In my last post I wrote about the effect of Mars turning retrograde and how that signals a slow down and re-evaluation in our charts. Currently I’m experiencing this Mars effect in the ‘circumstances of life areas ‘(the houses) of my own chart which have to do with my ‘work in the world’ and ‘creativity’.
A couple of years ago I made the decision to shift my writing from non-fiction, academic material and return to the arena of historical fiction, specifically in the ‘thriller/mystery’ genre, which I’d explored in the early 1990’s. While fiction offers endless creative paths to explore, the reality of going from idea to the printed page(hopefully by someone else other than your new best friend at Kinko’s), is not for the faint of heart. Anyone who has been or is on this road knows what I’m talking about.
After working for a year on a major reconstitution of a manuscript I wrote 20 years ago, year #2 saw an e-file accumulation of literary agent rejections. I stopped counting at 55 with the realization that two years of hard work was going nowhere. While the rejections continued to come in, I decided to write book #2. As this book neared completion the fires around E-Publishing and Publishing On Demand ratcheted up frenetically in the literary press. I wondered if I should trash the whole idea of going the traditional route with a literary agent and try my hand at self-publishing. A huge dilemma because self publishing no matter which route you take, requires enormous marketing demands on your part if you want to be successful. Amanda Hocking and her explosive success is legendary but the reality is that the ratios of self published authors to actual success levels such as hers, are staggeringly depressive.
While mired in this personal dilemma, I ‘accidentally’ came across an announcement for a mystery writer’s conference to be held in Chicago. While I hadn’t been to a writer’s conference in 20 years, the program offered the opportunity to ‘pitch live’ to attending literary agents. When I looked at the list of top level agents, I didn’t think twice. It was an ‘either sink or swim’ decision on my part, particularly because I’d never pitched any of my manuscripts ‘live’ before. Once I’d signed up, the reality of the preparation made me wonder what planet I was on when I made this decision! A slick pitch is approximately 5 sentences…the first sentence should be no more than 25 words which informs the agent the title, genre, audience and general overview of the book…orally from memory in no more than 4(yes four!) minutes. Your heart pounds, your palms sweat and you wish you hadn’t eaten lunch and could ask Scotty to beam you up. Was all of this worth it? Yes.
A week ago I signed a contract with one of the agents to whom I pitched, Peter Miller, President of Global Lion Intellectual Property Management. I’m still in shock because Peter represents an impressive client list and possesses a huge reputation in the industry. This said, seeing my manuscripts on store shelves is no guarantee even with his help, guidance and expertise. The publishing industry is in flux and ultra selective, particularly for fiction. I have much ‘clean up’ work to do. Even though these manuscripts have been edited endlessly, they need final, perfected polishing so that Peter can pitch them to major publishers and editors in the next few weeks in New York and then the London Book Fair in April.
Despite the excitement of clearing this first hurdle, Mars continues to have his way with me, the work is hard and the agenda is chop wood, carry water…I won’t be holding my breath any time soon for that call from Good Morning America!