It always cracks me up when people send me a letter addressed to "Agent Bransford." Not "Dear Nathan" or "Dear Mr. Bransford." No. "Dear Agent Bransford." Needless to say, as I'm perusing a large stack of letters in my office, wearing my sensible work attire and sitting comfortably in my standard office chair, I do not feel anything like a secret agent. But whenever I receive an "Agent Bransford" letter it makes me imagine myself in some sort of a cape or mask, saving authors from disadvantageous contract language and/or preventing some sort of global literary catastrophe.
So no, I am not a secret agent, but today I have a case that would be worthy of a Bond-esque literary agent with super-secret hidden X-Ray vision powers. I subscribe to the newsletter "Kirkus Discoveries," which comes out every week or so -- it's a listing of some of the best self-published books that Kirkus has recently reviewed. I have no idea how Kirkus finds these gems or how they have the time (I usually like to think that they spend most of their time honing their notoriously snotty reviews and laughing like hyenas), but I have found some very, very good books this way.
Anyway, today Kirkus Discoveries came out, and there's a very interesting book called FOUR OF DIAMONDS that I would very much like to read. The first line of the review is "A young man stumbles his way to enlightenment in the wilds of the Australian outback." I mean, who wouldn't want to read that? I'd really like to find the author and ask for a copy of the book to consider for possible representation. But there's one problem. I can't find the author's contact info anywhere online.
Maybe I lack proper Google-stalking skills. But still. Take this as a public service announcement from Agent Bransford: "Kids, if you're an aspiring author it is absolutely imperative that you have a Google-able website or a myspace profile or both or SOMETHING so people can easily find you by searching for you and your work. Opportunity can't knock if opportunity can't find your door! Also, eat your vegetables."
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be off saving the world, one query letter at a time.