"Wherever men have lived there is a story to be told." Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Deep Winter


I don't profess to be a poet, but I dug out this old poem, which seems appropriate about now.

Deep Winter

Long shadows stretch across the snow,
A gentle breeze begins to blow,
The creek has long since ceased to flow.
It is deep winter.

The horses paw for grass now dry,
In snow that rises ankle high,
Moonshine lightens up the sky.
It is deep winter.

Jack Frost clings to puppy hair,
In early morning, nostrils flare,
The willow stands so calm and bare.
It is deep winter.

The sunshine blinds me in the morn,
The path I walk is old and worn,
My heart delights at a new day born.
It is deep winter.

--by Linda Sandifer
Use with permission only

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Email Queries: The Fast Food of the Publishing Industry

Okay, I'll admit it, I'm from the old school. I come from the days when you printed your query letters and sample material, put it all neatly into a brown manila envelope, enclosed a SASE, and deposited it into the mailbox with a pat and a prayer to send it on its way across the country. Then you waited, and waited, and waited for the day when the SASE came back with either a "no, we're not interested," or a "yes, please send the complete manuscript." Then you boxed up your masterpiece (again with return postage clipped to the cover letter) and sent it off to wait, and wait, and wait. Sometimes for months. But, the longer you had to wait, more was the hope that maybe the agent or editor on the other end was giving it thoughtful consideration. (Yes, in those days, you could actually send to editors without an agent.)

I will also admit that I find email queries a little nerve-wracking. How can you be absolutely certain that when they are opened on the other end that the line spacing will be right and the font won't come out in both Times Roman and Courier New? Worse, what if it falls into cyberspace? How will you ever know since many agents requesting email queries also state that they respond only if they are interested? This business is hard enough, but to be cast off without the courtesy of a response? That is truly a low blow to a writer.

Emails queries are, however, devilishly easy and they cost nothing. Plus, the rejections (if you get a response) come in fast and furious so you can go through a lot more agents in a lot less time! The upside of not getting a response (yes, I suppose there is one) is that you can convince yourself that your query didn't reach the agent at all, that it vanished into cyberspace. This delusionary tactic will allow you to bypass the heartbreak that goes along with a rejection letter.

So, I guess the process of sending queries has gotten easier. But sometimes after I've hit the "send" button, I get this really empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. It's sort of like eating fast food on the run; it just isn't quite as satisfying as a good home-cooked meal.