“She didn’t have anything nice to say about you,” my dad’s wife said to me. “But I told her that we’d always gotten along just fine and I didn’t have anything to say about things that had nothing to do with me.”
“What’d she say to that?” I asked. I was 20.
My dad’s wife shrugged. “She said I was lucky.”
I laughed. “I guess it’s good know they still hate me.”
My dad’s wife, A., was talking about a woman that had come into the store to order flowers. That was my dad’s wife job then–silk flower arrangements. The woman was the sister of my dad’s second wife. Once the woman found out who A. was married to, she explained how I’d ruined that marriage.
The sister was right in a way. I’d left. Leaving brought the lawyers, child protective service people, the judge, and the old police records. Leaving brought in a machine that changed our lives. And Dad and my step-mother divorced.
I’ll take the blame.
When I wanted to leave my dad, I asked my mom to take me in. She did. While sending out query letters isn’t exactly the same as breaking up a family, there is that–take me, take me quality. I want out of my job and into this other, this creative life. Please help. But agents aren’t our mothers. They get to say no.
The agents who take the time to write a real note with the rejection say the same thing–well-written and compelling but not for us. Sometimes they add–enjoyed reading. If they’re not being polite, then I’m choosing the wrong agents to approach. I’ve gone over that Writer’s Digest book and the Jeff Herman guide and P&E and google and magazines and author acknowledgment pages, but I’m still picking the wrong people.
I’ll take the blame.
So, how do you pick the right agent? What keyword am I missing? How do you know you’re reaching out to the right person? What do you look for? Or how do you realize that your work is unmarketable and therefore unpublishable? Or does that sound pretentious?
The amazing thing about my art, is that I walked into this shop the other day, met the owner–a woman I didn’t know–and she accepted me on the spot. “I can sell these,” she said. “Bring them in and I’ll hang them today.”
My art is on store walls. My novel is on my desk. What does that mean?