Posts Tagged ‘Bookmaking’

Ending a literary agent relationship

August 11th, 2016 • by Karen A. Chase • 2 Comments

So, I have a confession. A few weeks ago my literary agent and I broke up. I’ve been quiet about it because it’s been so much to process, but it’s time to share so others can learn from my journey. My blog is often upbeat, so let’s have some fun with this sad story.

In the “we have to discuss our relationship” email, the agent admitted that in showing it to editors at publishing houses, she realized she didn’t have the resources (editor contacts/understanding of my readership) to sell my genre of book. She suggested I might consider finding a new agent.

Admittedly, my first reaction was…


How could this be after all our time editing, and talking about this book? Naturally, I asked myself, “Did I not ask the right questions about her specific contacts? Had I relied on her judgement over my knowledge of my readership?” Regardless, it became clear that we would only amass more rejections together.

I’m not going to lie. For about a week my mornings began like this:


After this stage passed, reality set in. I had to find a new agent. That meant query letters. Submission guidelines. The possibility of more rejections.

My first morning at the laptop felt like this:


But then I read an article about aiming for 100 rejections. Could searching for an agent in a specialized and subjective industry be about odds? If I secured my first agent after only 8 rejections, then out of 100, I’d have options.

So for the last two weeks, this has been me nearly every day:


I’ve been combing PublishersMarketplace, literary agencies and primarily using an online agent-search resource called QueryTracker to sort out who I’ve queried, being careful that they represent my genre.

That’s not to say my book is a fit for everyone. So I’m also like this when I look at my inbox each day:


I’ll keep you posted, but here are the stats so far: 50 queries sent. 7 rejections. 2 partial requests. 2 full manuscript requests.

I will go to the mattresses!


And for all you agents out there with a manuscript wish list (#MSWL) that includes American Revolutionary historical fiction with more battles than bodice-ripping, and a reluctant, yet likable male protagonist like Jamie in Outlander?

I’ve only one word…


7 Years in 1776

January 29th, 2016 • by Karen A. Chase • 6 Comments

Many years ago, when I worked at a corporate job, my employee review indicated I was doing well, but “lacked patience.” I was not surprised. I’d heard it before, and was well aware of both the positive and negative aspects of such a trait.

Fast forward, and this week my novel, in the hands of my agent, is going out for the next round of feedback from publishers. As I wait, once again, I’m reminded of that review, and I wonder if this novel shows how my lack of patience was probably not a trait, but a symptom of circumstance.

Back then, I wanted to my career to advance faster (now), because I was working jobs that fit me about as well as that too-tight pair of wool pants I can’t seem to part with.

But this book, set during 1776, is a passion project. Potentially a new career. And so it’s more like a cozy sweater-dress I bought at Goodwill a couple months ago–it fits so easily, and makes me feel fantastic. Consequently, my dedication to it can been seen in the numbers:

I began researching 7 years ago, worked with 5 different editors, 9 early readers (friends who gave advice and corrections), 100s of historians, librarians, museum directors and more. I wrote and rewrote a total of 8 drafts. Went through 6 months of agent-query rejections, and now, after 1.5 years editing with my agent, we’re heading for the final gate–a publisher.

I’ve grown. I’ve matured. And yet all I can think is, “Now? Have you heard from a publisher now? How about now?”

(I will indeed let you all know when I hear, per this old post about getting the agent, I will fly the Canadian flag when I have a publisher.)

Sponsored Writing

January 30th, 2015 • by Karen A. Chase • No Comments
Image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons. Another contributor to my writing...

Image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons. Another contributor to my writing…

I recently read this article about Ann Bauer’s writing life being sponsored by her husband. It proves my point that while writing is a solitary job, being an author is not.

True, my Ted helps to pay the bills–just as I worked to support him as he started a new practice a few years ago. But the money for groceries or electricity doesn’t fuel me nearly as much as his arms do. He’s not alone either.

If it were not for Leslie and Susie and others feeding me paying copy jobs, I could not have paid the editor who fixed what I could not see. If it were not for those clients who changed schedules so I could attend writing conferences, I would not now be presenting at them. My parents, historians, and my friends gave time as first readers. The baker on the corner occasionally gives me free coffee… An author thankfully introduced me to her (and now my) agent…

To my count, roughly 250 people have contributed in some way over these last six years. Financially, physically, intellectually and/or emotionally.

The better lesson from Ann Bauer’s article is to be gracious. Have some humility. Appreciate your talent, but appreciate those around you who give you time to exercise it.

Then honor them by putting your head down to write. Write well. And finish the book. I’m off to do just that.…