Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Making Mistakes

Once a writer has taken a few months to write a first novel, then he has to sell it. That is the hard part. It is almost as if Dr. Frankenstein has assembled the monster and now has to build a huge tower and try to catch some lightning. And another tower . . . and another tower . . . and maybe if he builds enough towers, lightning will strike one of them. It may not matter how well constructed the monster is, because until lightning strikes, the monster is still dead. Of course, if Dr. Frankenstein forgot to put in a heart and a brain in the monster, lightning will not help.

The usual first step in selling a book is finding an agent. For months I faithfully read 10 agent blogs, getting advice on how to "sell" to agents. Then for a month, every single post became repetitious, so I stopped. I had heard most of the agents' advice. That was two months ago.

I was bored a couple of nights ago and decided to read agent blogs. I found something new. Janet Reid, who has surprised me in the past, had some good advice--"Make More Mistakes, Not Fewer."

If you do not want to follow the link, I will tell you what she said. Authors tend toward trying to achieve perfection and, in the process, do not do enough. She recommends breaking many rules that most agents suggest following, such as only querying agents who regularly represent the author's genre, only querying one agent at a particular agency, and re-sending a query after a few months.

I got a start today on making mistakes by querying 55 agents. Previously I had painstakingly researched agents and weeded them down, querying 15 agents. The 55 agents I queried all said they handled fantasy, so I have not done the "full Janet" yet. But I figure that I should start with the most promising agents before continuing down the list.

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