Keep on Keepin’ On

I’ve been MIA mostly because there hasn’t been much to report. I have three full manuscripts out with agents and have received quite a few query rejections. The fulls are thrilling, addicting occasions. The rejections? Usually I can handle them, but when a whole slew of them comes one after another, I find myself depressed. I know I shouldn’t; this is my first book, and I’m 22. I have a whole career ahead of me, so I shouldn’t sweat this first learning experience. However, this book means so much to me, and I want to give it a chance to be heard.

I revamped my query letter based on some sample ones I’ve found. I’m a huge fan of querytracker.net, which has been an indispensable tool during this crazy process. They have success stories posted. Someone sends the same interview questions to anyone on QT who has signed with an agent, and one of the questions is if the user would be comfortable sharing their query letter. Most do. I realized that mine was a little off the mark–I had more information about the market of the book and its themes rather than a back-of-the-cover blurb like most other letters I saw. Interestingly enough, though, my original query has generated more positive responses than this new one. Such a confusing game.

I’ve been trying to query in batches, waiting to see how my query letter is doing now that I’ve made some changes to it, but it’s so hard to keep any semblance of patience. I’d really love to hold off querying until I have at least one response on a full, but we’re entering into the holiday season, which means that soon enough I won’t be able to query. To keep my mind off of the endless conundrums, I’ve decided to participate in NaNoWriMo, which I’ve never done before because I’ve never really had an idea worth fleshing out. I’m happy to say that I’ve already got a bit over 3,000 words on paper, and I don’t hate them. Success! It would be delightful to have a second project to labor over, but sticking with things hasn’t always been my forte. I’m working on it.

Luckily, I’m the master of distraction, so when I’m not writing, I’m binge-watching American Horror Story or playing vintage video games on an emulator I downloaded last week. (Pokemon Blue, anyone?) The waiting has definitely gotten easier, but I still jump every time my phone chimes with a new email. Still, it’s progress.

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Baby’s First Rejection

This morning I awoke to my first rejection, and you know what? It felt great. It’s hard to navigate through this process when most agencies adopt a “no reply means no” policy. That open-ended crap just serves to torment the writer. Did they get the query? Did they even read it? Should I send it again? Am I so terrible that they won’t even bother to respond?

I understand that it’s sometimes necessary for the agencies to conserve their resources and only reach out to potential clients whose projects sounds like a good fit, but it’s definitely not easy for the writer. I haven’t been waiting long on my queries, but I can imagine how I’ll feel in a month or two when the only emails I’ve gotten are automated confirmations of “yes, we got your query.” Being in the dark is difficult, especially when it’s something so personal and important to you.

I use QueryTracker to stay on top of the queries I’ve made (only seven thus far), and I find myself more drawn to agencies whose response times are quick, even if they reject almost all of the submissions. I’d rather be rejected and know it than sit and twiddle my thumbs for a few months. My impatience will be the death of me–I’m sure of it.

In other news, I’m hoping to start with a freelance editor sometime in the near future, so I will try to hold off querying until I’ve addressed editing the manuscript. That’s probably what I should have done in the first place, but OH WELL. Live and learn and then get Loves, right? (No one will get that reference because my brain is a circus.)

For the rest of the day I suppose I’ll organize potential agents into categories so it’s easier to make queries down the line. I am the least organized person, but when it comes to this, I just want to feel like I constantly have forward motion. I don’t want to waste time and get behind, or worse, become unmotivated. I assign myself busy work so I stay in check. Then I reward myself by playing Skyrim. Hey, it’s a good system, okay?

So, moral of the tangential story? Rejections are good because they mean you can cross one more dead end off of your list. Live to love that silver lining, baby.

The Waiting Game

I’ve never been a patient person. That’s a lie. I’m patient with situations that drive most people crazy, like long lines at the supermarket and getting brought the wrong order at a restaurant. I can roll with the punches. I understand that people are human, and humans make mistakes. That’s all within the realm of my being able to be patient.

However, when it comes to things that only affect me, I’m one impatient little lady. I couldn’t sleep last night. I have a bad thyroid, so I could probably sleep through any number of apocalyptic events, yet have me send out a few queries and I’m wired for a week. Ridiculous. I’ve never been so excited and nervous in my life. I check my email compulsively. It’s disgusting.

I really hope I get better at waiting, because if I don’t, I’ll drive myself into psychosis within the month. (Appropriate for Halloween, maybe, but not much else.) The only saving grace I have is that Gilmore Girls is now on Netflix, so when I feel particularly antsy, I go and watch that. God bless you, Lorelai Gilmore.

I love this and hate it so fiercely. It’s like Christmas, but instead of Santa bringing presents, he gives you a 1% chance of making your dreams come true (and a 99% chance of crushing your spirit). I am exhilarated. I am scared. I am in need of a stiff drink.

The Full Request

Wow. As of this morning I had sent two queries out, both of which were sent on Friday night. This afternoon, I got an email from an agent at Dystel & Goderich requesting my full manuscript.

I don’t think I’ve stopped doing cartwheels since. This is a very exciting, nerve-racking, weird time in my life. It’s all new and possibly wonderful, but it can also come crashing down in an instant. Very delicate.

For now I guess I will keep working on queries and looking forward to working with some editors. It’s hard to stand still now that I feel like I have forward motion. I’m patient with people, not situations. I’m reminded of that now. Oops.

Three cheers to little victories!

(This post is about as disjointed as my thoughts are right now. You’re welcome.)