1.103 virus closing in, agents

Saturday 3/14/2020

Breakfast in our dining room. Then out for a walk, largely unproductive. My first stop was the site of the Saturday Farmer’s Market, looking for dried apricots and dates; but the parking lot was empty. In the morning’s paper was a list of farmer’s markets open and closed, and this one wasn’t mentioned either way. The Sunday Palo Alto market was mentioned as still open, so I’ll try it tomorrow.

Then across to the bank (SFCU) to deposit a check, the one from IBM Via Benefits. Maybe I should try again (the fourth) to get their direct deposit to work.

Now up the Ave to the Apple Store, where I was going to kick the tires of an iPhone XI again and possibly buy one. But of course, the store is closed. The Apple Genius at the door explained they would be closed for two weeks; he was on duty at the door to help people who wanted to pick up repair orders.

Back to the flat to research literary agents. There’s a great site, AgentQuery, where you can search registered literary agents on all kinds of criteria. I found several who welcome new submissions, AND middle-grade, AND science fiction. Now to read the submission guidelines of each, which are of course all different. Of the ones I thought looked feasible for my book,

  • Russel Galen: “Send us an unadorned, unaccompanied letter as your first step…”
  • Julia Grinberg: ” please send a query letter and the first fifty (50) pages of your manuscript… as a .docx file”
  • Scott Miller: use the contact form below and “include only a paragraph about yourself, a brief plot synopsis and your contact information”
  • Peter Rubie: “send a query letter with a synopsis of your book, your bio, and the first two chapters (no more than 30 pages) embedded in the body of your email” not as an attachment
  • Andrea Somberg: “a short synopsis of your work, an author bio, and the first five pages of your manuscript (pasted into the body of your email, no attachments please)”

After lunch I returned to this. Instead of trying to manage all the different agency sites in browser tabs, I did what I should have done to start, and made a spreadsheet. This whole business of submitting to agents is tedious and depressing. From posts in writer’s forums I know it is typical for them to take a month to a year to reply. Several note that they only reply when they want to see more; “no reply means no”. But it’s a bit hard to distinguish between “no reply” and “reply after six months”. Oh well.

Spent some time, and must spend quite a bit more, crafting that most import little prose passage, the cover letter with synopsis. Many iterations of that to come, as well as some online browsing; I know I’ve seen blog posts somewhere about “how to write a cover letter”.

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