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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Finding an agent is so interesting

In the last year I have circulated my epistolary novel, around town and by town I am stretching the term to its pandemic meaning. Anyway, my query always generates lots of interest. Many agents and publishers have responded with Yes, send it. Over and Over. Then . . . I wait. Then rejections . . . contradicting each other.
"It is well written and we are moved by it . . . but can't take it on right now."
"Good luck with someone else."
"We find it interesting but in today's world of publishing there are too many books are out there and not enough readers. Good luck elsewhere."
"It is too short."
"It is too long."
"It is too multi layered."
"It is not layered enough."
"It is not poignant enough."
"It is too poignant."
"We just plain don't think it right for us, but some other agent/publisher may feel differently."
"Don't give up."
"It isn't chocolate mint chip enough!"
......bla bla bla.

It is all so funny to me.
Really. I have no doubt that the right person will finally "get it," and the novel will be published. It is just a matter of time. And the journey to that entity that agent/publisher is fraught with ups and downs, hopes and expectations, duels with words, and it is all part of the struggles and challenges of being a writer: Getting someone to believe in what one has written. This apparently is the only way to validate the writing at all.....Hmmm. It is all so amusing and ironic because what makes a writer more worthy than another says so much about "who" is doing the reading.

Apparently not enough people are out there doing much "reading." The act alone conjurs up too much work complain many of my students here at University. They don't like to read...they would rather IM or text or just plain watch a movie about a subject instead. Why read Herodotus when you can see 300?

Why read any history book about Native Americans and the U.S. goverment's genocidal treatment of them when you can view Disney's Pocohantas?

Yikes! Kill me now.

I see my challenge as an English professor, especially with incoming freshman, to make them want to put aside the Ipod, the laptop, the Shuffle, the Blackberry, and whatever else is still to be invented to cut short holding an actual book with printed paper and valued font on it in one's hands...if only for a little while and fall in love with the words on the page. Helping and guiding students to "get it" and by doing so "get" themselves and more of who they can be, will be, and what they can and should contribute to their world and that of succeeding generations. When they enter my classroom I don't greet them with "Enter future Masters and Mistresses of the Universe" for nothing. I know they will get it and they will conquer.