Thursday, April 14, 2005

Don't hate me 'cause I'm modest.

This is it, kids. My defining moment. The big show. I'm all a tingle.

Wait a minute. I was just sitting on my foot and it went to sleep. Scratch the tingle part.

You see, I made myself a promise on April 23rd of last year. That was the day before my fortieth birthday. I promised myself that before I turned forty-one, I would submit my work to at least one literary agent. Just one.

I figured that was all the rejection my forty-year-old body could handle.

With my birthday deadline only days away, I have decided I finally have to go through with it and actually do the deal. I tried to talk me into letting me out of my promise, but I can be so damn stubborn sometimes that there is absolutely no dealing with me so I finally gave in just to shut me up.

My first order of business has been to choose an agent that will even allow someone other than Suzanne Somers to submit a query. For those of you that don't know, a query is basically a letter that introduces you, your work and everything you've ever done worth mentioning in a single page. The query letter is a monster like no other and it's the biggest reason I have allowed my deadline to get so close without going forward. I hate them.

Hate them, hate them, hate them.

And why do I hate them so? Because I suck at 'em, that's why. According to the one million articles I've read on how to write a good one, they have to be very straightforward, very succint and not so much funny. I am neither straightforward nor am I succinct and when I am told I can't be funny is when I am the funniest.

It's like telling me not to laugh in church. It's a curse.

So anyway, I finally found the one. The literary agent that I know is going to break my heart and leave me blowing snot bubbles under the kitchen table with a box of Moon Pies and a roll of toilet paper. I've been doodling his name on my notebook all day and I already love him and hate him at the same time.

Allowing random people to visit my website or my blog and read my work in progress has been fun and not a bit scary. The emails have always been encouraging and very often, absolutely hysterical. It's great feedback and for an attention starved chick like myself, it's a real boost.

But presenting your heart and soul to someone that reads what people have to say for a living and decides whether it's worthy or not is a different beast altogether. It's like giving birth to a child you see as beautiful and amazing and having someone peek under the blanket and compliment you on your pet platypus.

Not cool.

I asked myself what I could possibly say to this man to convince him that he needs to stick a contract under my nose quicker than I married my last husband. The problem in describing my work is that if you have to tell someone you are funny, you are not funny. It's like explaining a bad joke and then saying, "Get it?".

I don't want to be a bad joke.

Here's the solution I've come up with. I'll just let some emails I've received from my readers do the talking for me! How perfect is that?

Below you can read five emails I've received from actual people. Some allowed me to use their names and some asked that I just use their initials. Remember, these are really, really, real people. I did not just sit here this very minute and make them up. That would be wrong.

Real email #1:
Dear Sher,
You are so funny. I wish so much that you had a book that I could purchase for my very own. No matter how much it cost, I would buy it. Even if that meant I had to take out a second mortgage and spend my kid's college fund, it would be worth it. You are that good.
Mary Todd Lincoln

Real email #2:
Dear Sher,
You are so funny. So funny in fact that reading your work actually cured my diverticulitis.
Thank you,
A real person with diverticulitis

Real email #3:
Dear Sher,
You are so funny. I believe that had I had a book written by you a few years ago, I would have spent my time laughing rather than painting an intern's dress with my DNA.
God save the Queen,

Real email #4:

Dear Sher,
You are so funny. I am writing this with the help of a medium as I am quite dead, but I felt it was worth the effort to let you know how much I enjoy your work. Be sure and mention to potential publishers that you have the breathing-challenged market all sewn up.

Real email #5:
Dear Sher,
You are so funny. If funny was a monkey, you'd be the monkey queen.
King Kong

I'd like to thank all of the totally real people that took the time to send me such thoughtful emails. You are the wind beneath my wings.

Copyright © 2004, Sherri Bailey
This blog may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the author.

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Cyndi said...

Oh Sher, you know I love ya girl! I really hope that you are being for real.

Anonymous said...

every single one of those e-mails started off saying, "You are so funny." you ARE so funny, mom

Sher said...

You're the best, Kitten. I love that you think I'm funny. Means more to me than anything.