Tuesday, February 24, 2009

request for a partial

Last night, very late while I was waiting for my neighbor to get her clothes the hell out of the dryer so I could finish my load of darks, I sent off a query letter (and first five pages of the ms) to a literary agent. It's what I do: whenever I get a rejection from an agent, I find another one to annoy. Yesterday I got two form rejection emails, so I was a bit depressed.

On checking my hotmail account first thing this morning, I saw a reply from the agent I emailed last night. Oh, fucking hell, I thought. Don't reject me this quickly; I haven't even had my first cup of coffee. But imagine my surprise and delight when I opened the message and saw the words, "Thanks so much for thinking of me for this! Could you send along the first 100 pages..."

So, like, yay! I'll send him the partial ms after work, tell him he's got an exclusive (which means that I won't let any other agents read it while it's in his hands), and see if he wants to see the entire book.

In other news, last night I began making an outline of my next novel. I consider moving the story from contemporary times into the early 20th century, just before the Great War. We'll see.


  1. That's great news! Congratulations and good luck! This agent sounds really enthusiastic and interested in your work. I hope you keep your readers posted.

  2. Thanks! This is an agent I've been stalking since I read an interview with him months ago. I'm glad I was able to finally track down his email address.

    Like you, I write literary fiction (a term I loathe; I prefer "interpretive fiction"), and there are not many agents who have a strong interest in good, solid fiction from the Dostoyevski/Grass/Turgenev/Dickens et alias tradition. Many will say they're interested in literary fiction, but what I think they mean is that they want to see commercial fiction with pretensions of literature. Which statement itself sounds pretentious, I realize. Yet I stand by it.

    I like your blog, by the way. It's nice to see a writer actually writing about writing on the level of craft.

  3. Scott,

    I second Davin's congratulations, and I agree his blog is quite refreshing.

  4. Thanks a lot for the compliments, guys. I've avoid blogs and Facebook and all that stuff for a long time, and now I'm finding out what a cool community is out there. Scott, I'm just recently realized what you are saying about getting to the right agents. I assumed any agent who claimed to accept literary stuff was right for me, but as Im' finding out the agents of the writers I admire, I'm realizing that is a smaller group, but not tiny. It would be cool to talk about this more with you. I've been afraid to name specific agents in public -- just in case that matters. But, I'd be really interesting in sharing stories by email if you ever want to.

  5. David,

    I should be working, but I too am new to this blogging business and the online writing community. Also, I'm short on sleep and not able to do my employer's bidding with the diligence one might like. Sleep deprivation also makes my language stilted, as this paragraph shows.

    It's probably wise not to name names in public, so to speak, just as a courtesy to agents who probably do a fine job for the kinds of writers they represent. But if you want to compare experiences, you can email me at: scott@scottgfbailey.com. I know: I bought a personalized domain name. I have mixed feelings about it.

  6. Davin,

    I promise to stop calling you "David." Like I said, I am sleep deprived today!

    Scott (too lazy to log in)

  7. Congratulations!

    You're not the only one who has called Davin David.I've seen others type the same thing. :)

    I sure hope this agent works out for you! I'm so frightened to jump into the query trenches. It's good to hear successes! Best of luck!

  8. Oh that's wonderful! It's so nice to at least get to the next stage of rejection. Even if the agent ultimately decides to pass, you know you're on the right track once you start recieving requests for partials and fulls.

    And I like the idea of a historical setting.

  9. Lady Glamis and Tara Maya:

    Thanks for the well-wishes. And yes, even if nothing comes of this current agent's interest, it's all positive.

    I am considering writing a post about historical settings, because it occurs to me of late that I have some definite ideas about why historical settings appeal to me.