How do I find the right editor or agent?

So I’ve been searching for agents and editors, and sheesh this process is hard!

First, I bought “2016 Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market” and “2016 Guide to Literary Agents.” Then I went through the publishers and agencies that represented fantasy and I highlighted which ones I thought might be good (because they didn’t explicitly say “No epic fantasy!” That’s about all I had to go off of.)

Then I made an excel spreadsheet and listed them all.

Then I went online and checked out their websites and removed some because they didn’t seem my style. And then I wanted to understand their style better. How do I know which agent works with which authors and which genre and which publisher and which agent and… and…

HOW DO I KNOW IF THEY LIKE MY “STYLE” OF FICTION?

I was listening to Writing Excuses to get feedback on how to learn what “style” of fiction agents and editors prefer. And they said:

  1. Check out their twitter for MS wishlists.
  2. Check out their publishing house to see what books they’ve published (p.s. those don’t list the editor).
  3. Check out publishers lunch to see recent deals (since there are many more genres than epic fantasy, there will be a lot of deals that aren’t even remotely my genre).
  4. Listen to individual agents and editors talk at conferences and chat with them (wait, with the likelihood that they DON’T publish my kind of fiction, how many agents and editors are there exactly?)
  5. Go to the bookstore and read the acknowledgements of books you like (which you probably haven’t read cause they’re new and there’s not a lot of old books at the bookstore so you’re not even sure if they are your particular “style”) and list the agents and editors named in books you like.

There are A LOT of problems with this system. Some of which I’ve already mentioned. With how many agents/editors out there, my potential sample size from the above suggestions makes it nigh impossible to find the “right” agent/editor. (Note: They all say, research me first!)

The answer is a database, that lists the agents and editors, what publishing houses they’ve worked with, which agents and editors they’ve worked with, which authors they’ve worked with, which novels they’ve worked on, and a complex/detailed genre classification system so that I can know what genre classifications my book has (Epic, heroic, feminist, religious, magic, hard science, whatever), and so that I can go from that angle. Instead of sampling random hard to find agents, searching by the traits/classifications of my novel, and finding the agents and editors that match that “style” of fiction.

If that were to exist, agents and editors (might) get less junk mail that doesn’t fit their style, authors will be less confused, and less time would be wasted all around.

Maybe instead of whining, I should build this thing. 🙂

 

 

 

Rationality and Religion had a kid (or is it the other way around?)

I’m trying to marry rationality and religion, but look at this quote, my wife posted it on the fridge without having any idea that I was thinking about this lately (It’s from one of my church leaders):

“Human judgment and logical thinking will not be enough to get answers to the questions that matter most in life. We need revelation from God.”

-President Henry B. Eyring

It essentially says not that I can’t marry the two, but I don’t need to. Revelation supersedes rationality. I can get straight to fully-known pre-qualified truth and knowing with a different kind (and more efficient) work than rational inference. (i.e. Revelation, spirit to spirit.)

God will transfer truth and knowing straight to my mind (with a lot of work, of course). Truths whose evidence cannot yet be seen, but can be known.

In that way, can testimony (or revelation) be empirical/experiential evidence? Witnessed/personally experienced through a sixth sense of “spiritual knowing”?

How much time do you spend doing nothing?

One of my church leaders asked that question. If you’re spending a lot, then maybe you should use that time to serve others.

For me, a lot of my time is spent with my family. I don’t want to just abandon them to serve others, but this still applies in the home. Rather than do nothing, serve your family. And if you have time, serve your broader human family.

Nap time on Sunday is probably a good time for me to serve my broader human family. J And perhaps even Saturday. I write for 2 hours in the morning, then go to work for 8, I don’t have a lot of time to serve others other than my family throughout the week, but those two days, I can and probably should.

Mind over dark matter

I can’t mind that people who aspire to rationality laugh at religion. Someday I will rectify the two. But I think the key lies in the fact that the eternal spiritual realm that lies beyond this one is a type of matter that does not interact with the 4 fundamental forces of nature, as we know them. A part of me is made of this beyond-dark matter. Invisible matter. That the spiritual realm speaks to my spiritual self/mind which is intangibly and invisibly tied to my physical self.

That is how I tie in my spirituality with my rationality. One gear in my rationalist machine is the influence of the eternal and divine realm that lies beyond this one. An influence that I can access with my soul.

Power through Surrender

Obedience is surrendering your will. Becoming enveloped in the great divine will. Our own randomly aligned will/desires will only occasionally align with that which will make us happiest. We must be willing to give it all up, and all that will remain of our original us is the us that was good/headed in the right direction.

I know it’s hard to lose yourself, to think of giving up who you are, but if you’re only asked to give up the parts of you that will make you unhappy, why not?

Church Anxiety (or Sitting Anxiety)

My brain is abuzz with a billion thoughts. I sit in church and feel “Run away!” The seats are uncomfortable, my neck hurts, everything happens sooooooooo slow.

But, I feel a subtle calmness, a rest, a peace, even as my kids are driving me crazy and my body hurts, I feed an underlying and overlying (and side-planar-lying?) assurance.

The spirit is here, these things are true. I must learn to wait, to be patient as I am slowly spiritually fed. To accept my emotional and physical pain, to be still and know that God is aware of my pain, and if I just wait, I’ll make  it back to him, I’ll overcome my flaws.

Peace, be still. Wait. Persevere. Accept.

Be still and accept that God is in control of every facet, pain anxiety, timing, and those little measures of strength that are just enough to sustain me.

Stillness. Surrender. Acceptance. Patience.

Flexible Minds

Be willing to believe new things based off of new evidence (spiritual or physical). If not, why have beliefs at all? If you aren’t willing to change your mind, then you are doomed to the semi-random set of beliefs you begin with. Your thinking does not define reality nor does it change it. So, you should allow reality to define your beliefs.

Your thinking does not define reality nor does it change it. So, you should allow reality to define your beliefs.

That can include information received through the five senses, and through listening to the spirit. Be willing to believe, or your knowledge is doomed to the die roll of beliefs you get at birth, through the biased opinions of others, and the random quirks of your own mind and personality.

Watching LDS General Conference (Big bi-annual religious meeting)

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I like sitting on a couch listening to my religious leaders speak. (Not a big fan of the over 50 years old long-voweled choir, however.) I feel like sleeping I’m so relaxed.

It’s not exciting, it’s not full of world-shattering revelations, but to hear these men and women speak of the spiritual experiences they’ve had, it creates an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to speak directly to my spirit, so I can know that what they say is true. Even if I don’t have hundreds of notes, and fantastic revelations for my life, this feeling is great.

Even if I don’t have hundreds of notes, and fantastic revelations for my life, this feeling is great.

To reach the Beyond that lies Beyond this reality, to touch it, to feel it, to know it. That is enough.

I may doubt my own existence, but I don’t doubt the truthfulness of the eternal plan of god.

Life’s short, so learn to hear the voice of eternity.

Blah, Website Reviewing

I’m writing a website review for a church-related project. Why do our websites have to suck? Can’t we do mo’ betta’?  Just every step of the way, ask “What does the user want/expect?” And then design it for them.

Don’t design it for yourself. Or in the easiest/cheapest way. Do things right the first time. You do not make a website to make a place for content or advertise a product. You make a website to fill a need.

In fact, that’s why we should do everything, to fill a need.