I spent a day last week at a writer’s conference, met a couple agents, talked at length with a very few nascent writers, and got very scared. The Business of publishing is daunting. I am not entirely a stranger to daunting. At eighteen I called a cab, got on a plane, and went to a college I had never visited with nothing more than an address and a suitcase. I started medical school in 1968, still too young, at that time, to vote. In 1972, I moved all that I had in an eight-year-old Rambler through a hurricane to another address to start training.
Then the real fearsome things began: 1977 marriage to my wife, 1979 a baby … a baby! Shortly thereafter, in the period of seventy-two hours, we sold much of what we owned, moved a thousand miles with a cat and a newborn in a mustard colored Datsun B210, started two new jobs, and, by the way, bought a house. Since then, I have been as far east as India, as far west as Singapore, as far north as Kaktovich, AK (71degrees north), as far south as Zambia, been declared lost and presumed dead for a couple days in the Whites of New Hampshire, matriculated two children at university, and dealt with the mortal ills inherent with the illnesses of sick and premature infants.
Compared to this, the connection and the currying of favor with an appropriate literary agent is arcane sorcery requiring deft incantations of which I am ignorant. The ability of these dread practitioners, should one somehow be seduced to your cause, to call down the fire from heaven (hereinafter called a publisher) to partake of your sacrificial literary offering, is beyond mortal mind to comprehend.
I am undone.
While I was getting more discouraged, I got a call from a publisher who accepts unsolicited manuscripts.
They offered me a contract.
I accepted it today.