Friday, December 13, 2013

Question: Cart meet horse

When would be the right time to engage a literary agent?

While a writer may engage a literary agent, the timing is almost entirely not up to the writer.  Let me illustrate with another question:

When do you turn on the stove to cook a turkey? It depends on several factors: when you intend to serve the holiday feast, how large the bird is, what kind of oven you have.  All those are factors you have control over and will lead to the correct answer.

When to engage a literary agent is like asking when to turn on the stove before you've bought the stove, or the bird, or invited the guests.  In other words, it's a question that requires much more groundwork before it can be answered.

It's like asking how full you can load the cart before you've hired the horse.  Or tamed the horse. Or bought the farm.

And as you can see, it's not always bippiteyboppityboo, here have a horse.

I think what you really mean is  "when is the correct time to start querying" and the answer to that is NO SOONER than before you have revised your novel several times.


french sojourn said...

I literally just walked in from shoveling horse by-product into a trailer with a friend for their roses.

I have not just finished revising my novel however. *sigh*

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Hey french sojourn.

I never had a cart but I used to ride quite often until I fell off, face first, into a stone gulley. For weeks my face looked like I went through a windshield. I rode one more time after that but I never got the same kind of enjoyment out of it. Eating rocks and picking pebbles out of my chin sort of turned me off to the whole endeavor.
Querying fiction...that steed has tossed my ass so many times I’m sticking to what I know best, my column. Who knows how long that Hi-o-Silver will last?
I am shamelessly including the address of the barn where my loyal nags are bedded down after publication.

Lance said...

I have submitted pages at conferences and learned that I didn't have the horse yet. Still working on it though.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

As somebody who asked every year twice a year for probably ten or twelve years, I assure you, nobody hands you a horse.

I've almost finished revising a novel (so much as those things can be considered "finished"....) However, the query letter...oh, the query letter. Need to read QueryShark again.

Kregger said...

If I could do "bippiteyboppityboo" I wouldn't need a horse. A pumpkin carriage with a steam engine, maybe, but not the horse.

Elissa M said...

@Jennifer R. Donohue- Actually, I've been handed two free horses so far ("free" meaning no purchase price).
BUT- I was already an experienced horse-owning equestrienne before the aforementioned equines were thrust upon me. No horses before carts. Yes, there are stories behind each acquisition, but I'll have to finish revising my current WIP before I can think about sharing them.

Bill Scott said...

I have a picture of me skydiving. I didn't realize, until now, what I had were horse nostrils — not flattering.