To explain the genesis of my novel, “Sherlock Holmes and the Whitechapel Vampire” would result in a “spoiler” for this book and possibly a sequel, so I will save that for another day, except to say the germ of the idea came from a song by James Taylor. But as I say, further explanation will have to wait for another day.

The novel in its current form, or the beginnings of its current form, began a little over two years ago and it began as a short story, which progressed into a novella and finally reached novel status. As a novice writer, I began attempting to find a home for it long before it was ready. I first sent it out to agents in the novella format, and as I’m sure most writers will attest, the market for novellas from unknown authors is very limited. Most agents simply rejected it without comment, if they answered my queries at all.

Along with the length of the work, I had problems in the area of classification or genre. It was a detective novella, then novel, of course with Sherlock Holmes, though my emphasis was on the vampire, so I attempted to contact agents who represent works of horror. When this wasn’t panning out, I switched to agents that represent historical fiction, then mainstream fiction and finally mystery and mystery and suspense.

I used a variety of sources to find these agents: Agentquery.com, a wonderful website that can be searched by genre and has internal links to learn more about the agent as well as external links to the agency’s web site, if it’s available. I spent a lot of time searching that database. In addition, I used other databases, such as http://www.spywriter.com/litagency1.html, and http://www.1000literaryagents.com/ as well as others. Some are more up to date than others, and I kept returning to Agentquery, as it appeared to be the most up to date from the responses I did receive.

Another great source of information, especially for new agents is Chuck Sambochino’s ‘Guide to Literary Agents’ blogs. It’s a great source of information and perspective of the agents, plus he gives a head’s up on new literary agents, who might be more inclined to take a risk in filling out their author list than established agents.

 I’ve yet to find an agent, but I was lucky enough to find MX Publishing, while I was looking for agents and publishers simultaneously, after being turned down my scores of agents. Hopefully, now that I am a published author the hunt for an agent for my next book will be a bit easier.

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