Okay, I'm frustrated. Like the unemplyed who explain themselves by saying, "I'm between jobs," I am between projects. I don't know about the unemployed, but it makes me antsy, irritable, and a lot of other unpleasant things. My oldest son, Colin, said, "Read, Mom." Well, I am. I've bought and read so many mysteries that I'm sure Barnes & Noble stock has gone up. But I'm also frustrated for another reason. In late March, I sent that mystery I 'd worked so hard on to an agent recommended by friends who've been clients of hers for years and who, I found out, used to have the same agent I did until she died. The agency instructions were quite clear about what to include in a proposal, and I followed those to the letter, including what I thought was a pretty impressive cover letter. The instructions said, "Please allow ten weeks." Well, I did. But it's been well over that now. So last Sunday, I emailed the agent, not to demand a response, but to confirm that the material had been received. It struck me that it would be awful to finally inquire and have her say, "What proposal?" I got back an automatic reply that she was out of the office until the next day--Monday. So I knew the email went through to the right spot. But now, this is Friday, and I've still had no answer.
So what do I do? Email the friends who recommended her for advice? I probably will. Look for other agents? Yeah, but I hardly know where to begin. One other agent, someone with whom I have a passing acquaintance, has read the work, and he said, "I liked it but I didn't love it." He wants hard-boiled, and that's not me--we agreed on that. So how do I find an agent who wants cozy? (The agent I sent it to "is always looking for a good cozy.") I have had email correspondence with a highly successful author of Britsh mysteries who lives in Texas and who wished me well--but I hardly feel free to ask her agents name.
Now if I were Danielle Steele or J. A. Jance or any number of big-name authors, none of this would be a problem. I'd write whatever I wanted and know that someone would jump at it. And instead of waiting for an agent to reply, my agent would be calling, asking when the next work was available, etc. Do I write as well as some of those big names? No, a lot of them are much better than I am, their plots more skillful (Jamie, my younger son, says I'm poor at plotting, which is a gentle translation of what he said--and actually I was prett proud of the plotting int he mystery). But some others? Yeah, I'm as good as they are or better. It's partly a game of luck.
I could start another mystery, but that seems pointless if I haven't sold the first one. I could revise my cookbook, but I'm waiting for editorial direction on that. And I have an idea for an article and a children's book, but no one has bitten on that.
I know deep in my heart that this is a temporary dry spell and in a week, a month, whatever, I'll be moaning about all the work I have to do. But it's hard to live through these periods.
Excuse me, I have to go start that new Harlen Coben mystery I bought. Stay tuned for the trials and tributions--and maybe the triumphs--of a midlist author.