It’s been crazy busy since my last post (a very very very long time ago), but I’ve finally managed to tether my ass to the sofa to write. I’ve never really been good with blogs. But since I began my internship at Kimberley Cameron and Associates, I’ve learned how far the power of blogging and twittering can go. Not that I’m going to become a frantic twitter-r. Baby steps, that’s what I tell myself. Baby steps. But perhaps blogging is not a bad way to start. Where else can I blather on and on about anything and everything with total freedom and no internal brakes? 🙂
On a personal front, life has been going wonderfully. After a long, long, long wait, I have finally become a legal occupant (for lack of a better term) within the United States, and no more do I need to answer to the term ‘Alien’. Secondly, after endless rewrites, countless tweaking, and two drafts later, what you see before you is an M.F.A Graduate. It was no easy feat I tell you! So you can be sure that the wine bottle in my cupboard, the one that has been dying to breathe, is finally going to be consumed…
In terms of travel, because of work and my thesis, I haven’t been able to do much really. But my husband and I did manage a day trip out the to Alcatraz Island, and boy was the sight completely worth seeing. Even though, like always, we ended up reaching there five minutes past the bugle cry, and had to wait on standby for the next boat. For one thing, the people who engineered the prison on the Island were super clever. Where else would you find a prison–surrounded on all sides by the frigid, inescapable waters–both terrifying and beautiful at the same time? For one thing, having the San Francisco skyline as the view from your pocket sized window must have burned a hole through their hearts. For another, seeing the yachts of vacationers cruising past the island couldn’t have been any nicer. The island in itself is very beautiful, filled with botanical gardens, and breeding grounds for three different species of birds in different areas of the land. Apart from that though, the prison was a grimy, chill inducing place. Here are some pictures for you to see:
Apart from Alcatraz, two other trips I’m looking forward to this year is my annual trip home to Dubai, to see my family (who I’ve not seen for a year), and a trip to Turkey with two of my closest girlfriends from school. A Bachelorette party! We are, as the cool kids these days say, going to drop it like it’s hot.
On the work front, as intern at a literary agent, I am always learning. Both from the perspective of a writer, and someone who loves to work with them. It is not an easy business. Not only is the publishing industry a sinking ship that is struggling to stay above the water, editors these days are tough nuts to crack in terms of what they are willing to sell. Which makes the job of literary agents all the more harder. But as a writer myself, do not fear. With the coming of self-publishing and e-books, there is always an outlook for creative talent. However, I would recommend that aspiring writers give the traditional route a serious go. Not only for the experience, but for the perks a traditional route will give them. But if you do not have the patience for query letters, rejections, revisions, and the ultimate sale of your books, by all means, head down the path of self-publishing with your head held high. But remember this. BE PREPARED TO MARKET YOUR BOOK LIKE A BITCH. Forgive my language, but there it is. The Truth. Be prepared to blog about your book, put it out there as much as you can, give as many readings as possible, visit conferences, and be visible on public forums. You have to be a one woman wonder for the baby you’ve worked hard to finish.
For those of you who are looking to get an agent, here are a few helpful tips.
1) The Query letter is most important. Be sure to give a short, yet intriguing blurb (a gist if you will) about your story. Be prepared to write a concise paragraph about yourself and your education, background, and experience with writing. (Eg: have you submitted to journals? Do you write blogs? Have you won any awards or prizes? If so, put it all in as tightly as you can manage.)
2) Polish your work as well as you can, BEFORE YOU SUBMIT. Because of the number of submissions agents get in their inboxes on a daily basis, not many have the luxury of taking the time to develop your work with you. Not until it is that promising…a diamond in the rough. Even then, they would rather have you go through your work and resubmit again when you are done. In order to avoid this, in might be a good thing to get a professional editor to work with you on the final draft, before you submit to agencies.
3) Do NOT send the same query letter and submission to a dozen agents in the same email. That is the lazy way out, and if you cannot give each email/letter your individual attention, WHY SHOULD AN AGENT DO THE SAME FOR YOU?
4) Patience is key. Remember, most agents are severely over-worked and severely underpaid. Agents get paid on commission. Also, most agencies have two to four agents working for them, and against 200-500 letters that come in each week…you do the math. There is only so much they can ingest without going completely bat shit crazy. Be assured that they will get to your work, and if they do reject you, it is after serious consideration. After all, if they truly feel passionate about your work, what would they gain by turning you down?
5) Lastly, be willing to work on revisions if an agent asks you to do so. I’m not saying you need to lose the core of your work, and thereby lose your integrity. Oh no. But be flexible and willing to bend when you can, and be firm when you have to. But remember, revision is always a good thing. When the book is ready to go out, it will.
I will write more as and when I can remember them. But before I end for tonight, as an intern who loves her job and spends a lot of time sifting through hundreds of manuscripts, writers, remember this: I wish wholeheartedly for each and every one of you to be published, if that is your dream. You should always dream! But god forbid, if your work somehow does not find a home at the agencies you covet, perhaps you should consider alternate means of publishing, OR reworking the novel.
What you should NOT do is send unprofessional, angry emails to the agents who’ve rejected you. I have received quite of a few of these lovely missiles, and so have the people I work with. In this game, rejection should be something you need to toughen up against. Take from it a helpful impression, but do not let it leave a soul crushing dent. Second, you might have to deal with the same agents again at some point, say, if you write a second book someday. Just my thought.
Alright lovelies! That’s it for today. Good night and Good bye, until the next one!