Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas Comes a little late This Year… And so does this blog entry!

I suppose the first thing I should warn you is that the title of this entry is misleading.  With Christmas and the New Year having just passed, it’s inaccurate to say Christmas comes late this year.  Actually, it came late last year, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

If you’ve learned anything about me since I started this blog it’s that I’m a writer still trying to break through the glass ceiling of the publishing world.  In my last post, I alternately pined for a writer’s pipe dream of publication and Hollywood movie rights and the like and longed for the simpler goal of an offer of representation.  One or both of these, with the latter being a more realistic option, was the only thing I really wanted for my 2010 Christmas gift.

Let me first make sure I clarify that I had a wonderful holiday. My family and I enjoyed the pleasure of each other’s company and were fortunate enough to be able to exchange gifts. There was good food, good fun, and a lot of laughter when a few gag gifts made the rounds. While the day came and went without that email or phone call from an agent to say my latest work was the greatest literary find of the decade, I still felt happy and satisfied and enjoyed a much needed break from what can sometimes be the grind of this career I’ve chosen.

Once the Christmas holiday passed, it became time for New Year’s resolutions. I made a few but only one that matters here.  I resolved that 2011 would be the year I took another step forward with my writing career. Let me digress for a moment and say that for the most part I’ve had an upwardly mobile and enjoyable writing career. No, I’m not making money hand over fist and I’m not a nationally recognized name, but I’ve had my own version of success. I’ve seen my name in writing and had the honor of being told my writing has changed people’s lives. I’ve reached new fans and met great people and gained a greater respect and admiration for this nation’s military. Still, I can’t break that deep rooted desire to take my writing to the next and highest level.

I’m certain I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve queried dozens if not hundreds of literary agents in the past year. Though I’ve had a few nibbles of initial interest, I haven’t been able to get the fish to bite. That changed on December 31, 2010.  I received an email from a literary agent that included an offer of representation for a young adult novel that I’m particularly passionate about. This offer came from an agent just starting out who’s managed to develop a client list and make a few sales already. The decision that was mine to weigh was whether or not I wanted to enter into the contract with her. It was a standard contact and nothing raised any red flags. The issue I needed to consider was whether or not I was willing to take a chance on a new agent who deals primarily in small publishing houses. Was working with this agent going to land me the dream of a six figure book deal? Anything’s possible, but the answer is more likely to be no. Did that mean I shouldn’t give her a chance? After all, aren’t I a new writer asking agents to take a chance on me? Why shouldn’t it be a two way street?

After some careful consideration, I came to the conclusion that I’m going to accept this offer. I don’t know where it will take me. Landing an agent doesn’t guarantee publication. This is a lesson I learned the hard way some time back. It does, however, increase your chances and get your foot in doors you might not otherwise be able to get in. I told myself 2011 would be the year I took the next step forward with my writing. I’d have to say this is a pretty good indicator I’m doing it.  Wouldn’t you?

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