Tuesday, March 4, 2014

"Only seven guineas. That--or thereabouts" a very intensely dull writing update

I have finished a detailed revision of my novel Go Home, Miss America. Very soon I will begin to query literary agents about representing the book. I have had agents before, so I know the drill, you boys. One must consider carefully how to pitch one's wares. The novel is maybe sort of a cross between Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda and Kingsley Amis’ Lucky Jim. I can’t say that in a query letter. The novel is set partially at a major university. That’s probably not something to put into my query letter; "campus" novels (which this isn’t) are not in vogue. The novel asks existential questions about meaning in life. I can’t say that in a query letter, either. Readers want plot, not purpose. Tread lightly, yes? The novel’s protagonist is an educated young woman with sincere religious faith. I very likely can’t say that in a query letter. The novel is funny. I can say that in a query letter. There are goats. That’s probably safe, too. There’s sex and violence and profanity. Does that increase the marketability of the book? I’m certain that it does. Or it doesn’t. Anyway. It’s a pretty good novel, so we’ll see. Tomorrow I'll quote some witty and insightful Henrik Pontoppidan bits. You will enjoy that one.

14 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Scott! That's wonderful news and a big accomplishment. Hooray! I'm also excited to see the news on the right!

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    1. Thanks, Davin! The new cover is very pretty. I tell Mighty Reader that it's "masculine" and she hesitates to answer. "If you say so," she finally says. I like it. Serpents and bears and stars.

      I still have to type up all of my revisions to the ms in Word(tm). That will be hell. I really hate entering changes. I really hate Word(tm).

      I am working on my list of ten books for your blog. Soon, I promise!

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    2. Maybe it's time you got an intern to type in your words for you? Or to bring you scones while you are typing in your own words?

      I also think you cover is pretty. And I say that in a very masculine way. It would make a great tattoo.

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    3. Yes it would. A very pretty, masculine tattoo.

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    4. It's true, it's true. Put the starry bear-thing right across your eye sockets and then the word "Astrologer" across the middle of your face so that each of your nostrils represents an O. Bears are manly and there is an O in Lion, which makes "Astrologer" twice as masculine as a lion.

      Made radiant with triumvirate potency you will never need to write a query letter again; just fix a photograph of yourself to the page and watch the offers tumble in.

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    5. Malasarn, I believe we are being mocked. Yes, I believe she mocks us.

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    6. It's not mockery when the logic is this perfect.

      I wish you best of luck, though once that radical kirituhi-moko is in place you will not need it.

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    7. Well, we shall just see, won't we?

      Also, I keep forgetting to say that I've been enjoying the stories on "The Secret History of the World." They are much better than Lydia Davis' short fiction. Unless you are in fact Lydia Davis, in which case, well done, but you should lay off the aphorism thing although I know it's been good for you financially.

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    8. Good grief, I'd forgotten the Secret History. I think there was a flying dog in there somewhere. Would not mind being Lydia Davis, as it would mean that I'd be able to speak flawless French and read Proust in the original. I do not envy you, trying to find a publisher. I had a shot at that once. All of the agents I looked at had published the same book about two twins whose father had just died & I retreated in despair.

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  2. I wish you much luck, Mr. Bailey! Querying is a weird sea to navigate. Blech. I, too, am happy to see the news on the right! :)

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  3. I have just turned in an author questionnaire (Monday), recorded all my edits (Tuesday, and I, too, hate entering in all those little niggling changes), and sent off a ms. (Wednesday). So today I am overhauling an already accepted novel for some mad reason (i.e. got a bee in the bonnet over a structural idea.) I am wholly in sympathy with your dislike of entering changes. And then rereading to find accidentally-introduced errors. Etcetera. However, I am far too lazy to look for another agent. I'll probably never have another agent because of said laziness in matters of business. But luck and energy to you! I hope you find one who is hungry and likes you (but not too much because that also is a problem, I find.)

    Umbagollah is funny. This is for her: http://www.chethams.org.uk/treasures/treasures_pigmy_revels.html

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    1. Gift much appreciated. I'm still trying to parse that thing on the wall behind Harlequin in the last image. Suspect that whatever I describe it as, it will not be the object that the artist thought he was engraving.

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    2. Yes, it is strange. Looks like a peanut-shaped shroud with a body inside. Or maybe a crude anatomical drawing of female parts with emerging dressed baby?

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