WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Let the games begin

I’ll sell that book for you, son!

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!

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15 comments on “Let the games begin

  1. pinklightsabre
    May 30, 2017

    Good luck! I wish you that. The transom. I got confused here for a second; I thought you were going to try to get your memoir published but it’s the WWT book. (Great title for both.) I think that’s good, though I have no experience with it, the fact you’re still trying with the Big 5. And I’ll listen to your complaints, promise. Darkly, get to experience that from afar.

    • Kevin Brennan
      May 30, 2017

      Thanks mucho, Bill. Yeah, the memoir is just a collection of blog posts, so I wouldn’t try to get an agent for that. The novel, though — the novel I’m still naive enough to have high hopes for.

      • pinklightsabre
        May 30, 2017

        You should, naïveté be damned (or embraced).

  2. Mark Paxson
    May 30, 2017

    Good luck. Getting an agent is a mystery. A frustrating mystery. I wish you the best and look forward to hearing the good news when you snag an agent.

    • Kevin Brennan
      May 30, 2017

      Thanks, Mark. And it’s weird, because I’ve had several agents in my time, but somewhere in there the door seems to have slammed shut. We’ll see how it goes this time …

  3. islandeditions
    May 30, 2017

    It’s always good to give it the old college try, because you never know, and there’s a whole new herd of agents out there since you last went searching. As you know, in this biz you have to learn how to follow the advice of “Never Say Never”. You just never know …

    • Kevin Brennan
      May 30, 2017

      You’re so right. New names out there this time, and somebody might bite.

  4. John W. Howell
    May 30, 2017

    Yeah, Good luck. I think this is a good time for you.

  5. Carrie Rubin
    May 30, 2017

    Perfect title for your post because the whole agent-querying process is like a game indeed. A waiting game! Good luck! If anyone can do it, you can.

    • Kevin Brennan
      May 30, 2017

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Carrie! I know what I’m in for, so I want to keep expectations at a low simmer, but hope springs eternal, I guess. Doh!

  6. Audrey Driscoll
    May 30, 2017

    Good luck, Kevin! The flood of submissions (gah, I still hate that word!) to agents may be slowing now that so many writers self-publish, so they may be more receptive.

  7. 1WriteWay
    May 31, 2017

    You do what is best for you. Since you have self-published, any agent can take a look at your work and see the breadth and depth of what you do. You know I’ll be rooting for you 🙂

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This entry was posted on May 30, 2017 by in Writing and tagged , , , .
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