I got a letter from an agent at William Morris Agency. It started out: Dear Pat:
Nice. Not too stuffy, not too familiar. Then the agent thanked me. Also good. And finally, he said that he was enclosing a manuscript for review.
Okay, that was mean of me to lead you on, but I liked the irony. Over the past seven or eight years, I sent out two hundred queries and primarily got form letters in response. (Form letters? Try form scraps — most agents enclose a much photocopied slip of paper into your SASE, and expect you to be grateful for that, which, of course, you are since many agents don’t bother acknowledge you at all.) But here an agent was sending me a manuscript, asking for my opinion. As I said, I liked the irony of it.
I also got a letter from the publisher (along with a finished copy of the book) thanking me for my review. The thing that struck me about this letter was the acknowledgement that readers sell books:
Writers write books, but it’s readers who sell them. Now, more than ever, the best way to hear about a good book is to hear about it from someone who read it and wants to spread the word.
All of us at St. Martin’s Minotaur are grateful for the time you’ve taken to read, review, and blog about . . . etc, etc.
So, is this more irony, this bringing the book business down to my level? Because my books are being published by a new press, I won’t have the sort of publicity that an major publisher can afford, but I can blog about my books, and I can (perhaps) get readers to talk about them. Just like a major author. Odd, isn’t it, this brave new world of publishing?
In case you’re wondering, the book is Marshall Karp’s new novel, Flipping Out. (He also wrote The Rabbit Factory andBloodthirsty.) I’m not allowed to talk about it until his blog tour, (he’ll be here on April 12th) but there’s nothing hush-hush about it. You can read the first five chapters on Karp’s website.