The happy news today is that I heard back from one of the agents I queried and she would like me to send her the first 50 pages of the book. For those of you who don't know I've had two other agents request the book and one said, "After thinking about it...nah. But good luck!" and the other one said, "You should pay an editor to rewrite the ending. Then we'll talk." After talking to some other writers I decided not to go with the latter agent and work on the ending myself.
Anyway, this letter is different from any than other response I've gotten from editors or agents before. It's a request for the book, so it's sort of an acceptance but it reads like a rejection letter. It says:
Thank you for your interest. Please do send the first 50 pages, a copy of this letter, and a SASE to: (lists the address).
Please forgive the form letter, but the volume of inquiries we receive obliges us to respond in this manner.
The Joy Harris Literary Agency
Dear writer? Does that not start off like a rejection or is it just me? I had to reread it a few times to make sure it didn't say "Please do NOT send the first 50 pages." So...is it that they request so many manuscripts that they've had to create a standard request form? Or is it that they're soooo uppercrust that even the writers they like get second class responses. Weird.
So I'm polishing the first 50 pages to send them. Along with a letter that reads:
Thank you for your interest in my book. Here are the first 50 pages. Please forgive the form letter but the volume of praises I receive obliges me to respond in this manner. Once you read the first page you will find yourself flipping through more and more, much like how when you eat one potato chip you keep going back until eventually you are elbow deep in the bag. The work is genius. You know it. I know it. I await your acceptance with aloof nonchalance.
Now that the letter has been written, and it's just you and me I think I can let down my hair. OH DEAR GOD, PLEASE LIKE MY BOOK! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!! I'VE WORKED SO HARD ON THAT FUCKING THING, MY BRAIN HURTS! PLEASE TAKE IT AWAY!!!
Ok. I'm better now.