I spent the past twenty-four hours listening to that quiet, screaming, shrill, can’t get it out of head, relentless, pain in the kiester voice.  Oh, you know the one.

“You’re doing what?”

“Who do you think you are?  Bleedin’ Hemingway?”

“You know the chances of being published these days are slim to none.”

“Well, you’re no Cormac McCarthy, that’s for certain.”

Yeah, that voice.

I figure it’s normal to have those doubts – to question.  It feels familiar to me.  I listened to that voice time and again  when I exhibited my manipulated photography ‘back in the day.’  The big difference is that back then I took it to heart.

Twenty years later I seem to have found the strength to turn my back on self-doubt.  Am I still nervous?  A little bit scared?  Of course I am.  I’m moving into unfamiliar territory.  But it’s just one step forward at a time.

I also spent the past twenty-four hours bombarding myself with too much information.  I’ve only myself to blame.  I scoured websites, pulled out books I’ve been saving for this moment, read through back issues of Writer’s Digest…and it got me nowhere.  Like I said:  too much information.

It was either commit to one book/website/magazine or watch my head explode.

The website I’m using to research agents is Agent Query.  It was easy to navigate, and the casual writing style calmed me down.  The site also offers advice about formatting, how to send proposals, writing short and long synopses and the difficult to master query letter.  But there are other great websites:  Author Advance (formerly LitMatch)  and Association of Artists’ Representatives are just two.

But there are gazillions of agents.  Where do I begin?

I attended the Stanford Writer’s Conference last summer and was fortunate enough to meet several agents there.  That’s a start.  And this winter I’ll be attending the San Francisco Writer’s Conference. I’ll take a look at who’s scheduled to attend and find the agents that are looking for new voices in my genre.  And then I’ll start making a list.

I can exhale now.