Agent #42 – Go west, young author

Today’s query was a first: I approached an agent who lives in a town I’d never heard of. To be honest with you, it’s in a state that I would struggle to identify on a map so I looked it up on Google maps. Turns out she lives a fair way south of Chicago (where, thanks to a mouse click, I found it’s hotter there today than it is in Los Angeles by twenty degrees! We Angelenos assume summer’s going to have to kick in sometime before the end of summer…). As my last three queries have been in New York, it appears I have now headed west.

In retrospect I guess perhaps I ought to have contacted her sooner. I read about her first in Writer’s Digest magazine a while ago in an article in which they listed the 25 agents most open to hearing from emerging authors. I guess I skipped over her because I was still deeply in “Only Query Agents In New York” mode. Also: “most open to hearing from new authors” can be interpreted as “most new to the business and most desperate to build a new client list.”

When I went to her website and saw that one of her preferred genres is ‘historical’ which is always encouraging for me to see so I sent off my query. But then I also noticed that her other two main fiction interests were ‘women’s fiction’ and ‘romance.’ So in that context, ‘historical’ usually means heaving corsets, torn petticoats and horny Dukes astride sweaty stallions romping through the Yorkshire moors at dusk. In my novel there might be a corset or two, but none of them heave, there are certainly no petticoats, and the only Duke likely to enter into the action is John Wayne but he doesn’t rate a mention although I’m sure he had his horny moments.

So all-in-all, I’m not holding my breath on agent #42.

On a more positive note, however, I did hear from someone who has been reading my blog and I have no idea who she is. That makes not one but two strangers reading me! Question: Do two people who are following my blog but are not on my Christmas Card List constitute ‘a following’…? Follow-up question: If not, how many does it take? This reader left a comment on my last post saying that she loves my blog and thinks that this blog itself is a book. Hmmm…if I can only find a way to subtly insert a horny Duke riding his sweaty stallion through the Yorkshire moors at dusk I just might have something here…


About Martin Turnbull

The Hollywood's Garden of Allah novels blog is by Martin Turnbull, a Los Angeles based historical fiction author writing about the golden era of Hollywood in his series of novels set at the Garden of Allah Hotel, which stood on Sunset Blvd from 1927 to 1959. Check him out at and Facebook: "gardenofallahnovels"
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2 Responses to Agent #42 – Go west, young author

  1. Betty says:

    If this “blog book” of yours comes to fruitian, I hope (based on your Duke description) that it includes illustrations.

  2. MC says:

    I am following you

    Try conferences too–agents will read your novel on the spot.

    I went to the key west conf. and was in the fiction workshop with Hilma Wolitzer but did not pay, py? to have an agent read anything.

    I am revising my historical, women’s, ethnic, romantic, sad and funny novel.

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