Gwen Strauss

Keeping Track

Got an agent

September 12, 2014

Tags: Novel, writing, agent, literature, writing, publishing, France

I am no stranger to rejection. I’ve had high hopes and seen them dashed. This last novel, I wrote to make myself laugh. Being so serious and “literary” was really not working out for me. I figured I would not get myself too worked up about publishing it. I set a goal for myself. I would find twenty agents to submit to. I would work my way down the list. If I got to the end of the list with no takers, then I would self-publish.

I worked on curating this list for a long time. Some were agents I had met before, or that I had some introduction to through other writers. But some were agents I found all on my own. I liked the authors and books they represented.

Andy Ross was one of these. I found him through other authors, then found his website Ask the Agent. I read the website, ordered his online book and I was hooked.

Andy felt like someone who could easily be a friend. After my query, he asked for ten pages. After that he asked for the whole manuscript and after that he said, “Yes!” and I said “YIPEE!”

But with restraint.

I’ve been around the agent block a few times. I know this does NOT mean I will get a novel published. But it does feel better than a sharp stick in the eye.

I have had other agents—here’s the list:

Harriet Wasserman (was super enthusiastic, I remember her ranting, “you have IT!” But then never called me back.)

Geri Thoma (Tried but could not sell my first novel. Told me to put my second novel in a drawer and forget it ever existed—she was probably right—but after that she never responded to my emails again.)

Sloan Harris (loved my novel Papio and really tried to sell it, but couldn’t. And I think Sloan had bigger and better clients, Nelson Mandela, David Mamet. I just wasn’t going to get the big bucks with my “literary fiction.” Also I think Sloan and my relationship coincided with the real shift in the publishing world: no mid-list authors, no literary market, no more making a living as an author and certainly the agents of those authors would not make a killing either.)

So now it’s Andy…

Selected Works

Juvenile Nonfiction Ages 7-10, Grades 2-5
The True Story of a young Holocaust survivor
Children's picture book
In the early 1950s, newly built interstate highways invited Americans to travel by automobile, but the open road wasn't so open for African-Americans, especially in the South.
Until he meets Marcia, Eric doesn't speak -- the Night Shimmy does all the talking.
Poetry
Strauss explores the theme of metamorphosis in fairy tales in this collection of poetry.
a series of poems in the form of a sonnet garland
Novel
Kay koule twompe soley men li pa twompe lapli. A leaky house can fool the sun, but it can't fool the rain. --Haitian Proverb
The adventure story of a young couple who sail to the Yucatan

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