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Welcome to the blog and site of Iowa Author Buzz Malone. I always enjoy hearing from readers. Please leave comments and send me emails to let me know what you think. Your opinions matter more than you might think. Your words inspire me more than you could ever know. To find out more about my writing and books, please click above on the book titles or email me at buzzdmalone@gmail.com

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Dreaded Agent Query

I pulled this picture off the web. It is a pretty good indicator of where I am at in the process with my latest endeavor. While my previous novellas have been about Southern Iowa subjects and have appeal to local folks seeking books with local flavor and settings, the latest one is designed more for the masses. I didn't set out to do it intentionally, but I find that I have rather limited control over which story inside my head actually emerges with the strongest voice. When one comes out on top, it simply demands to be written.

The new novel is a full-length piece that is slightly longer in word count than Huck Finn. There are hundreds of blogs out there devoted entirely to the subject of word count and how new writers are obsessed with it. I am inclined to believe that every writer is, but more experienced ones simply cease to acknowledge the fact. Whatever the case, my better half becomes irritated with me every time I mention it. There is one inescapable fact about however; it becomes economically unfeasible to self publish a long manuscript because the cost of printing is by the page.

The only logical next step, as I am finishing up the final edit of the piece, is to begin the painful process of finding a literary agent. This is the most painful part. A publisher won't even read your work without an agent, and most agents won't read your work without a recommendation from someone else. So, what is a Southern Iowa boy with no New York contacts or famous writer friends to do? There is only the dreaded query letter remaining, whereby you create a single paged letter describing the book and hope that an agent will ask to read it based solely upon that letter.

The most difficult part of the query letter has got to be boiling your entire 380 page novel down to a single paragraph that will grab the attention of the agent's assistant, who skims a hundred such requests every day of the year. It shouldn't be such a tall order for a writer, but after you've spent countless hours writing and rewriting and crafting and constructing a behemoth, to boil it all down to a sentence or two becomes a seemingly insurmountable, herculean task. 

So, even as I final edit, the query letter has begun to consume my thoughts. For those of you who have been curious about the subject matter, and who have emailed wanting to know where I am at in the process, that's where I stand at the moment. Ninety percent of the book has been final edited and I am working on early drafts of a query letter base. Naturally, a different version will be used for each agent I submit to, but there must be some basic broth to serve as the stock for each new recipe. What follows is the basis of my new work and the query letter. Please drop me an email at buzzdmalone@gmail.com and let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading!

In Losing Meadow Brook, my 115,000 word novel, four radically different men are drawn together by the inescapable bond of being the only lucid males at Meadow Brook Assisted Care Facility. When a dying mobster shows up and regales the unlikely quartet with tales of buried cash in Havana, Cuba, one of them will become obsessed by it. Bernard will use everything within his manipulative arsenal to ensure they make the journey…together.  

Eduardo ‘Eddie’ Santiago had fled Cuba with his family as a boy. He was healing from an injury sustained when he saved the child of a fellow migrant worker. Paul Wagner lived his entire life trying to avoid the wife he barely knew. Paul took a nasty, drunken fall and broke both of his arms. Harvey Richardson had tried to kill himself but no one knew it. Harvey lived life by the book and was merely waiting (and hoping) for his story to end. Bernard Mitchell was a wild card in every sense of the word. He’d been cast out of society, as well as a number of nursing homes.  

Losing Meadow Brook is the story of four unique spirits beginning an adventure at a time in their lives when it seemed impossible to be starting almost anything. Harvey Richardson doesn’t even like being in the same room as Bernard Mitchell. Who could blame him? Bernard is loud, obnoxious, rude, and following multiple strokes, downright mean at times. He demands attention and bites the hand of anyone who tries to help him. Their journey together to Havana will create moments akin to The Odd Couple and Grumpy Old Men. 

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