Five years of learning my voice and writing style.
Four manuscripts- either waiting in the wings or on my laptop.
Eight months of writing and revising this particular manuscript.
A year of querying and rejection.
Fourteen full or partial manuscript requests from either agents or editors.
What do all of these equal?
I will be a published author!!
Yes, folks. I received ‘the call.’ Or in my case, ‘the email.’
I sold AUDREY’S PROMISE to The Wild Rose Press.
No release date yet, but as soon as I have it I’ll announce that.
And for anyone who knows me, they know what comes next:
Happy Dance time!
Audrey’s Promise (Contemporary Romance)
Queries Sent: 10 (and 2 contest entries) to mostly agencies
Rejections: 5 (all form letters)
Partial Requests: 1 (Synopsis sent to agent, and since rejected)
Full Requests: 2 (both from Publishers, still pending)
I’m doing it the smart way. I send out 3-4 at a time and wait for responses. If I need to tweak my query letter or pitch, I do (with the help of great friends!) and submit to 4 or 5 more. If I don’t get nibbles, then I know I need to revamp the letter again. Querytracker.net is a great place to help me keep track of all this. As well as the ones I want to query, but need to wait or do more research. Meanwhile, I keep entering contests online. We’ll see where this goes!
It’s that time in my career again… Queryville. Which inevitably conjoins with Reject-o-season. Much like tax season. It’s painful. ‘But necessary.’
Thanks to some help from dear friends, I had a query letter and synopsis written up fairly quickly and sent out to an agent whom I’ve followed for years. And after a glorious week of anticipation, tax season showed up.
It hurt. I won’t lie, my hopes were built up on this one. I thought it was a perfect fit for them and this manuscript felt better than any of my others. But I have to be grateful I received a response at all. Many people don’t hear anything back when rejected.
But that means I simply have to query out to the masses as I did before. Semi-slowly. Four or five at a time and wait for a few weeks. Which means I need to bust out querytracker.net again and rifle through all the profiles and submission guidelines.
But at this point, I think I’ll take Queryville and Reject-o-season over the horrible season called Presidential Election campaigns. Publishing is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed school girl compared to the upcoming attacks of the political Olympics.
Major milestone, people!
After plotting for 2 months and writing for 5 months, my first draft is complete on novel #3.
*Commence happy-dance, ala Steve Carrell*
Couldn’t be happier! And it’s about 3 weeks ahead of my goal I set earlier this year. That never happens. It’s about 70,000 words and I know I have several scenes I need to add/adjust (I’d like to be closer to 80,000 words), but I’ll take care of those during revisions. But how often do people reach this milestone?? I feel like I need to celebrate with a bottle of wine or something! Coffee isn’t enough of a celebratory drink.
Once I’m done with my hurrah cocktail, I need to get back to work. I’ll set the first draft aside and work on my second novel’s revisions. That one needs a crap-load of fixing! Which means, I’ll need to pass that through my critique group. I love their ideas, and above all their honesty. I also need to write the query letter and synopsis for the second novel (which I’m sure I’ll also send through my friends). Hopefully I’ll be ready to query that one to agents and editors starting around May.
But weeks like this make me feel so justified. I accomplished something.
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I had to sit on this thought for the last week. I didn’t want to make any rash decisions on this, considering that I’ve worked five years (off and on) on my first manuscript. But last weekend I received another rejection on my full manuscript submission to a literary agent. I appreciated her thoughts on my work, and that she actually spent the time to personalize her rejection, inform why it didn’t work for her and gave me specific examples on what didn’t jive.
But it still hurt. A lot. No one likes to hear their first baby (granted, just a piece of literature) is unliked. The unpopular manuscript in class. But as I sit back and reread her rejection email over and over like a deranged mother, I realize it has a lot in common with another personalized rejection letter I received a few months ago from another agent. Both reference issues with voice and style (in one form or another). And any writer, or aspiring writer can tell you that’s not something that can be fixed overnight. Not even over a weekend or month. It can take some writers years to develop their voice. And that thought crushed my motivation.
After spending five years on my first manuscript, and now I’m halfway through my second story, having to spend MORE years trying to develop my style and voice before acquiring an agent is the epitome of frustrating. So I’ve stewed over this for the last week, discussed it with my husband and perused the blog tours for more insight. And I believe I’ve come to a heart-breaking decision.
I need to shove my first baby in a drawer and let it alone. It has sung its final swan song.
Maybe down the road when I’m more experienced and have a more developed voice I can go back and rewrite it *gasping and sobbing at the thought of starting from a blank slate*. Maybe I’ll have a better chance with this second story I’m writing. I’m not too far into this manuscript that I can’t go back and fix some things relating to my voice.
I’m not being overly dramatic in my decision. Just two rejection notices and I give up on it? Absolutely not. This is after probably 40 rejections on this thing over the years (between publishers and agencies). I’ve given this manuscript a good run. The story is great, the plot is well-developed and I really like the characters. It was all about voice. Probably just sheer lack of experience in putting words onto a page. And that’s what hurts the most. That’s what a writer does. Puts words on a page. And if I’m having the biggest problems with that aspect, then what does that say about me as a writer?
My motto has always been to keep writing forward. And I will. But it’s been a little harder this week. After all, practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. And if I’m practicing bad writing, that’s exactly what I’ll be: a bad writer. And I don’t handle failure well.
So here I go: keep pushing forward, no matter how much muck and sludge I have to plow through. Keep writing forward.
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My query letter was critiqued by RomanceUniversity.org. I’m so appreciative of their help.
Click on either link below and it will lead you to what they suggested!