I sent Barbara J. Zitwer, my first agent, the manuscript Britta and I worked on, as she requested. She said she’d help me, that I should send her a list of publishers who’ve already read the manuscript, names of…
And listen: it’s not a book until it gets published in some way. It’s a stack of papers, a manuscript, until someone other than you decides to invest her time, money, and resources into it. Please don’t call it a book anymore. If I called mine a book in the past entries, I promise to slap myself for each instance.
…editors who’ve personally responded to the manuscript. I did all this, took a walk down Nostalgia Avenue and took a few hours sitting in front of the Yankee game to create a sweet looking spreadsheet, organized according to the date the rejection letter was received.
Days went by, weeks…a month. Then I emailed Barbara, asked her how she was…”Barbara, I hope you’re world travels are paying off…International Book Fair in Germany again? Oh, yeah, and that manuscript I sent…all those revisions…that work…Yankee game….”
The next day she emails a one-liner. I deleted it — not out of disgust or anger, but out of slate-cleaning. She says something like: “Didn’t connect with it. Good luck placing it elsewhere.”
Good luck placing it elsewhere…Good luck placing it elsewhere…Good luck placing it elsewhere…
Was she kidding me? Not the ole’ country favorite “Good luck placing it elsewhere…”
I emailed her right back and was like “Huh?” and “License of truck that just ran me over, please?”
I didn’t delete what I sent her. Here is my response verbatim:
Hi Barbara…Man, I thought since you used to be my agent, I would have gotten a little more from you than one sentence about the package I sent you. I need advice here…You responded to the raw manuscript three years ago with a contract…and this one is a hundred times revised version of that one. Please tell me what’s wrong with it…I feel like I’ve gone completely back to square one.
I’m a bit embarrassed by my voice in this email…my tone. There’s my raw desperation right there for you to see. I sent this on June 16. I haven’t heard from her yet. Gosh, you think I will? Really? Hear? From HER?