Finding a Literary Agent

For those who have never tried, let me tell you: Finding a literary agent interested in getting your book published is hard, at least for me. I thought writing a novel was difficult, and it is, believe me. But writing query letters! That’s another whole type of writing with which I am neither familiar nor adept.

How does one distill 15 important characters, multiple plot lines and conflicts, and 95,000 words into a hook that grabs an agent’s attention? Obsessive whale boat captain drags his ship and crew all over the world and eventually to destruction in search of the white whale that took his leg. Well, that’s easy. And I think it is easy because 1) it is an archetypal story, 2) we all know the story, and 3) we have distance from it, i.e., perspective.

No one knows the nuances of a novel, the characters, the twists, like the author. The author has spent so much time and effort in the trees getting each character just so, developing the structure so that everything holds together, and building to the climax, that the writer has trouble stepping back and seeing the forest.

Still, the work goes on. Surely if I can complete a 95,000 word manuscript, I can polish a query letter into shape!


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