Friday, September 05, 2008

Hunting Season


Ruffed Grouse and Buck,
Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait,
o/c, 1866.


Frankly, there's nothing more heart-stopping when you saunter through the woods than to have a partridge explode out from under your feet. I can well see why in some countries hunters employ beaters to drive the game.

Some say that the Fall is a good season to approach agents and editors, because, presumeably, editors are looking to fire off the shells in their cartridge bag, while agents are ready to salt down more venison. Others say this calendar no longer applies and that deals during off-times are no longer the exception.

One has the impression that in lean times, the industry reacts in two diametrically opposed ways: retreat and advance. Some rely on the supplies already in their storerooms (the proved and successful best or steady-sellers), while others stride out hunting for fresh meat (new voices.)

While creeping through deep thickets and crawling through underbrush, looking for pug marks and game trails, I discovered a couple of interesting things. First: the forums on Absolute Write often have the most up-to-date information on who has moved where/quit the business/begun a new agency/takes months to reply/changed their focus, etc.

The second doesn't affect me personally -- since I'm a TechIdiot without bells, whistles and beaters -- but I thought it deserved mention. Seems one of the ways to get shot while hunting and left to rot in the forest is to have imbedded signatures and virtual business card widgets and similar stuff attached to your query. They can send your inquiry to spam hell. See agent Colleen Lindsay's (Fine Print Literary Management) Sept 1 blogpost for details.

Her post may explain why all you hear are crickets.

My apologies for the mangled metaphor. Memory turns with the seasons, and once my family held a farm called Hunter's Home.

Construction Update: The little toy back-hoe is gone, replaced by a groaning yellow Jurassic monster that claws and gulps up pavement at the foot of our street. Arcane symbols in orange and yellow, graffiti red and blue have been sprayed on our sidewalk. I twitter at my window in anticipation.


31 comments:

Travis Erwin said...

Timely post for me. I'm in the thick of the agent hunt for my latest novel and this afternoon I plan to get out for a bit of dove hunting. My first of the season.

writtenwyrdd said...

The ruffed grouse are so thunderously loud when they take flight practically under your feet. The few times I went bird hunting, I was so startled they got clean away.

Absolute Write and Duotrope are good sites for info about agents and submissions times.

laughingwolf said...

yeah, they do tend to scare the crap outta you when all you're doing is having a nice hike, taking in the fresh air and fall scenery...

i guess it's like fishing... you cast out your lure/bait, and hope something takes a nibble....

SzélsőFa said...

Isn't it every writers's dream to have agents look for the newest novel, not having to look for an agent by themselves...
That his/her story is so great it is wanted by publishers the time it is on paper...?
Do writers really have to hunt for agents?
I guess b/c there are so many writers out there...

(don't take this as in any way offensive - I have absolutely zero experience in this field)

Robyn said...

Only you could turn construction into an occult tale of mystery and mayhem.

Bernita said...

Big game and small game, Travis!

And Agent Query and Query Tracker as well, Written.

So sudden, so loud, Lw!
And they're as wiley as trout...

Szelsofa, it's extremely rare for a writer to be "discovered" by agents/editors. They have so much coming at them they don't have to go looking.

Robyn, you should see the bare-chested types herding/guarding that monster with their spears...I mean, shovels and such.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've always been suspicous of those embedded signatures and such for just this reason.

Bernita said...

And wise of you, Charles, to be so, obviously.

Gabriele C. said...

We use beaters and flag the area. So most incidents involve drunken hunters shooting each other. I call it natural selection.

If you ever make it to Germany, you should visit a Baggerpark. :) Some clever entrepreneurs rented abandoned military areas (after the Russians and part of the US troops left), bought a number of those Jurassic monsters second hand, and now give mostly men but also some adventurous women the chance to play with those monsters, dig holes, move a lot of earth around and drive a prehistoric slalom course.

Bernita said...

Sounds like fun, Gabriele!

However, should I ever make it to Germany, I would look you up and beg to be guided on a castle tour instead.

BernardL said...

I hope the fall is a better time to at least receive a decent rejection notice. This summer has been the pits for getting any reply at all. I've had to use my auto rejection agent list a few times this summer to make sure my E-mail was working. They came through for me immediately. :)

Bernita said...

Bernard, one never knows for sure how to interpret a slow response.

Dave F. said...

Arcane symbols in orange and yellow, graffiti red and blue have been sprayed on our sidewalk.

Invocations to the demons of digging to prevent all sorts of stuff. First is sliding a backhoe, tractor or dump truck into the ditch. Second is not finding surprise electric or water lines like coiled pythons. Third is the expiating any human sacrifice to the lawn gnome and garden troll Lodge 354. Fourth is appeasement of the mole man and his many minions with mighty markings. And last but not least, is payoffs and kickbacks to the Prostitute Association for loss of sidewalk and lamp posts. I mean, what's a working girl to do?
;)

Bernita said...

Dave, that's hilarious!

Yep, there's buried water/ gas/telephone lines and such all along the bulevard.

raine said...

Great metaphor, lol.
I'm slightly techno-challenged too, so never employ the signatures/widgets, etc. But the crickets still seem pretty loud on this end...

Bernita said...

Rather than simplify, Raine, technology sometimes complicates the process (and the language) beyond expectation.
Now, what if some techno-savy person takes literally an agent's request to "embed" a few pages in a query?

laughingwolf said...

survival of the fittest, in spades! :)

PRNewland said...

Ah... Agent Query and Absolute Write I had heard of but not Query Tracker... I'll have to look that one up. Thanks!

That is a ways off for me, (submitting, that is) but more resources are always good.

Bernita said...

There's a lot to be said for sheer dumb luck too, Lw.

Yes,PR, I like to squirrel them away too upon time of need. Preditors and Editors is another ( rather vital) resource.

Steve Malley said...

Great advice, in a fun metaphor most thoroughly wrapped. Thanks!

Sam said...

Hmmm. Is it agent season, then?

Bernita said...

Steve, the trouble with such pot-shot metaphors is that one doesn't want to stop!

Sam, I incline toward the theory that any season is open season.

Virginia Lady said...

I love the metaphor. There are times I think we all feel like the prey that got shot when submitting our work.

Ah, the sounds of destruction! Always a good backdrop for certain writing scenes. I, fortunately, live not too far from a large road construction project and will go there at times for the atmosphere the noise invokes.

Bernita said...

We play a dual role as bother hunter and hunted, Virginia.

Lana Gramlich said...

The start of this post (& the lovely artwork,) reminds me of the days when I used to help my ex raise game birds. He wasn't very nice, but the birding was pretty cool.

Suzanne Perazzini said...

Thanks for the link to that info about embedded links, signatures etc.
I will delete them before sending out queries from now on. I have had a few non responses from agents who profess to always respond. So that could be the problem.

Bernita said...

Lana, I've heard that wild turkeys have made a come-back in my part of the province - a result of similar efforts?

Suzanne, there's an earlier post on her blog about some function of g-mail that can hide responses - seems she found about a hundred queries there. I get tech-fright when I read about this stuff.

laughingwolf said...

too true...

cindy said...

b, /bootay shake! for good luck on querying! =D

Bernita said...

Thank you, Cindy. With my style I'll need lots of luck.

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