Looking for a job


Do you remember when you were fresh out of college or university and wanting to find that perfect job in the field you just spent four years studying?  You got money from your parents to buy the perfect “power outfit”, perhaps an attaché case to look more professional, and then you set off in search of gainful employment.  You arrived on time for each interview and got told the same thing from each prospective employer – come back when you’ve got some experience.  As you left the interviews, the thought in the back of your mind got stuck on a crazy loop in your head and played incessantly – if nobody will give me a job, how can I gain the experience I need?

Looking for a literary agent is much the same for a debut author.  It took more than four years, from conception to finished product, for me to write my first novel.  I put more focus and emotion into creating the story than I ever expended in college and I am truly proud of the finished product.  The people who have taken the time to read it have loved it.

But convincing an agent to give the whole story a chance is like applying for a job with no real world experience.  Those first five or ten pages you submit are like your first two minutes in a job interview, they are introductory and don’t really give the person reading you enough time to see what you are really about.  They can only judge you based on a succinct appraisal that doesn’t give your story time to prove itself and, in the end, they prefer an author who has been previously published.  In other words, they don’t want to give the job to people who don’t have experience.

This post is not an attack on literary agents, by any means.  I get it.  They receive a plethora of emails from thousands of people who think they could be the next Dean Koontz, Nicholas Sparks or J.K. Rowling.  Their email inboxes must feel like a revolving door, having multiple queries thrown at them every time the door makes a new revolution.

My intent with this post is not to blame literary agents for being so busy.  My intent with this post is to merely put a wish into the universe that, one day, that revolving door will find a giant foot wedged into it allowing my query to fall into the right inbox at the right time.  Just maybe, I can impress someone enough to have them read the whole manuscript and to get the job without having previous experience.





Putting yourself out there


Trying to find a literary agent is much like putting yourself on an internet dating site.  You spend a great deal of time stressing over how to describe yourself and your work without sounding obnoxiously confident but you have to nail that very fine line between determination and arrogance without exaggerating either of those things.  Contrary to internet dating, that agent is only looking for one very specific thing and if you don’t have it, they move on.

I have never been comfortable being the person to profess my strengths.  I can write for days about subjects that have nothing to do with me, but words vanish as soon as I have to point them in my direction.  I am extremely happy with the final product of my first novel and so are my Beta readers.  I want nothing more than to find an agent or a publisher who believes in it as much as I do.  But that process is much more daunting than staring at that first blank page, knowing that you have to string together over 80,000 words in an articulate and entertaining way.

Agents and publishers who are not interested in your work will not dangle bait in the water to see if you bite.  They are more than willing to move on to the next pond because there are so many fish and so few anglers.  An agent can’t even cast a line into a body of water without a frenzy of fish ready to fight to the death for the rare hook that shines in the distance.  In a sea of Piranhas, I feel like I am the poor carrion waiting at the bottom to be consumed by the predatory beasts with the sharper teeth.

(image credit)

But there is always hope.  I know that one day, those Piranhas will have distracted themselves by something very shiny and I will be in the right spot in the pond at the right time, staring at a hook that was meant to catch only me.  And like every angler who is waiting for the “big one” knows, it’s all about patience.


Screw it, Ray Bradbury….something GOOD this way comes


For the first time in my life, I feel like I am in the right place at the right time.  Something good is about to happen.  It may not be news-worthy to the world but it will affect me immensely.  I feel it.  I feel it like the Earth feels the tidal pull.  I feel it like the horizon feels the sun rise being birthed from its shores.  I feel it like the night sky feels the first star burning its light into the blackness.  It’s there…..and I can almost reach out and touch it.  I just don’t know what it is.

Many things have happened to me throughout my lifetime.  Some of those things have been wonderful and some have been stored in the vault of memories titled ‘lessons’.  The culmination of all of those events has brought me to where I am now.  Because of those situations, I have gained confidence where I used to wallow in self-doubt.  I have achieved a level of comfort in who I am as a person.  And I have grasped the definition of what I want in my life.  It took me 46 years to get here but the journey was worth it.  I have finally allowed myself to be the person who was hiding in my own shadow.


(image credit)

Sure, there are moments I fall back into the secluded darkness of that shadow but those moments are fleeting.  Those junctures of time only serve to remind me of who I once was and who I have since become.  I feed on the strength I have gained.  I thrive on being the person I was meant to be and I hold fast to the lessons that each of those bumps has etched into the road that is my life.

There will always be moments that I shall forget the tenacity that has brought me to my now.   There will forever be junctures in my life that I may lose sight of the higher roads that I have taken.  But I can only take comfort in the fact that the skin I am cloaked in now fits me as it should.  I can take solace in the conviction that I have learned from each lesson I was taught.  And I can count on the feeling that I am where I need to be and that something good IS going to happen…..and it’s going to happen to me.