Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
You can probably find me saying on this blog at one time or another over the past four years that I’d never submit my stuff to an agent again. After 2008 or so, it looked like no agent would ever respond positively to a query (as in asking for the full ms), much less sign me again. I had just about exhausted the roster of agents who are interested in literary fiction, sending out all of my indie work over the years until I decided to self-publish. To be paranoidly honest, it felt like I’d been blacklisted somehow, though they couldn’t possibly be monolithic enough to communicate among one another like that … could they?
And yet, I’m going to postpone my latest book, which I’m calling We Were Together, so that I can test the waters with some agents. Yes, I must be a glutton for punishment.
It’s just that I think WWT is one of my best books, and it would be ideal if I could reignite my career with it coming out under the aegis of one of the Big 5 (or even a respected smaller press). That would set up the next book nicely — it’s already written too and has been collecting dust for quite a while now. After that, who knows, but it can’t happen if I don’t stick out my neck.
Dealing with agents over the transom is uncannily frustrating, as a lot of you know. They’re swamped with queries, and a lot of the material they have to look at is subpar. But they also know what they’re looking for, so if your project doesn’t line up with it to some degree they’re going to pass. They’ll also pass without reading much of it. You’re going, But the first big turning point is on page 50 and you’ve only read thirty pages! Don’t bother griping. They can tell. Something in those pages gave you away.
It feels like the right thing for me now, to give it the old college try one more time. I’ve already sent a query to my first-choice agent, but I’m also compiling a list of other candidates. It’ll take a few months to go through them. I’ll probably be complaining a lot here about the process. Forgive me, in advance.
Meanwhile, if you haven’t read my other books, it’s a great time to give them a shot. Here they are in all their glory. And look for my new “memoir,” In No Particular Order, next week.
Wish me luck!