The Starving Novelist
 
Funny how God knows exactly what you need, and when you need it.  As explained below, I am was taking a break from the querying process.  However, while perusing one of my favorite websites, querytracker.net, an agent's profile caught my eye.  Fellow queriers (is that a word?), had left comment after comment about how positive this agent is- she not only gives writers a fair chance, but she's very  . . . how should I say it . . . polite.  If you email her wanting to know the status of a query or submission, she emails you back (imagine that fellow writers!).  Even her rejections are polite, and often, personal.

I decided to take a chance and send an e-query to her myself.  Low and behold, I woke up this morning with a request for a full submission in my inbox.  Needless to say, I hurried and got that sent off to her associate that handles fiction.  

With two full submissions out (still haven't heard back from the other I wrote about previously), I'm starting to feel more and more like a "real" writer.  I won't lie, it's a little bit exciting.  Though it it's one thing I've learned, always hope for the best, but expect the worst.  So much for my sabatical, looks like it's back to work for me!      
 
 
I have decided to take a break from the querying process.  In the past month and a half, I have sent out 54 queries.  I have gotten 20 rejections, one partial request (rejected), one full request (response pending), and 32 no repsonses.  I know, I know . . . I'm not supposed to get discouraged- just keep on trucking!  Right?  Except for the fact that I can feel the life getting sucked out of me everytime I sit down to do it.  I was also starting to slack off.  Sure I'd peruse the agency's website and make sure I sent my query to the right agent, but that was the extent of my "research."  I no longer checked to see what books he/she represented, or what the agency's commision rate was.  I even commited the query cardinal sin- I sent one out with the wrong agent's name on it.  Yep, I was suffering from query burn-out.  So, I have decided to take a sort of sabatical.  I'm not in the right frame of mind to send out queries right now.  I'm not giving up, just giving my spirits a much needed rest. 

In the meantime, I am doing some major brainstorming (or in my case- daydreaming) for my next novel.  After going through this process of trying to get published, I'm feeling very confused on which route I should go.  I REALLY want to make a living at writing, so do I write what's "in" and popular?  You know, put my own two fingers on the pulse of america?  OR, do I write what's inside of me . . . the stuff that oozes naturally from me?  Young Adult is a popular genre, but the idea of going back to high school, even if just mentally, makes my skin crawl.  Oh, and there's always vampires, demons, wizards, and werewolves . . . hmmm . . . RELAX, that was a joke!  Seriously, there's got to be a life-span on that stuff. 
 
I still have about a month left before I start on my next novel, so maybe some wonderul idea for a book will just come to me . . . maybe in a dream . . . (some Stephenie Meyer humor there).  I have an idea in my head that keeps shifting and growing, and no matter how many others keep popping into my head, this one seems to overwhelm and take over all those little ideas, so maybe this will be the one.  When it comes down to it- I am who I am, and I can only write what's inside.  No matter what, a book can't be forced, and as a writer, it's my duty to give it that sense of honesty.     
 
   
 
 
Waiting is something you do a lot of when you're trying to get published.  Queries get emailed (or snail-mailed) to agents- some respond within minutes, some respond within weeks, and some have the "no-response-means-not-interested" rule, which I despise by the way- I'd rather get the four word rejection (not for me, thanks) than no rejection at all.  However, waiting to hear back from a query is nothing compared to the nail biting, obsessively checking your email, heart pounding type of anxiety that ensues after sending off a partial or full submission. 

About a month ago, I got my first request for a partial submission.  It was literally the happiest moment of my short writing career.  Not because I had six-figure visions floating in my head, but because I had actually piqued someone's interest.  The query that I had wrestled with for over two weeks must be half-way decent!  

After putting together a synopsis (which is another type of personal torture for me- I'll explain why another day) and polishing up my first three chapters, I emailed the submission package to the agent.  Then the waiting started.  Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending how you look at it), I didn't have to wait very long.  A couple of weeks later I received a very nice rejection letter telling me that even though he thought "elements of the project were appealing," the conflict wasn't substantial enough.  Now, for the part that I can only explain as divine intervention- as soon as I closed that email, there was another message from an agent requesting a full. 

Of course, the dissapointment from my rejection kept me from getting too excited about the request.  Also, after looking at some statistics on querytracker.net, I noticed she'd requested fulls from 90% of the queries she'd received (she's a new agent).  Needless to say, my hopes aren't that high.  Regardless, the request was enough to keep me from crying myself to sleep that night!  

Luckily, this uber agent is a speed reader (literally- self proclaimed ten pages per minute!).  According to her blog, she plans on having the majority of the manuscripts read by October 6th (TODAY!), and will start contacting writers then (with rejections AND offers of representation). 

Now, I'm not a pessimist, but I am a realist.  I'm not expecting an offer- not because I don't think my manuscript is good, but because I don't think it's what the MAJORITY of agents are looking for.  When I wrote my novel, I wrote what was in me . . . what I wanted to write- with no regard for what was "in", or what agents were looking for.  Do I think my story is good?  Yes.  Do I think there is a market for it?  Definetly.  Do I think there are agents out there that would love it?  Of course!  The problem is finding them.  

Regardless of the outcome, I am super excited and thrilled that I piqued someone's interest with my query, and that person is actually going to read my manuscript (if not all of it, at least some of it).  If nothing else, I'm hoping to gain some feedback.  As long as the criticism is constructive, I'll be okay.  However, if she tells me the writing was hopelessly terrible?  Well . . . you can't bet I'll be crying myself to sleep that night ;o)