Restructure Amnesia + New Query Letters

After licking my wounds from Molly Friedrich's rejection (I respect her enormously, but still feel cheated that she only read 45 pages of my novel), I decided that the best way to get over the hope and rejection of one of America's most prominent agents, is to:

1. Restructure The Amnesia of Junebugs. Virtually every writer and editor who has read my novel (or a portion of it), from editors at Harper Collins, the best literary agents in the whole world, to respected writers like Valerie Sayers, Frances Sherwood, Chuck Wachtel at NYU + Julianna Baggot at FSU, has loved the voice of Winnie Yu, the culture-jamming graffiti artist in the second section of my novel. But after MF stopped reading at page 45, I realized it's possible an agent may never actually get to the 2 couples with more substance, where the heart of the novel is (my first couple just fucks a lot and overintellectualizes everything, kinda like going to Oberlin College). So, to remedy this, I've switched sections one and two. Now, section two, the middle section, is chock full of sex, sandwiched by deeper, more complex, and more human characters.

2. My second response, which is just as healthy, and just as likely to break my heart someday, is to send out new novel queries to new agents. So I sent out a query letter to an agent at The Gernert Company in New York, and another one to David Foster Wallace's agent in SF.

Stay tuned. . .

Molly Friedrich Rejects BLANK

Yes, it breaks your heart. How could it not? When one of the best literary agents in the whole world (who represents four Pulitzer Prize winners for the love of God) asks to read your complete novel, and wants the right to respond first in case the other literary agents you'd send a query letter to, decides to represent you. It all seems so possible. But it's not, not with this agent. Anyway, here is the rejection letter I got ten minutes ago. I'll get over this in a day or so, but right now I have to say, it hurts. It fucking hurts. Here it is:

Dear Jackson,

Thanks so much for sharing BLANK with me. I've now had the chance to read a fair portion of the manuscript, and I'm confident that it's not for me. I think you've got an ambitious concept here that is vastly appealing and you pitched it quite well, but for me, the writing left me feeling at once both raw and disconnected from these characters. It's very tough to pull off an ensemble piece, and it may also be that when it comes to this kind of speculative, or if you want to call it "post apocalyptic" fiction, I'm predisposed to be an unusually harsh judge. But whatever the root of my reasoning is, the narrative just didn't reach me. I do appreciate your thinking of me with this submission, and I hope that your other agent prospect has had a more enthusiastic response.

Warmest wishes for the New Year,

Molly Friedrich
Post-apocalyptic? Speculative Fiction? What? Did I send her a copy of Minority Report by accident? Molly Friedrich is a fabulous, fabulous + smart agent.  She has an impressive client list.  She knows what she likes + she knows how to sell the novels she loves. But the reality is that BLANK is none of those things--neither post-apocalyptic nor speculative. It just appears that way for the first 30 pages or so. But then again, "Magnolia," seems like a real downer for the first hour too.

Molly Friederich Responds in 12 Hours!

This is the second email she sent me today! Of course, it doesn't mean anything in itself, and I won't get my hopes up right now. But this is possibly one of the best replies I've received from an agent since Lynn Nesbit told me she wanted to read my entire novel. Rad! Check it out:

Dear Jackson,

Thank you for answering everything, and quite thoroughly! You don't, by any chance, happen to know N.H.? The G. Smith and Yale connection made me wonder, and she's one of my newest clients.

Yes, I'd love to take a look at BLANK. Could you send along the entire manuscript, as an email attachment? I'd prefer it in Microsoft Word, if that's possible. Thanks, and I look forward to reading. Do let me know if K.F. resurfaces, because I'd like the chance to respond first if she offers to represent you.

Three Novel Queries for Amnesia of Junebugs

In the past two days, I've become so frustrated that this one awesome literary agent--whose name I'll keep to myself, but whose top client is one of the rising stars in the Paris Review--hasn't responded to me in 6 months after asking for three sample chapters (I've sent her 3-4 emails and I still have received a response yet). Anyway, it's been pissing me off so much that I decided to sublimate my frustration into fresh new hope, so I just sent novel queries to the following high-powered agents:

1. Molly Friedrich (who represents 4 Pulitzer-Prize winners). That should intimidate me, but actually it inspires me.

2. Mary Evans (who represents Michael Chabon). I actually think this is something like the third query letter I've sent her in the past 2 years, but I could be wrong. What can I say? I'm persistent, because you have to be in this industry.

3. Doris S. Michaels (whose literary fiction clients are represented in every major publishing house in America)

So, what do I think my odds are? Oh fuck, slim to none. But I knew that going into this profession, and I'm not going to let that stop me from getting published. I'm a talented fiction writer. I'm just waiting for an agent to figure that out, and I know someday one will.