Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Querying Makes Me An Anxious Bitch

So I won't sugarcoat it; I know I've been terrible these last few months about posting anything. The sad truth is that after I finish a big writing project, I don't even want to write my name, let alone a blog post once or twice a week.

But I'm beginning to feel more refreshed and reinvigorated with my writing so hopefully, you'll be seeing me here more often, writing like I'm supposed to.

Since finishing the revision for Momentum, I spent some time dillydallying about the next step in the publishing process: querying literary agents.

Back in the day, you used to be able to send your Great American Novel as an unsolicited manuscript to the major publishing houses in hopes of hitting pay-dirt. Alas, this is no longer the way. Manuscripts ended up in the "slush" pile and were forgotten.

Nowadays, literary agents act as the "gate keepers" to the publishing world. They decide what is publishable and what is not, deciding which writers they'd like to take on. Agents maintain relationships with publishers and editors; they know the market. They're also the ones who pitch your novel and negotiate your contract once you've been offered a book deal. Basically, they're the author's advocate.

Landing an agent is my next task on the road to being published. It's not as easy as emailing someone and claiming you've written the next bestseller. It's becoming harder and harder to get noticed by agents. They receive hundreds of query emails (your book's "cover letter," like something that would be written on the back cover) a week and often are picky about what genres they're looking for and which books they'd like to take on.

I spent a week or so researching agents I hope will be interested in my book. I wrote my query letter, got together my sample chapters, and sent out my proposals.

Basically now, it's best to forget about it. Agents take several weeks to respond to queries, and more often than not, they only respond if they're interested in requesting a full or partial. Otherwise, expect radio silence. I still have a mini panic attack every time I check my email, but I'm learning to move on and if I hear from someone, then I'll celebrate. It's best not to get my hopes and take whatever response I get as a small victory.

Now I'm focusing on a new project! That's right: I have started another manuscript.

I'm actually expanding a short story I wrote last semester for one of my classes. It was well-received but during my revision, I knew the story wasn't finished. I saw the characters and the plot on a bigger scale than the 9,000 words I had already written. After finishing Momentum, it became clear to me that the story needed more.

It's always a wonderful feeling when I get The Next Idea. It is an exhilarating, singing sensation where I know - this is a Book Idea, not a short story, but a Book.

So for the time being I'm working on this new project, but I'll definitely be keeping you posted on any responses I get from my querying efforts.

Thanks for sticking with me.


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