Onto the Author Salon
8 February 2012 |
I’ve been through this before. I spent months—years?—trying to get an agent for the book that became Song of the City (and that started off as “City as Commodity,” as only certain people will remember). Then it took the wonderfully dedicated literary agent Elizabeth Frost-Knappman of New England Publishing Associates about three years to sell the book. I’ve seen dozens of rejection letters.
Now, as I try to find a literary agent who handles fiction—and who is hungry to guide the career of a dedicated writer—the rejection letters are once again pouring in. They come by e-mail now, but alas.
I’ve given the manuscript to Paul Dry, a publisher I admire, with the hope that I WILL FLOOD YOU (as it’s still now called, perhaps temporarily) will fit into his pleasingly erudite list.
And I’ve joined what is a promising venture, the on-line book clearinghouse Author Salon. The idea behind Author Salon, which debuted late last year, is to provide agents and editors information on strongly conceptualized and carefully vetted book projects. To have a project up on Author Salon requires it go through three phases of peer review and critique. Then “marquee” projects become available to the agents and editors (and film people) who enroll in the site. In a sense, it reverses the current paradigm, which forces authors to do the searching.
The process so far has proven enormously useful in helping me to conceptualize the novel and talk about it coherently. Difficult to do when there are a dozen or so characters and sub-plots. Moreover, the critiquing process itself is a useful exercise—and all authors on the site are required to peer review.
In the meantime, an hour at Book Haven Sunday produced, among other things, 12th century The Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus and Eagles and Empire, a history of the Mexican-American War. Why these two books? They’re the beginning of research on the next novel, “An Interrogation of an Idealist” (a strong title, perhaps), which has been creeping into my head.
Drawing by Isaak Popkin