I try to make it a personal policy to only ask questions when I’m prepared for the answer. So several months ago, I sent off a question to Writer’s Digest for the column “Funny You Should Ask.” It’s a monthly Q&A for writers, primarily about getting published—the old-fashioned way—agent-to-editor-to-publisher.
My query was about the chance an older writer has in getting an agent given the reality of publishing today. Here’s how my query started:
“When I look around writing conferences, I see lots of gray hair. Are there really agents and editors who will . . .” You get the drift.
To my delight, Barbara Poelle, who pens “mostly serious answers to mostly serious questions” chose my letter for the October issue of Writer’s Digest (p. 51).
In the interest of fair use rules, I’m going to paraphrase her reply. She did address it to “Dear Golden” as in my golden years.
These are her key points:
1. There is indeed pressure to produce when you’re young. As in a “body of work,” when the clock is ticking and you actually look somewhat your age.
2. The life we’ve lived plus a well-written, compelling story—trumps #1.
3. “Brand building” will get worked out when you find a willing agent who loves your work.
And here is Barbara Poelle’s delicious ending: “Just write a fabulous book, and no one will count the candles on your cake.”
Btw – Barbara Poelle is VIP at Irene Goodman Literary Agency where she specializes in adult and young adult fiction. www.irenegoodman.com