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Looking Back and Looking Forward


Michael Gallant

Well, it's been a year since we revived Quantum Muse, shaking off the cobwebs and dragging it back into the light of day, and so it seems a good time to take stock.

The writers' community certainly provides more constructive critique than we used to. More than most fiction zines, online or print, come to think of it, so I think we can call that a win.  Submissions are down dramatically since we started requiring authors to critique other stories before submitting their own, which proves that authors are lazy and narcisistic, which should come as a surprise to nobody.  It also reduced our workload, and since laziness was one of the pillars on which we founded our empire, I'm going to call that a positive development as well.

We've had a solid year of more or less on time updates, which is strong work for us, and I hope, helped provide a bit of insight for those authors who weren't published.

Recently we've stumbled across another potential resource.  A representative from the Ethan Ellenberg Litterary Agency asked us to post a notice that they are looking for authors. We agreed, after he pointed out that he'd paid for the last round, posted bail for us and convinced the landlord not to press charges.

That got us to thinking, while we have tried to give our authors guidance in the way of writing, we really don't know much about publishing. We know about reading stories, comparing notes and complaining about them and then pasting an isue together at two minutes to deadline, but not so much about the actual world of traditional publishing. How does one best approach a publisher? How does one best sell a manuscript?

So, we figured, why not ask an agent? Thus far most of our contact with agents has been in the form of polite but not terribly informative rejection letters.  I put the idea of an Ask An Agent column to our contact, and Mr Ellenberg  agreed to do such a piece.

In return, we released his assistant unharmed.

So, once again, I ask for your help. If you have any questions for a literary agent, please post them in the comment section below. We'll go through the suggestions and put togther something for him to answer.

Who knows, we might wind up learning something about this business in spite of our poor attitude and dreadful work ethic. 


2009-11-14 14:25:25
How often do you represent short works such as novellas, short story collections by one author? Does your agency actively use, or consider digital publication, such as e-books through Amazon.com? What is your take on the self-publishing sites like lulu.com and createspace.com?

2009-11-02 13:07:44
When you receive an MS, what are the indicators of potential that you look for and in what sequence? If you think about opening your email/snail mail, what are the 'discard this' prompts that you would hit and in what sequence do you look for them? Cheers, David Jenkins

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