Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Into the Fire - Querying: The Journey Continues

For those of you who have been following my blog, you know that I began querying my book The Consequential Element back in December. I’m still on that journey. Along the way, I’ve begun to acknowledge a terrible truth about myself. One that has been told to me over the years, but one I’ve always denied vehemently. I’m not a patient person. So why the hell would I choose to be a writer? I know, right?

When I say I’m impatient, I mean it in every sense of the word.

When I send my book to a friend, family member, or stranger (beta readers) for the initial reads, I start pacing the floor two days into it. If I don’t hear from them in a week’s time, I’m making up excuses to call hoping they’ll bring up the book. I ask questions like, “Did I loan you my book on grammar and spelling?” “Did you borrow my Stephen King book On Writing?” I know, lame, but they get the point.

When I send it out to the copy editor, I’m pacing the floor after week #1, climbing the walls after week #2, and after week #3 my best advice to anyone sharing my life space…if you value your life, stay the hell away from me, at least until you see a smile on my face again.

Then comes the querying process, which as I said, I’m in the midst of now. I’m not handling it very well. In fact, I’m bloody-well ready to throw in the towel and just self-publish the damn thing on my own. I mean, really, how bloody long are we supposed to wait for a response? How many of those damn letters are we supposed to send out before we say we’ve given it our best shot? What the hell is taking so long? <deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth>

Um, all right, so maybe I haven't really given the whole querying process a fair shot. I mean, I just started querying in December and, I have to admit, I haven't been very religious about it. I’ve sent out about 30 so far; not a huge effort in the total scope of things.

So, I’ve made a commitment to myself. I’m going to send out at least two letters per day for the next 30 days. If, at the end of one month I still have not landed an agent, then I will step back and reconsider my options.

By the way, did I mention that a small press by the name of Double Edge Press currently has my full manuscript and has placed me in the top 3 of their potential publishing deals for the year? Yep. I bet you thought I’d be elated. Well, I am. But I’m also impatient. She asked me to ‘hang tight’ while she works a contract deal with her new distributor. That was about two weeks ago. Can you guess my state of mind right now?

There’s little help for me. I know this. But I thought I might pass on some information that may be helpful to you, my friends, my beacon of light in an otherwise dark and stormy sea. Without you to vent to, I think I’d lose it completely. Thanks for being here for me.

Okay, so here’s what I’ve found so far:

·         Get a life. I mean, find something, anything, to do besides waiting for a response from an agent. Start another book. Take a vacation. Join the gym. Join a Zumba class. Take some writing classes. Take up a hobby. I don’t know, start a relationship…or end one. You have to do something besides writing and querying. Because my nerves are shot and my energy level is through the roof, I’m joining a Zumba class. Mainly because I bumped into a woman at the market who said it would kick my butt.

·         Revel in the good. Have you received a rejection letter that was anything other than a form letter? If so, keep it close and savor it. Use it to bump your ego. Let it offer the encouragement you need to keep on keeping on. If the agent liked it, it means you’re on the right track. Stay the course. (Okay, I’m trying to listen to this advice. I’m really trying.)

·         Enjoy your victory. You finished a novel. That in itself is huge. I have to constantly remind myself of this. I finished a complete novel, for crying out loud! Celebrate.

·         Learn to accept rejection. Develop a thick skin, if you don’t already have one. It’s tough to be rejected on a daily basis, I know. But remember that the rejection is not against you personally. This is a very subjective business. What’s not right for one agent may be just the thing for another. Keep plugging until you find that agent. (This is especially difficult for me. I hate rejection.) Learn to accept it, but don’t ever allow yourself to wallow in it. Give yourself no more than ten minutes to drown in misery and self-doubt. Then pick yourself up and move on.

·         Stay productive. The more you manage to produce, the better you’ll feel about yourself.

A deep sigh. I’m glad I wrote this post. I had to reinforce a few things and writing them down is the best way I know how. I'm a writer, after all.

So, I’ve donned my new coat of armor etched with energy and confidence. I’m off to fight another fight. I may fail some battles, but I will win the war!

Until next time,

Dee Ann J