within 48hrs. Others took weeks, and some still haven’t answered. Oh, and some are so busy they can’t even be bothered, on an email they’re reading the sample from, to reply if they don’t want it! What the fuck? How?! Hit reply and copy paste a damned form reply! Oh that …

ONE agent gave a non-form response. It just wasn’t her cuppa. Okay, cool, I can live with that. The rest? No, no idea. Don’t know if they just don’t wanna take the genre, or what. Of course, there’s not telling – the reasons given could be bullshit, but it does help to think it’s the truth.

Looking fir the agents, oy what a task. Google is a pain in the arse! It is. I search once, I find a lot of agents I wouldn’t trust with watching my place in the lunchline, and two potentially good ones. Well … to be fair, a few more seemed legit, but they were only matching fir literary agent, not the rest of the damned criterion (hate modern search engines. I miss the days of boolean functions in the search). A few weeks later I search again and a few of the hokey looking ones were replaced with a handful of others. Then a few weeks after that I get a completely different set of results, almost all of them promising and relevant and had to give up when I,d spent over an hour sending queries, which is hard on the eyes. I said, “Fuck this, that’s plenty” and stopped.

Now I have to godsdamned wait. I fucking hate this part. Still, this will be interesting and educational. Hopefully I’ll get picked up by a good agent: I queried the agent Neil Gaiman (yes, THAT Neil Gaiman) is with, she was actually a reasonable match and one who has yet to reply. If I do, then I’ll get to sample both sides of the fence of publishing.

So far, I still won’t argue with anyone wanting to publish SF the DIY way. I find ever increasing call to say, “That’s a bad idea, mate,” every damned time I go looking for info on SF publishing. The advances are smaller and smaller, the royalties poor, and the agents and publishers set in their ways and unwilling to try something new (only genre I’ve seen with submission guidelines saying, and I pretty close to quote, “read our books, if you write that kind of stuff, we want you, if not, gtfo.”) and the agents are hardly better – worse, in fact, is the word that comes to mind. Other genres? Not so messed up, so I’m going to give ’em a fair shake. I might get lucky.

My hope is a nice advance to sort out some bills, and a few more advances for some other books I plan in that genre, some actual promotion (which will be interesting to witness, just to find out what that looks like), and wider distribution. In theory this ought to translate to higher sales. I’m not holding my breath. If this goes poorly I’ll just self publish all work from here out, but if it goes well I might go back & firth depending on the circumstances.

All-in-all though, I’m starting to regret having decided to hunt an agent. It’s nerve-wracking. I keep reminding myself, if it works out, it’ll be worth it, but I don’t listen to myself very often – I don’t always trust I know what I’m talking about. I mean, I’ve talked myself into sone awful stupid things before. Going to college was one of them. But that’s a rant for some time when I have thousands of followers and millions of fans. Talk about what a shitty scam college is then sit back and watch the fireworks as people regurgitate rhetoric and PR bullshit.

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