There are a few things that need to happen before I officially sign on -- I've sent a letter to my old agent (whom I completely lost track of about two years ago) terminating our agreement, and I need to look over the contract Bob just sent me before signing it; I'd also like to talk briefly with Duncan and make sure he thinks Bob's a good bet. But assuming all goes well, I'll be officially signed on within a few weeks.
Now come revisions -- my advisor Katie and I met during AWP (luckily before I got horribly sick), and she liked the book very much and thought it was ready to defend as is (which deserves its very own hooray, and probably its own entry, but oh well :-), but thought it would be much improved if rearranged into chronological order (starting back in 1947 and ending the book with "Savitha" followed by "Monsoon Day") and if I wrote a new initial story. Eep! That's a huge change, but hey, I'm flexible, and I can see her arguments. I mentioned this to Bob, and he agrees that that'd be a good move, so I think that's at least the tentative plan. He wants the revised version soon -- in two weeks would be good, next week would be better. He says it's very hard to sell books after Memorial Day, so the quicker we are to get it done, the better. So I need a day or two for research, and then I'm going to try to do this. Eep eep eep.
I need to get him some other stuff to help him sell the book -- a page or so selling myself, talking about how fabulous I am (prioritizing Asian stuff, academic stuff, and erotic stuff, in that order). Any old quotes I have talking about how good my writing is (I might be able to dig up some old stuff from the first book, but jeez, it's been seven years or so. Oops).
And then he asked if I knew anyone big who would pre-blurb the book. People like: Jhumpa Lahiri, Salman Rushdie, Amy Tan, Michael Ondaatje, Isabel Allende, Louise Erdrich, Bharati Mukherjee, Arundhati Roy, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Amitav Ghosh, Rohinton Mistry, Meera Syal, Vikram Seth, Shyam Selvadurai, etc. I don't know any of these people. I have some temptation to send mail to every Asian and writing list I'm on, asking if anybody knows any of these people, but I think that'd actually be pretty obnoxious. So I'm trying to figure out what would be the non-obnoxious way of doing this. There must be some appropriate etiquette for such requests? Or is it just not done?
Excited and bewildered all at once. The toast and tea stayed down, so I think I need a banana. Maybe that'll help me think more clearly.
5 thoughts on “Bob MeCoy wants to…”
In terms of getting a blurb before you have a book or galleys, you should just send a letter and the first three chapters (or in this case, stories) to the authors in question, via their representatives or whatever means of contact you have. They get numerous blurb requests so unless you have a more personal way of getting ahold of these authors, you just mass mail and hope for the best. In my experience, at any rate.
Unless you have a personal connection to these authors, it’s far better for your agent to make the initial approach to their representatives. That creates a lovely buffer zone for both sides–no hurt feelings if someone is too busy, etc. Once you place the manuscript, of course, your editor can make the request.
How exciting! The others are right; just approach the agents of those writers.
Also, don’t you know Gaitskill? In a still-racist market, it might do to have a “white” blurb as well as Asian blurbs, so you don’t end up being treated like a niche writer.
Good thoughts everyone, thanks. And yes, I definitely should approach Gaitskill, thanks, Nick.
If you are active in a group where such writers (or their agents etc) might participate, perhaps instead of naming people specifically a post something like:
“My agent suggested that we approach some literary writers who might enjoy the work for blurbs – any suggestions as to how to do this?”
likely if they are reading the same list someone might send you a note off the list asking for more info.
Just a thought. I suspect many of the authors you list are more approachable than many people would assume, the trick of course being navigating how to reach them other than randomly.
Has any of the publishers who have published you in the past worked with any of these authors? (for a short story perhaps?) That might be a very logical introduction path if so.
Good luck and congrats!