Monday, July 8, 2019


By Mary Kennedy                                           

It's always good to hear from readers. Some of the messages are touching, some entertaining, some may give me food for thought, but they are always welcome! 

Here are a couple of questions I've had this month.

Q. I notice you post a LOT of cat photos on FB and other social media sites. From what I can tell, you have at least four current cats and have had more in the past. Do you realize you've crossed over into Crazy Cat Lady territory? Signed, a dog lover

A. Dear dog lover, it's always good to meet a fellow animal lover. I love dogs too and am currently dog sitting my grand dog.  Because of my husband's allergies, we decided to rescue and adopt cats, not dogs. I love all animals!

I'm not sure what the fine line is between "cat lover" and "crazy cat lady" so I don't know how to answer your question. I guess the real issue is, are my cats well cared for, and I can definitely tell you they are! Thanks so much for contacting me and give your dog a hug for me. 

Q. I'm an aspiring writer and need advice pretty desperately. How many pages do I need to send to an agent? Could you help me find an agent? Could you introduce me to your agent? Could you read a few chapters if I send them to you? I've written about half of a 300 page novel, but I don't want to write the rest of it unless I know it's going to sell. Signed, Loves to Write.

A. Oh dear. Where to start, my friend. Ok, I'll give it to you straight. First of all, finish the book! Don't even think about agents or publishers or book deals until you get that book done. No one wants to read a few chapters, or even one chapter when they don't know if you will ever finish it. Let's face it, if you don't have faith in your book, who will? I don't mean to sound harsh, but that's the truth.

Also, it's very tough to find an agent who will take on an unpublished writer. Not impossible, but very unlikely. The competition is brutal and agents like to make sales. It would be difficult for them to persuade an editor to buy a book from a debut author and agents are deluged with thousands of queries a year. I believe my own agent receives about 6,000 letters a year, all from aspiring writers who want her to read their work and represent them.

Don't forget this is a business. Agents and editors aren't here to love and support you. You have friends and family for that (I hope!). They're here to engage in the very competitive field of publishing.

On a personal note, it wouldn't make sense to put you in touch with my agent because she doesn't take on unpublished writers. Also, you never mentioned what type of novel you write, and agents specialize. My advice would be to attend a conference and try to connect with an editor or agent at the conference. That would be a foot in the door.

But first of all, finish that book! Good luck and keep on writing.

By Mary Kennedy


Tonette Joyce said...

It never ceases to amaze me that so many people seem to think that they can get into the writing business without knowing anything about the business of writing.
What I can't imagine is the lack of knowledge (or chutzpah) it would take to ask a writer to introduce you to their agent. I feel sorry for the heartbreak this person is going to face; they think it is so simple.
As for being a crazy cat lady,I see you as a kindred spirit!

catladymac said...

My vet assured me that if you are able to care for your animals physically and financially, you are not in "crazy" territory yet. And four cats is certainly NOT excessive. How many dogs does your questioner have - or expect YOU to have ?

Lynn in Texas said...

OMG, Mary, those were some doozies! I hope you take everything with a HEAPING spoonful of salt, which you seem to do succinctly, lol. Thanks for sharing with us. I'm woefully behind in EVERYONE's series, but hope to catch up soon. Keep on entertaining us. We appreciate all your efforts in the books and here on the blog! xo

StephanieHobrock said...

To be considered a crazy cat 🐱 lady, you must have at least six healthy cats currently living with you. Be responsible for three abandoned kitties and help a friend with three of hers!

Toni N said...

I personally do not acknowledge the term crazy cat lady. My husband has set our limit at two (that makes him the crazy one) whereas I feel as many as you can fit on your lap and feet is a good gauge. As long as they are loved and feed and obeyed it is fine!

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

Thank you for your wonderful comments, everyone. So happy everyone stopped by and enjoyed the blog. I'll have to make reader mail a regular feature. I love hearing what readers are thinking (most of the time!) and I'm glad so many readers are animal lovers. I did have 8 cats at one time which was pretty overwhelming. They're all rescues and there seems to be an endless supply! And yes, I think "loves to write" is in for a rude awakening. It's a tough business...almost Darwinian. Thanks again, mary

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