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!