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Greg Bardsley

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agents

Waiting …. waiting …. waiting

My agent is starting to tell publishers about my novel, which has been pretty damn cool. For me, to finally have some really great book editors take a look at my stuff is like getting called up from the farm system for an afternoon of practice in the Majors. Of course, you know the odds of lasting beyond that one day of practice are slim — but, damn, it’s cool to at least see them give you a serious look.

So now I wait, and try to focus on producing new fiction, primarily the storylines and themes for the second, third and possibly fourth books in what would be a series of crime novels. And I’m making progress. But of course I spend too much time thinking about what might be happening out there with my manuscript — who might be reading it, what might be going through the editors’ minds as they do read it, whether any of them are reacting favorably to the idea of a smart and violent femme fatale who thoroughly bewitches a young journalist, or what they think of a paroled Oakland Raiders fan and his tiny pet monkey with the serious ear fetish.

We’ve gotten some initial feedback, and it’s been encouraging. The first editor to respond enjoyed the book and called it “a lot of fun.” The second response came from an editor who said the novel was entertaining and well-paced, and added that “Greg Bardsley clearly has talent” (I’m saving that comment). But neither of them made an offer. In fact, we’re early in the process, my agent reminds, and the manuscript is still out with other publishers. So I wait.

I think I’m getting good at that.

He “popped the hood”

My agent sent me an email Monday. And I have to say, this probably was the most satisfying email I’ve gotten in my fiction-writing pursuits.

In his email, Jeff outlines and explains his strategy for pitching my novel to editors. After working with Jeff on the editorial aspects of the book, I now got to see the other side of his literary-agent skills — architecting the submission process and discussing the sensibilities and buying habits of various editors.

Not only was I impressed with Jeff’s deep knowledge of the publishing community, but I was simply thrilled to see the names of editors with whom he wants to share my novel. They’re editors who’ve put out some truly great crime novels, and seeing their names and respective publishing-house imprints in Jeff’s email added a new layer of tangible authenticity to my adventure. It was as if he had “popped the front hood” of the publishing-world’s TransAm and let me have a nice long look at its engine — it’s fascinating, cherried-out, all-chrome machinery.

Pretty sweet.

“What About Greg?” starring me

The chicken-bone sceneOne of my all-time favorite movies is the 1991 comedy “What About Bob?” starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss. When I chance upon it on TV, I can still sit there on the couch, point at the screen and laugh out loud. And when the Heimlich Maneuver scene unfolds, I go into a full-on fit with tears streaming down my face — at which point my wife pats me on the leg and whispers, “I think I’ll leave you alone.”

“What About Bob?” features an annoying but harmless “multiphobic obsessive compulsive psychiatric patient” (Murray) who won’t leave his successful psychiatrist (Dreyfuss) alone. All the good doctor wants is a restful, Bob-free family vacation at the lake; problem is, Murray’s Bob Wiley follows him there. As the stalking continues, Bob slowly drives the doctor loony.

I don't wanna be like BobI got to thinking of this movie today — right after I sent my literary agent, Jeff, another email. You see, I don’t want to annoy Jeff. I don’t want to keep sending him emails, as he already is overloaded with them. And being that I am capable of sending Jeff too many emails, I suddenly realized that I risk becoming the literary equivalent of Bob Wiley, the annoying client who won’t leave his savior alone.

But on the other hand, Jeff is about to start telling book editors about my novel, and it’s a major moment for me. I want to make sure I’ve given Jeff everything that could help him, which is why today I sent him a kind of cheat sheet to my book. It summarizes some of the selling angles we’ve discussed, and it offers my crudely developed list of editors who’ve bought novels similar to mine. Mindful of possibly becoming the Bob Wiley of Jeff’s world, I did promise to “go away” for a long time and resume work on my next novel.

Have any of you sent your agent any sales leads? Or would that be too annoying, too Bob Wiley’sh?

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