Some of you can consider this post to be a long answer to “What’s happening with the first novel you’re trying to sell?” and it is, but it is also hopefully an honest look at what the road to (non)-publication is all about.
I received my 31st rejection today and in case you were wondering, it still sucks as much as the 1st one. I have 10 other queries still out there dangling… several of them are close to turning into the “no response means no” form of the rejection.
31 is not really that daunting of a number, really. Truly, that number does not discourage me at all. What IS discouraging, however, is that of those 31 queries, not a single agent has even requested any pages of my manuscript to read. This means, that for the most part, I cannot even get an agent interested in my book, let alone whether or not s/he might think it’s strong enough to consider for representation. I’m not even getting my foot past the door.
Why is this? Searching for answers on this front is the hard part.
Is it the query?
Is it the story concept?
Is it the high word count?
Or no. Or maybe a combination of yeses and nos.
I could blame the lack of interest solely on my inability to market my story in my query letter, but there are some agents who do ask that you send a full synopsis of your novel. Others ask that you send the first 5-10 pages – or even the first couple of chapters of your manuscript with the query, and these have still led me to no requests, which means that it might not only be a poor query, but also that the first part of my manuscript is not good enough.
I do the QueryTracker thing where I post in the comments who I’ve queried, when I queried, and when I have received the rejection or chose to close out for a no-response. I want to throw things at those who are commenting, “this is my n-billionth request!” and “this is my third offer of rep, but I am holding out to see if my dream agent will make an offer instead!” and sometimes I get all whiny and talk to my computer screen saying, “PICK ME, PICK ME!” I’m human, after all. 😀
I could easily not share how I am, for the time being, doing a spectacular job of failing at this whole endeavor.
Two months ago I might not have. However, I figure that maybe one day someone will come across this post and do one of two things: 1) feel relieved that s/he is not alone in this ego-bruising journey to the bottom of the barrel or 2) feel a secret joy that s/he is NOT the one that has received zero requests and believe s/he has the better novel. Those who fit into #2 are also human, after all.
I’m about five months into this quest, which isn’t too bad, but it is also enough time into it to feel less bruised in general, making it easier to share my failings.
On the other hand, if any of you know anything at all about me by now, you understand my outlook on life… for as many failings as I have in this (non) publishing game, I recognize I have a sizable number of favorable outcomes. I wrote a novel. I’ve revised it several times and in spite of what I could think, I know that it’s a good novel. I’ve learned a ton about the publishing business and continue to learn more. I’ve made some connections here and there. I’ve learned how to write a query letter (even if it still sucks – HA!). I’ve started a second novel. I love what that novel might become. I also still love my first one. These are all very good things.
I’m still learning very good things, but here is where I get to the point of my title of this post. I am not anywhere close to giving up. I’ve already mentioned that all in all, it’s still quite early in the “game”. However, when I consider the idea of trying to find more research about how to get published, I’ve discovered that I am saturated. I’ve done the research. I’ve done the critiques. I’ve read everything about revising. I’ve read practically every tip there is about crafting and mastering the query letter. I’ve read successful queries. I’ve read a bazillion agent blogs. I follow agents, authors, editors, and publishers on Twitter. I feel like I could answer all of the #askagent questions that come through on Twitter. All of that advice just rolls away; I cannot absorb any more.
So now it is patience. Now it is trusting in what I have and simply revising again when I need to.
It’ll all work out.
(Hey… if things go dry… I know I can just “fill it up again”.)