I have a question for you about writing credits...you said in a previous post to not include writing credits unless they're for something substantial, like a short story published in a reputable magazine. For a while, I've been trying to revise my short stories so that they're ready for publishing, so that I can include the writing credits in a query letter. Honestly, it would be nice to have a short story published, but my passion truly lies with novel writing, so I'd be doing it more as a means to an end. And I also wonder if some of the reputable magazines are looking for writing credits as well, which I of course don't have.
So my question is this: should I even bother getting a short story published, if my main motivation is to have writing credits? Or should I focus more on writing a query letter an agent would have a hard time passing up?
Absolutely focus on writing the query. Even great writing credits will not get you past me if the novel doesn't sound very good, and I'll put it in the maybe pile if it sounds great and has no credits.
For those of us who don’t live in NY or LA and are not in a position to leave a paid job and spend a year doing free labor at a literary agency, can you recommend any way to learn to business of literary agency? Are there no classes, workshops, books, events, external internships….?
If you want to become an agent (which is the reason to learn the business), you basically have to live in NY or LA, or work for an agent who lives in your area for a long time. If you want to learn about publishing in general, there are plenty of on-line, low-residency, and normal graduate-level courses available at universities across the country.
Whatever would I do without you to answer my most burning questions? Here's a new one: I've queried widely regarding my first manuscript for the past few months, gotten a few partial requests and a couple of fulls, too. However, I haven't landed an agent yet. So, in those few months I was querying the first manuscript, I've had a chance to write and polish an entirely new project. I feel much more confident about this one and can't wait to start sending some queries out to see what will happen. My question is, how long should I wait between querying an agent about the first project before sending a query for this new project? It has been a couple of months, but I wasn't sure if that was long enough. Then again, I hate to sit and cool my heels when I feel that this one is polished and ready to go. What's your expert advice?
For an entirely new project? I would wait about a week between submissions. Usually after a week or so we've forgotten your name, if that would even make a difference to us, which it probably wouldn't. We only care about what you're currently submitting.