Sorry, I have no positive news about my search for an agent. I share this paucity of information to alert my fellow writers that getting New York’s attention isn’t a cakewalk. It’s harder than writing a book. Much harder. And there’s competition. Yes, J. K. Rowling won the brass ring, but the odds are long and an author’s sole asset is tenacity. If you are a writer with a dream similar to mine, I advise you to wield resolve like a sword, swinging the blade high, and wide, and low as a blind man might as he thrashes against unseen obstacles.
“Gosh. I don’t know how you can handle so much rejection,” a friend exclaimed over the telephone when she learned I’d made no progress with publishing my memoir. “I’d have given up long ago.” She meant to be sympathetic. Instead, her remark left me feeling like a fool.
Once we’d said our goodbye, I remained curled up in my leather chair and stared out the window. Summer was in full swing. The trees hung exhausted from the heat, their leaves browned by a surfeit of sun. I, too, felt innervated. Was I foolish to go on with my queries? Had I set myself too high a bar for my small talent? More to the point, did I need a New York agent?
As to the last question, the answer is no. I’m confident a small company would take my book, Getting Lost To Find Home. Or, I have my imprint, Rutherford Classics. I’m also certain I do not embarrass myself as a writer. I can craft a sentence, spell, and punctuate. So, what does a New York want.? One agent attempted to enlighten me.
“I read your submission all the way to the end. I really did. Unfortunately, the market is glutted with memoirs by famous people. And, let’s face it, you don’t really have a platform.”
By platform, she meant I had no ready-made audience for the book. My Facebook and Twitter accounts didn’t register followers in the thousands. No blog I’d written had ever gone viral. No auspicious awards cluttered my coffee table. I hadn’t even bothered to commit a sensational crime. All I’d done was write a coming-of-age book about a young woman traveling the world with a broken heart, sometimes in dangerous places, and coming away from each adventure a little wiser.
Never mind. Tenacity will guide me. Tomorrow, I’ll send another query to New York and damn my dread of rejection. A writer must live with that.