Spent the morning becoming a member over at the Austin International Poetry Festival website and entering three poems to be considered for their anthology. The Austin poetry festival is in early April. If I am chosen to be in their anthology, I will figure out a way to go even though it is school time for two of the four days it runs. I’m really curious how a poetry festival works, if people snap instead of clapping. Scenes from So I Married an Axe Murderer come to mind.
I checked out the Writer’s League of Texas which has a conference (also in Austin) in mid-June. I plan to go if we are not out of town.
I know there are various schools of thought with regards to conferences and the like, but the one that I did attend (in Oklahoma two years ago) was fairly profitable and informative, so I will venture forth again to see what Texas can teach me. I look forward to pitching my various ideas to any agents who will sit still long enough for me to do so.
I have three finished novels at this point, one for which I am actively seeking representation by querying every agency in the known universe that takes what’s known as “commercial fiction”. I’m calling Noah Knows a supernatural thriller because it fits best into that category, but it’s still a stretch. There are elements of romance and I can’t decide if it’s plot-driven or character-driven, frankly. Genres are hard and sometimes books are slippery buggars that defy description.
The process of getting published is wearisome, frankly, and I wish there was a better way but as of yet there is not. Making connections (like those you find at a conference) helps, as some agencies only take your work for review if they have met you. Writing a query letter is difficult because you have to sum up your story in a short paragraph or two, and it has to be every bit as exciting and readable as the novel itself. Not easy. Here’s what I wrote for Noah Knows.
Dear (insert name of agent you are querying),
I would like to submit to you Noah Knows, a 70,000 word supernatural thriller.
Precognitive, telekinetic, and precocious, Noah Griffith and his mother Miranda face the world and all the dangers it presents to a small boy with unusual powers. After Miranda’s abusive husband Hugh is incarcerated, the two set out to make a life for themselves alone. Things take a treacherous turn, however, when Noah is kidnapped by Miranda’s boss, who wants to exploit his gifts. A daring rescue turns tragic and he and his mother are forced to put the past behind them once again.
When a stormy little girl, Julie, moves in down the street, Noah finds for the first time that he is not alone in his abilities, and they become fast friends. They discover that their powers, when combined, can work a wondrous and powerful magic. But is this magic a blessing, or a curse? Noah and Julie grapple with the question just because you can, should you?
With Julie’s mother dying of cancer and the dangerous Hugh out of prison and on the rampage after them, the two children discover just what they can–and more importantly, cannot–control.
My name is Jennifer Wilson, and Noah Knows is my first novel. A fast-paced and intriguing story, I believe my book will be an asset to your agency. I thank you for your consideration.
insert phone number
So there you have it. Would you want to read more based on this description?