Sorry I've been out of the loop so long (though I have no known readers at this point, not even my mother). I've been busy with the writing, which, while still not my day job, is first in the not-my-day-job priorities list.
So, I have edited Shards for continuity, made some small changes, formatted. I don't know if it will ever feel entirely "done" -- I think it's really good, don't get me wrong, but it's a lot to say of some 650 pages that yes, I'm quite sure every word, every sentence, is as perfect as I could ever write.
I'm not a perfectionist, though (ask anyone who has ever seen my housekeeping) and I think "really good" is quite enough to begin shopping it out to agents.
Today I submitted my first query to an agent. It was actually quite an interesting process. It seems like every agent wants things some different way -- this one wants a complete synopsis + first three chapters, this one just wants a query, this one wants an outline and one sample chapter... they don't make it easy.
This particular agent wanted a proposal with a commercial perspective: not just a summary and sample chapters, but a page or three on the target audience, competing books in the genre and how this one differentiates itself, and opportunities for the author to self-promote.
With my interest in business - and in making money - as well as my craft, I was intrigued by this aspect. The questions they asked in their proposal were, to some extent, new to me. And I enjoyed building a profile of my target reader (young, female, thinks she's smarter than everyone else... hmm...) and wracking my brain for books that resemble Shards for its material (serious) and tone (darkly humorous).
Hopefully this material will help with the next query I send out. Because while I am both a gifted writer and generally lucky, I'm not thinking this is going to be an easy or quick process. Luckily agents don't mind simultanous queries, so as I find good fits, I'll be able to write up and send new queries. I have an Excel spreadsheet created for just that...
By the way, the agent I applied to today not only fit all my requirements from a business sense (represents several excellent and well-known authors already, good literary agency, represents both chic lit and sci-fi/fantasy stuff), but also won my attention because - she's a Red Sox fan. Living in NYC. Respect!
6 hours ago