At the end of last week, finally, I sent off my novel, Hell Mary: Full of Fire, to a few agents. I started with my "it would be so cool if..." list of agents. These are folks whose reputations I know primarily because I've either met them or know the authors that they represent fairly well. Now I wait.
I will say, I wish there was one, universal set of information that agents want. I know each agent is a little different, but why do some agents want 50 pages, some 40, some 2 chapters, some 10 pages, some 5 pages, etc. Now, realistically, I'm pretty sure that an agent can tell if a book is one, good, and two, what they are interested in, within about 2 pages, max. They can tell they don't want it, for whatever reason, in about 2 paragraphs. Some want a synopsis, some don't. Some want a 2 paragraph synopsis, some want a 10 page one. Others want everything inbetween. It's a buyer's market, of course, so I do what they ask, but there comes a point where I want to scream. "Was it four pages? Or fourteen? ARGH!" And my question is "does it matter"? I mean, if I totally blow off submission guidelines, stalk the agent at her favortie restaurant, call his personal number, don't send anything at all, yeah, blow me off (or call the police), but you know, if I send an agent 32 pages and not 40, is it the end of the world?
The problem is that I see their point. As a teacher I find myself muttering "I gave you instructions. 4-6 pages. Not 15! or not 2!" and if they don't do what the assignment requires, it is very, very hard to get a passing grade. So I get it. Some of the point of submission guidelines is simply "can you follow directions?" Which also helps answer the question "Do I think I can work with this person?" Because no matter how awesome a story/novel is, if the writer is absolutely impossible to work with, why bother?
Well, here's hoping that the people who didn't ask for partials ask for them, and the folks who asked for a few pages ask for more, and the ones who asked for a lot of pages want to read the rest. Right?
Oh, and 75 and sunny at the Huntington Library and Gardens? THAT makes me understand why folks might like living in LA. The traffic? THAT reminds me that I can visit the Huntington once or twice a year. I don't need to live in LA, or indeed in California.
My favorite part of the Huntington art collection is the gallery of portraits, part of their permenant collection. The Blue Boy, Pinkie, Sarah what's-her-name (famous actress). The paitings are awesome. Of course, in the Library, the Ellesmere Chaucer almost makes me cry (yes, literally), as do first editions of Much Ado About Nothing and other gorgeous pieces they have. I love the physical arts (sculpture, painting, even manuscripts). I fully admit I don't understand much about them, but beautiful pieces of art make me cry, and I can't explain why. I guess that's one of the reasons it's art.
The Huntington Gardens were gorgeous, too. The Rose Garden is my favorite (and the Tea Room was yummy). All in all, a great way to spend a Saturday.
If nothing else it took my mind off the novel for a few hours. :)