A Painful Compression, All For The Elusive Agent

I’m losing fingernails, eyelashes, and eyebrow hair at an alarming rate.  I do tend to pick away at these a bit in general, when I’m writing and when I was studying, but as stress picks up so does the picking.  And the tearing.  And such.

Have sent the novel to three literary agencies, so far.  Been turned down once, still waiting to hear back from the other two.  Currently trying to prepare the material to send to a fourth.  They request a description of the story comprising 2-3 sentences within the cover letter.  I’ve written several cover letters already, but the agencies they were composed for weren’t specific about the length of the novel description – last time I wrote two paragraphs, about eight sentences, I think it was.  That was difficult to pull off, but manageable.

The novel is 473,452 words long (a death sentence, I know, for a first time author … it honestly wasn’t meant to happen …).

Having a bit of trouble compressing that into 2-3 sentences.

Pulled if off so far by using dashes and semicolons, and having incredibly long sentences.  Unfortunately, I’ve read that simple, short sentences are best in cover letters.  Lots of other stuff to prepare for the submission (even more for a fifth, character and chapter profiles and such, pretty intense, but looking forward to putting that together), so I’ll put the letter aside and look at the description again in a few days – hopefully I’ll have a burst of brilliance, and I can either edit what I have or create something entirely fresh that perfectly describes my dear tome.

Anyone have any tips?  Recently cut an epic down to a tweet?  Well, not quite that small, but … still.  I’d love to try out any pointers you have 🙂

On a related topic, literary agencies in Australia that are current accepting manuscripts, more specifically fantasy manuscripts, are few and far between, aren’t they?  A bit depressing, really.  Suppose if I can’t get anything here, I’ll be brave and see if I can give any UK agents a go, or something.

It’s fairly clear I am no expert at this, isn’t it.  I’m probably not going about my submissions and such in the best way.  But (as I’ve been saying to myself any number of times of late, in as reassuring a self-tone I can muster), I’ve got to start somewhere.  Read and continuing to read a bunch of internet stuff that should help with submitting work to agents and publishers, but this professional authoring world I want so badly to enter is a strange, confusing sort of place, no?  I really do need an agent to help me navigate.


4 thoughts on “A Painful Compression, All For The Elusive Agent

  1. I’m in the same boat here in the UK. There aren’t very many agents accepting fantasy here either. So far I’ve had four rejections, and haven’t heard back from one agent that I sent things to several months ago, so lost hope on that front too.

    At over 473,000 it’s not surprising you’re having trouble writing a short summary! I guess the main thing to remember is just the very bare bones of the plot. It’s hard to be specific without seeing your actual mini-synopsis. I know it was very painful trying to cut down my synopsis from 5 pages to 1, but eventually I managed it.

    Here’s to successfully finding an agent! Hang in there.

    • Thanks for the encouragement 🙂 shall try to focus on the bare essentials, but there are so many characters, and so many plot lines … blarg. I’ll stop complaining now, did enough of that in the post. Keep slogging away looking for your agent – sending you all the luck I can. Those rejection letters won’t get to us!

  2. Lots of luck Beth!! You’re doing the best you can, and it is an enormous learning curve! Have you tried the Queensland Writers’ Centre – can’t remember the website but if you Google ‘Queensland Writers’ Centre’ I’m sure you’ll find it. Don’t think you’re not qualfied etc – we’re all in the smae boat as far as finding literary agents, publishers, so just keep doing what you’re doing; I think persistence is the key. Don’t lose heart (not easy to do), but keep at it and you’ll get there. Again, good luck!!

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