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Also, it's very tough to find an agent who will take on an unpublished writer.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