A literary agent, for any writer, is a great thing to have. At least, that's
what I hear. It's kinda like having a new car- everyone wants
one, but hardly anyone (on the average) can legitimately get one
without jumping through hoops. I personally think the true evil of being a
writer is wanting to get a story published. Why is it evil, you ask? Well, because
you need an agent to get published.
Well, there are normal magazines and Zines galore, but I've
got a greedier appetite than that. I want to put out a book. Sci-fi,
mostly, that's what I write (it's what I know, because, let's face it, LIFE
is a pretty damn good sci-fi story if you really look at it).
I recently bought a book that lists quite a large number of literary agents
and publishing houses. Quite a useful tool, if you ask me. Very helpful and
insightful. "Must send all manuscripts with SASE. No email queries.
Call only on Tuesdays. Second Tuesdays. At four." I cracked open that damn
book and just drooled for a few hours while drinking cigarettes and smoking
coffee (yes, I said that right). Out of nearly 1,000 names of agents, I came
up with a list of 10 who suited my needs and looked "right". The
rest scared me. There was one entry for an agent, I won't say which one, that
took up almost a full page- and they don't even accept sci-fi stories. There
was another that proudly stated that it was responsible for launching dozens
of new careers, but wasn't accepting new/unpublished authors anymore. A third
said, "Don't call us, we'll call you. If we don't call you, don't call
us." And that's just the agents!
The publishers listing was immensely large and broken up into more sections
than I could count. "Novels, Magazines, Zines, Poetry Collections, Poetry,
Magazine Anthologies, Periodicals that end in Y...." the list went on and
on and on. I was so intimidated by the sheer size of the publishers
listing that I completely bypassed it. After all, I'm looking to find an agent-
let the agent (if I ever get one) deal with finding a publisher, right?
Do actors have this much trouble finding an agent? Or is finding an acting
agent like shaking a nut tree- shake it hard enough and you'll have a pile of
'em at yer feet in no time? I wish I could just flip the book I just bought
upside down and shake it thoroughly until some names just flutter out of it.
That would make this SO much easier. But if it was that easy, then EVERYONE
would be selling books, wouldn't they? Hrm....
And so... I'm off to edit some of my short stories and perhaps a few chapters
of some of my books. When I'm done with that, I'll start sending out emails
and letters to agents, asking them if they want to represent me. Wish me
luck. I have a feeling that the opposition is stacked against me.