Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Great American (blues) Novel

Did I mention that I've written The Great American Novel? I didn't? Well, I didn't--but I did wrangle a mystery tale from the recesses of my brain cell. I have mention my River Bottom Blues a time or two (and will do it a time or two again, beginning now). Anyway, I've been shopping my ideas around to various and sundry agents in the form of a query letter designed to entice them into representing my work to a publisher (been doing that for awhile now). One day back around the first of February, I sent a query straight to a small, but reputable, publisher. They sent back a request for the full manuscript, so my "jump for joy" meter needle swung over to "ecstatic" (even though I really did know better). Alas, a month later, the rejection simply said something like "sorry, Charlie-- or tough luck Chuck--or something like that". Basically, they just reiterated just how competitive the market is at their publishing house, and wished me success with someone else.

I did happen to read an interview with the publisher, who outlined their publishing process. This, I think, more or less applies to most of the publishing houses and also agents selecting clients. He mentioned that from the thousands of queries that they get, that they'll request to see somewhere around 2,800 full manuscripts (one was mine), and from that number only 200 or so make the cut to be read by their editor-in-chief. The chief will choose four or five to be published for THAT year. What are the odds? Well, better than the lottery, I guess. Very, very selective.

I do correspond with other writers who have agents or have published with companies that I find interesting. One in particular submitted to this same publisher and did end up in the last cut, only to be rejected in the end. This author was told that her mystery's theme just had too narrow of an audience. Her hero? A blues guitar slinging gal attempting to clear a murder. Hmmmmmm.

If you are still reading at this point, my book has an evil bunch of yahoos knocking off blues harmonica players. Heck, us harmonica players garner way less respect than guitarists, which I guess would translate to an even skinnier sliver of an audience. See, they just don't understand that no one to this day has been arrested for killing Sonny Boy Williamson I in 1947, nor Little Walter Jacobs in 1968. So, it is quite possible that my crew could be out there carrying on such a tradition. Someone out there thinks like I do, so I'll just keep on sending out queries--until that blues loving, harmonica playing, mojo man (or mama)of an agent sends me a reply that says, "Yeah, buddy, send that baby to me and let's work together...come on,come on, let's work together". Sorry--got carried away.

'Nuff of that stuff--back to blues music. I've got Kid Andersen on my mind and iPod, and I promised anyone listening (or actually reading--the Rick Estrin show revies in particular), that I'd get to a post offering my take on the two recordings that I love by the Kid. Coming up--so stay tuned. In the mean time, just get your hands on his music. Oh, and if your cousin, aunt, uncle, or brother is an agent or...naw, I ain't pandering.

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