From: Timothy Beaulieu
Location: Presque Isle, Maine
Hey Greg, how's it going? Just wanted to let you know that I love your stuff and it's primarily because of the attention to detail. All the science is as technically viable as I've seen in a novel and that's one of the key elements that allows me my suspension of disbelief. I'm an aspiring science fiction author myself (I live about three hours north of Stephen King and after finding out he makes about forty million dollars a year, I could go for a slice of that pie),and have been since I was about fourteen-and no I'll NEVER quit writing. I've submitted a few things but haven't had anything published yet. I was just wondering how you go about acquiring an agent. A guy I used to work with by the name of Jim (bald guy, Massachusetts accent)who was a published author and screenwriter said that publishers basically have three piles of submitted works. They have the pile they read through and send to the printers, the pile they read through and send back for revision and the pile they read through and throw in the garbage can. Now, I had NO idea that you were supposed to double space the lines and not staple the pages together and that it was a good idea to have a decent cover letter, so I take it as a good sign that they sent my stuff back with guidelines on how they wanted it presented and with ideas for revision, but I still think an agent would be able to better guide me through the ins and outs of what I should do. Any ideas? Also, how do you go about conducting your research for the stories? I'm pretty much self-taught on most of my scientific knowledge and I do have a friend that works on the Cassini Project at Nasa (nice irish fellow by the name of Conor), but there's got to be more efficient ways of doing things, and I figured you might know some of them. Appreciate any insight you could give. Well then, until later, you keep writing 'em and I'll keep reading 'em. Peace!
From: Greg Bear
Hello, Timothy! First of all, get out to a local library or bookstore or the local Internet bookstore and pick up a good manual on getting published. The Writer's Digest used to provide a decent guide for beginning writers, and I think they still do. Read that, attend writer's conferences, go to panels with editors and agents, introduce yourself... Then, keep writing until you have something so good no agent will ever turn you down--and when they do, keep pursuing agents and submitting to publishers on your own, if there's any hope they'll read it. And all along, keep writing! And let us know how it goes.