And so it begins... Part 2a - Turning an idea into a cozy mystery series, and the bumps along the way. Especially trying to find an agent!
So, using the advice from the agent I wanted to impress, Jessica Faust of Bookends, I read some of her clients' cozies and conceived an idea for a series based on a vintage cookware/cookbook collector. I began to plan it out, (that, by the way, is a lot of fun; creating a series is like starting life over, inventing where you want to live, building the perfect house and surrounding yourself with all the stuff you like... cool!) worked out the plot, wrote the synopsis and three chapters. Finally, I thought... finally, I am getting close to being ready to present Proposal Number Two to Superagent Jessica Faust. I wasn't quite there, but I wanted to be sure I was on the right track.
Four! Not one, not two, not even three freaking months, but FOUR. Four long, difficult, tiring, anxious... okay, I think you got it. For a starving and anxious writer - I was without a book contract for the first time in ten years - four months is a long, long time. It was September, and she wasn't open to queries again until January 18th, 2010. See, I remember the date! That's how anxious I was.
Writing Tip: When approaching an agent, take time to look over their website and check out their query/proposal preferences. Tailor your proposal to what they like to see, and you'll give yourself a boost in the dicey game of finding an agent.
But... I've been in the business a while. The first rule of publishing for someone who wants to be published is, don't put all your novels in one bookcase. One must be adaptable, flexible, Cirque du Soleil stretchy! I worked and polished and wrote and polished some more until the proposal for 'Hoosier Dead Guy?' and the next two books in the Vintage Kitchen Mystery series (it wasn't called that yet; Jessica - of course - gave me that idea) was shiny-bright 'n ready. And I began, late in 2009, to approach (gasp!) other literary agents. I had to move ahead, and it was the only way I knew how. So I did the research and began with a list of good agents, worthy agents. Respectable and capable agents. Solid agents who I knew would represent me well.
Every single one of them (from whom I heard back,) asked for the proposal from the query. That's very good, in the publishing business, when it's sometimes hard to get beyond the query. But I knew my solid writing background had gotten me thus far. If the work wasn't good enough, it would get me no further. I was still pining after Ms. Faust, but I had steeled myself to look further afield.
And so it begins... Part 2b - Will one of those agents grab me? Will I be faced with the decision of whether to wait for Jessica (aka Ms. Superagent) to open up to queries again, or will no one else want me? Hint: the time of year was in my favor, in one weird way, and I do believe that fate/destiny smiled on my enterprising little heart!