Jennifer Hillier

You can’t hurry love

May 14, 2009 | Uncategorized

I attended my first webinar this morning.  This must mean I’m officially down with technology, ya dig?  Mind you, I can’t seem to figure out Mafia Wars on Facebook, so I still have a long way to go.

The webinar was called “How To Land A Literary Agent”, and it was presented by Chuck Sambuchino.  I really hadn’t heard much about him, but I get emails from Writer’s Market and Writer’s Digest (online and print periodicals that have all sorts of useful info for the aspiring-to-be-published). Chuck is the editor of Guide to Literary Agents and The Screenwriter & Playwright’s Market, and he’s also working on his own novel.  The seminar was full of information.  He went over the best ways to find the right agent for your work, the ingredients of a good query letter, and the importance of having a logline (a one-sentence description of your novel so that when someone asks you what’s it about, you can answer quickly and easily).  These were the highlights, but of course there was a lot more.

Ultimately, though, I’d have to say I didn’t learn anything new.  Which is good and bad.  Bad because the webinar was $99, which could have been a really nice steak dinner for two; but good because it means I’ve done my homework and have realistic expectations about what searching for an agent will entail.   I’m relieved to know there were no surprises, and that all the helpful guides and websites he plugged are already ones I’ve bookmarked. I think anyone who’s taken the time to do their own research (as I’ve been doing, for the past two years now) would already know most of the info that this webinar had to offer, but it would be a good place to start for any writer who’s just beginning to think about publishing and wondering what to do.

Well, maybe there was one surprise.  Chuck said that there are only 1,300 literary agents WORLDWIDE.  Jumping Jehosophat!  Can that number be right? I always knew the odds weren’t in my favor, but 1,300 agents?  Total?  There are a probably a million writers out there!

But before I get discouraged, I have to constantly remind myself that I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t love it.  Nobody in their right mind would.   Writing fiction is HARD. And time-consuming.  As of last week, I’ve been working on this second novel for just over 9 months.  Straight.  If I was pregnant, I’d have given birth by now.

Gee.  That really puts it into perspective.  If the only the gestational period for a book was as predictable.

But Chuck did say one thing that really resonated: You can’t rush it.  You want to write a good book and land an agent and go on to publishing success?  You have to give the time it deserves and be patient – because it takes as long as it takes.