Living in Paradise

The Polite Rejections

The Polite Rejections

Amy Cloughly, Warren Frazier, and Dan Lazar are literary agents that I don’t know and have never met. But I respect them and here’s why. I sent them a query letter about representing my new book Under the Sand. They responded and said no thanks but nice of you to think of us.

The point is that they responded. Busy, successful agents and they got back to me in less than two weeks. One even wished me good luck. The other two were courteous and friendly. That’s the mark of a professional, and I’m grateful for their time.

I think they missed out on a good book. But I’m sure their plates are full. And maybe I’ll have something that will speak to them in the future.

The other ten agents I sent query letters to have remained silent. Perhaps they are sorting their way through hundreds of other emails and haven’t discovered mine yet. Fingers crossed.

My feeling about securing an agent hasn’t changed since I started writing and self-publishing books ten years ago and decided that it wasn’t a great idea for me. Time and money were the big factors.

Hiring an agent, who is going to take fifteen percent if your book gets published, isn’t easy. Their names are all over the Internet, but figuring out who will be interested in your book and who won’t is, frankly, a crapshoot. Some of their resumes read like the old Playboy magazine descriptions from years ago. “I love books that speak to me and the greater universe … while I’m taking walks on the beach … and playing with my cats.” Others … “Send it in and if you don’t hear from me in three months consider your book query uninteresting, dull, and not worthy of any further attention from me. And if that is the case, I won’t be getting back to you, loser.”

I ask myself, should I keep on pursing an agent and hold off on self-publishing this little gem (my word)? Some of my literary friends say yes. The author from Kirkus Editorial said definitely (although I’m not supposed to quote him in any shape or form).

But three months? And then three years to get a book published, if at all? I’m certain I have at least another dozen books in me and the clock is ticking. If I didn’t want to go through the tedious and painful process ten years ago, why should I find it compelling today when I’m in competition with a million other books published annually in the U.S.?

So, here’s my plan. I’m printing two hundred copies for limited release in March to my best market—the little island where all the action takes place. I’ll get their reactions and then decide if waiting for an agent is something I really want to do. If you want a copy, email me at shanafee@yahoo.com and we’ll talk.

Tomorrow, I’ll give you a sneak preview. Let me know what you think. And be kind.