For any writer who's been at it long enough and sent out hundreds of queries over the years to agents and publishers, I'm here to bring you HOPE. I have enough rejections to wallpaper my office--twice!
In 2006, I managed to get an originally self-published work (Whale Song) picked up by Kunati Books, a provocative new publishing company that just won ForeWord's 'First Independent Publisher of the Year' award at BEA.
Whale Song was published in April 2007 and launched Kunati's UNA trade paperback imprint. Other trade paperbacks will be joining the UNA imprint shortly, but I'm proud that Whale Song was the first.
A few weeks ago, I signed a contract with an enthusiastic literary agent from New York. It's an all-inclusive contract, meaning he'll represent me and ALL of my books--past and future--in any upcoming deals.
To me, securing an agent represents climbing another ladder rung--or two. If you're a writer, you know how tough that can be to accomplish. And wait! I haven't told you the clincher...
I am Canadian.
No, this isn't a beer commercial. I'm a Canadian author, and in Canada, it's nearly impossible to get an agent here. First, we don't have the population of the US, and hence, we just don't have that many agents here. So many Canadian authors go across the border--or even the ocean--in search of that illusive literary agent.
My agent is in New York, the frenzied hub of the book industry. I couldn't be happier. He came highly recommended by one of his clients. I am positive this will be a productive and successful venture. Why? Because I'm a positive person. So there! :)
To every writer who has struck out sending query after query to agents and publishers over the years, I'll share my two secret strategies: UNWAVERING BELIEF and STUBBORN PERSISTENCE. You must have both.
Having a literary agent will open so many doors that have, in the past, been closed to me. Having a New York agent will even get past the ones that seemed deadbolted shut. I view my agent as my new business partner, someone who knows what he's doing and that I can trust to do the best for us both.
So I'm off to New York. Well, not really. But I am in spirit! My best friend said I should have a "pahty" to celebrate. I'm thinking of having one with a New York theme. You know...New York steaks, New York fries and New York cheesecake. Am I missing anything? Oh yes, and maybe Liza can show up and sing for me so that I'm not forced to Karaoke everyone to death.
And now...a musical interlude. You know the tune.
Start spreading the news
I got an agent today
I want to be a part of it, New York, New York
My vagabond books
Are longing to stray
And make a brand new start of it
New York, New York
I want an agent in the city that never sleeps
So I can be queen of the hill, top of the heap
These Edmonton blues
Are melting away
I'll make a brand new start of it
In old New York
If I can make it there
I'll make it anywhere
It's up to you, New York, New York.
(This is my shamelessly adapted version of 'New York, New York'--strictly for entertainment purposes.)
And no, I'm not mentioning my agent's name yet. Now you'll just have to check back here. :)
~Cheryl Kaye Tardif