Friday, October 1, 2010

First Contact

Yesterday, after six months revising and nearly three years writing my novel and over a decade before that of failed attempts, aborted story ideas, and general foot-dragging, I finally took my first baby steps into the business end of the book world.  No I’m not published yet not by a mile, but for the first time, I interacted (sort of) with an honest-to-goodness literary agent and a tiny piece of the literary world.  It may not seem like anything to those actively immersed in the world.  To me, however, Publication* is now no longer a mythical city on a hill, but an obtainable, albeit challenging, reality. 

I’ve spent the last ten years working on an ambulance.  Wonderful people, but not exactly the literati.  It’s been difficult just finding people to read my manuscript, finding like-minded souls to muse about the peculiar life of a writer, particularly an unpublished one.  I work a crazy amount of hours, and of course there are no writing groups in my immediate area.  My friends are all paramedics, EMTs, and firefighters; it would be tough starting a reading group, much less one for writers.  Therefore, like the solitary witch, I write without a coven; I edit with only an inkling of feedback.  And as I put the finishing touches on my manuscript and prepare with trembling hand to send that first query letter into the world, I do it alone.

Which was why this seminar was so important.  To hear from an agent in her own words exactly what she’s looking for, to have her address my questions and even look at my pitch proposal gave everything weight; it made it all real.  I can get Published; it’s hard work and could take years, but I know it’s possible.  There are people like me, no experience, no background in publishing, that every day are selling  their manuscript, or finding that perfect agent who’s passionate about their work.  I’m in the game now.  It’s the fourth quarter, I’m down by three touchdowns, and my offensive line has snuck off to Applebee’s, but I’m in the game.

As I get older, so much about life seems to involve endings.  This, however, is a beginning, and a big one.  And beginnings are so much better.

*I've decided to capitalize Published and Publication until I am Published.  Or until I get tired of it.

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