Monday, September 24, 2012

The Query Pitch for A Curious Confluence: The Story of Adrianna

I have tried to find an agent for the two memoirs that I have written. 

Most agents accept – and prefer – email queries (“query” is the industry term for “please help me get published; I am a  silly little person who doesn’t live in New York and who has the audacity to think he/she can write”).

So I found a web site with several hundred agents and various sort-them-down-options.  I chose the “memoir” sort-them-down option and got 60 or so.  For both memoirs I sent out batches of five queries at a time.  I waited until I had heard back from – at least – most of the five before I sent out another five.  For both memoirs I received a fairly timely, and pretty much from all five, set of polite rejections.

I have been rejected 120 or so times. 

But at least it took two books to accomplish this feat. 

I did something and they responded. 

Zero sum.

At my late stage in life rejection is a sort of positive reinforcement of my durability.  Or at least, in the face of advancing transparency – tantamount to an apparently ultimate invisibility (in the line at MacDonald's the clerk takes the order from the person behind you in line) – rejection reinforces what I know, but few others do, that I still exist.

I guess, I am durable.

Adrianna, for some reason, has been another sort of animal.

I would have thought that, if I had ever actually written a novel, that I would have been crowing the fact to the tree tops, roof tops and mountain tops.

But I have been shy about this thing.

I haven’t been unwilling to burden friends and family with the fact that I have written a novel.

I have sent it to and given it to various of them and asked them to read it.

A couple did.

But I have not been willing to go through the query drill with Adrianna.

When I got here to Paris again I decided to change that. 

I decided that that shyness was stupid.

So I concocted a query pitch and, after sorting the agent list for “fantasy” sent off five queries.

That was quite a long time ago according to my query rejection experience.

So far I haven’t even got any rejections.

I am proud, but not that proud.

So in the spirit of a genuine groveler, here is the pitch.

“A young woman is called to Paris to settle the final affairs of her father who had been on a multi-month visit there. He had said to his daughter just prior to his departure that he was going to “perhaps write, certainly gather images, and probably regale myself, and I hope, the world with daily posts to my blog”.

But something went awry.

A few months into the sojourn her father became a missing person.

After a few weeks of being missing he became a “more than 50% certain” corpse found floating in the Seine.

So Morganna went to Paris and took up residence in the apartment that her father had leased. It was on the fourth floor of a building on Isle de Cité with a panoramic view of the Seine. She worked with the French national police and the Paris police attending to the details necessary to close out the case.

She had not read any of her father’s blog posts prior to his disappearance. In fact, only the most loyal of his few friends did read any of his blog posts. Why he kept posting to it had always been a mystery to her.

But in the apartment, with occasionally little to do, Morganna began to read copies of the blog that her father had kept on his computer.

Almost immediately a completely off-center tale began to emerge. From the very first post he was telling a story that sounded like the mild ravings of someone demented. And the more she read the stranger became the story.

And then she discovered the old journal that her father had begun to reference as the blog wended toward its silent termination. Reading that journal, in juxtaposition with the blog, a genuinely bizarre story unfolded.

If one took that story at face value it told of the recommencement of a love story spanning millennia.”

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