Monday, January 6, 2014

Trying to Get An Agent has Turned Me Into the Joker

It's not about the foreign rights, it's about ... sending a message.

Have you ever wanted something to happen and dreaded it happening all within the same moment?  It’s not easy to do.  It involves two disparate emotions flowing through your uh … internal feeling tunnels … simultaneously, and it’s a weird sensation.  I imagine it’s a bit like driving up the Holland Tunnel in the wrong lane.  In a bathtub.  Nude.

That’s how I feel about hearing back from an agent with my novel UNSEND.  Every few days (fine every hour) I go to my inbox to see if I’ve gotten an email from that stranger onto whom I’ve pinned almost five years of hopes and dreams.  Now, keep in mind, said person didn’t ask for this responsibility.  This is still a very one-sided relationship and she is undoubtedly considering many, many works to represent.  If she is the sun of my publishing universe right now, I’m at best, a Pluto.  And that’s Pluto the demoted dwarf planet, not even Pluto the furthest, coldest, smallest planet on the fringe of everything.      

So I really want to hear back from her and learn if she’s going to invite me to the dance.  Another possibility is an “It’s Not Me, It’s You” letter.  There really is no in between at this point.  I’ve sent a revised version of my book that I believe addresses the concerns she expressed with my first submission.  This rewrite will either appeal to her or it won’t.  It’s like brie, or blue cheese dressing.  (Hopefully it's like ranch.  Everybody loves ranch).  It wouldn’t make sense for her to suggest more rewrites at this stage without an offer of representation, so this will be an all-or-nothing response.  There is, undoubtedly, a line of wonderful submissions waiting their turn behind mine.  If I didn’t accomplish what I set out to do with this rewrite, there is somebody else waiting in the wings who can and will, or did and has with theirs.  And I truly wish them the best. 

Remember that scene in The Dark Knight when the Joker is standing in the street watching the Batcycle scream toward him?  In his deranged (and typical) state, the Joker was mumbling to himself.  “Come on.  I want you to hit me!  I want you to do it, I want you to do it.”  He was twitchy, he was agitated.  And he was excited.

That’s me checking my email.  “Come on.  I want you to email me!  I want you to do it, I want you to do it.”  Do I really?  I don’t actually want to be rejected.  In theory, I only want that email to show up if it’s a positive response.  But I also want to make progress, and that requires accepting that there are two ways forward from here.  So with nothing but lint and knives in my purple, hand sewn suit, I stare down my inbox and invite that moment.  I feel the emotions.  Excitement, dread, anticipation, apprehension.

It’s time for a breakthrough or a breakdown.  They'll probably feel about the same at this point.

Come on.  Email me!


1 comment:

  1. Waiting is the worst part of being an author!! good luck!