Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Feeling like I’ve been here before: IWSG post


Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: I’m getting ready to query a new book.

Oh, yeah, that’s come up once or twice on the blog. So many times in fact I have many agents and agencies memorized. I’d be lying if I said I was perfectly confident that this time—THIS TIME!—would be different.

I’ve had dozens of full requests, I get personalized feedback on my query letters. And I have hundreds of rejections. Hundreds. And yet, here I am with another book, making my list, checking it twice, finishing up the draft and making notes for revisions.

It is the definition of insanity to try the same thing and expect a different result, and YET HERE I AM, because this is “the process.” At this point, it’s probably fair to say that I’ve lost faith in the process. I’m not saying that it doesn’t work, it just doesn’t appear to be working for me. It’s like I’ve come to live in a world where there is an invisible line I cannot seem to cross. It starts to feel like that time I agreed to tutor one of the guys in my physics class and after I showed him the mnemonic for memorizing the formulas, he showed me how ALL THE OTHER BOYS WERE CHEATING on the exams. Literally everyone knew this one trick (and it was cheating, to be clear), but for three years they hadn’t told me, the only girl, about this one thing.

Watching other writers find their forever homes for their books feels like that. It feels like there’s a secret club and I’m somehow just not smart enough/good enough/stubborn enough to get there. It feels like there’s a cheat code I don’t know about, but everyone else does.

I’ve tried everything to find that cheat code: Writer’s conferences, workshops, crit groups, professional editors, agent critiques. I put every first page and query up for critique on every writing podcast with a critique show (You’ve almost certainly heard or read one of my queries). I’ve participated in so many query contests and received so much feedback, that I now know what does and does not work for me.

Still, I keep hacking away at the process. I’m polishing my manuscript. I’m crafting my query, and I’m girding my heart against the process, worried that this next attempt will end like all the ones that came before it. All I can do is keeping doing.

At least there is one thing I can say from my experience: I’ve tried everything. I’ve followed every rule. I’ve tried to be the perfect little writer, the perfect representation of what I’ve thought the world wanted of me, and NONE OF THAT worked. I’ve tried being me, and that didn’t work much better, but I enjoyed it more. Maybe the point of this process is to find my voice in the storm? Anyways, I’ll be sending my owls into the night again, and I’ll just be over here practicing deep breaths.

Don’t forget, this is a blog hop! Head on over to Ninja Captain Alex’s blog and jump on the Linky. Be sure to visit the cohosts Dolorah @ Book Lover, Christopher D. Votey,Tanya Miranda, and Chemist Ken!

11 comments:

  1. Good luck on your queries! Writing to me is a rinse and repeat kind of thing. :) A vicious or lovely cycle.

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  2. I haven't published anything yet, so I haven't had to experience rejection yet. Maybe that's why I'm a slow writer. I just don't want to face the rejection part of writing. All you can do is keep writing and build up your backlist so that when it does happen, you'll be ready.

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  3. Ah the joys. You know, that "forever home" you're talking about with publishers, the more authors I rub shoulders with, the more I find that a myth. Sure, there are some publishers that get a book out there and keep it published, but more often than not, the book goes out of print or the publisher closes their doors... I think there is no happily ever after in the publishing world, which is why we have to find joy exactly where we are now.

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    1. I may or may not be experiencing something VERY SIMILAR to this, but I would be unable to speculate further due to reasons of discretion (and contracts).

      I also like your reminder to find joy where we are now.

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  4. Don't lose hope. You just haven't found that one publisher or agent with that one story yet. And you will.

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    1. Fingers crossed. On the plus side, I've failed at quitting so many times that I know it isn't a viable option for me. Time and luck, that's all I need.

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  5. When you walk in the forest and come across two paths in the trail, somethings you must take out your machete and carve out a new path for yourself.

    Have you considered self-publishing? I know many want to go the traditional route, but I've had a few traditional publishers tell to go the route of self-publishing, and the publishing industry is a sinking ship.

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    1. So I do have a series that I plan to self publish. For contract reasons, I can't/don't want to launch it until I have my rights back. But I know the audience for that book and how to reach many of them.

      I am looking for traditional publication for this book because I don't know how to contact the audience for it, and I assume a publisher would be better at that step (as they have that audience dialed in). We shall see.

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  6. UGH!! I feel your pain! Don't give up. Wishing you much luck and success this time around.

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    1. Thank you! We'll see how things go this round. I really hope this one is different, but I've felt like I had a sure thing so many times before.

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  7. I've only shopped short stories around, but that can get very discouraging. I can only imagine what it'd be like for a novel. Your determination inspires me. Good luck and keep trying!

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