Friday, November 21, 2008
The Eight-Legged Sage
Once upon a time, when the world was newish, there was nowhere for aspiring authors to go to learn about the publishing business. Oh, you could buy a lunkish brick of a tome that was out-dated before its ink was dry that purported to list agents and suggest ways to make a favorable impression when querying them, but at least half of the mysterious cabal declined to participate, and the advice was banal and lacking in gritty details and, well, spark.
Gotta have spark. That's my motto.
Nevertheless, my early querying was utterly spark-free; I plodded along through the swamps and thickets of rejection, unsure of whether i was just going in self-defeating circles. For tips I relied on eavesdropping on whispered snatches of conversations among "real" authors. I was starting to feel a little tawdry, to be honest.
Then one day I stumbled on a blog - a very special blog, whose very authorship was a matter of giddy speculation. I read it. Everyone read it. The revelations contained within were astonishing. Secrets as precious as rubies dripped from every post. The prose was unadorned and unequivocal. There was no coddling. I didn't care. The truth was plenty enough.
Eventually it reached the end of its lovely run. Still unagented, but infinitely wiser, I was sorry to see its end. But then another blog popped up, and another - both authored by a not-quite-as-mysterious, but still-plenty-elusive agent who took it upon herself to clarify whole great elements of the querying and publishing process. She pointed out where lay the minefields, ways to boost one's chances, describe one's work in the most flattering light, improve one's chapters.
Again, I read them. Everyone read them. You, friend, should read them. And learn.