The Starving Novelist
I took the plunge.  Yessiree I am now on Twitter.  I'm still getting my sea legs, but so far, I kinda like it.  My main reasoning for signing up with Twitter was to connect with other writers.  It can be a very cold and lonely world for a "closet" writer like myself, so I'm looking forward to '"meeting" and getting to know some fellow writers.  If your interested in following me, my handle (is that the term they use for it??) is @AngelaVCook (so much for anonymity).   Anyways, if you follow me, I'll follow you back :o)  See you there! 
Ahh . . . it seems like it was only yesterday I was sending my very first query out into the cold, cold world; with nothing but a hope and a wish to keep it warm.  Oh, the memories . . . 

Seven months later, litters upon litters of queries have been thrown out into the world to fend for themselves, and just a couple of weeks ago, I entered the realm of triple digits.  Yes, I have sent out over 100 queries (I will not say how much over, because I do need to maintain some dignity).  Admission is the first step, right?  I actually felt embarrassed and ashamed at first, like I was some kind of loser who “couldn’t get the hint” (self-deprecation at it’s finest).  However, when a member (Raven1- maybe you know her?  If not, she’s QT’s own resident cheerleader) recently congratulated me on reaching this milestone, it caused me to re-evaluate the situation.  Hmm . . . maybe it wasn’t something to be ashamed of.  It’s not like I just randomly sent out 100 queries in one fell swoop.  Those queries are a representation of hours, upon hours, upon hours of hard work and determination.  Not to mention, I’ve read plenty of success stories from people who got offers of representation after hitting the 100 milestone.  So maybe this is something to be proud of after all.

How did the number get so high? 

First of all, can I just say this whole ‘send out about ten at a time to see if your query is working’ philosophy is a bunch of phooey?  Theoretically, it does make sense, but realistically?  Not so much.  More and more agents are switching to the “no response means no” rule, and those who do respond either (a) do so with a vague form letter and/or (b) take forever to respond.  I think twenty queries at a time seems more appropriate (especially if this is your first time querying a novel).  If after about three weeks you haven’t gotten a single request, then you know for a fact your query isn’t working. 

My query wasn’t the greatest at the beginning, but it was good enough for me to get a submission request here and there.  To make a long story short, it took me sending out seventy queries (and several sub rejections) before I’d gotten enough feedback to realize my ms needed revising. 

After three months of revising, I was ready to jump back into querying.  Needless to say, after about two months of being back, I’ve easily surpassed the 100 mark. 

Why keep going?

This is my first novel, and if I’d quit after 20 queries, I would’ve been doing myself a huge disservice.  It’s very likely this novel will end up getting trunked, but it’s been a HUGE learning experience, and I don’t regret one second of it.  I’ve learned so much by putting this project out there.  For example, if I had quit early on in the process, I would’ve never known that my dialog has a tendency to sound “choppy,” or that I really need to be careful not to bog down my beginning with back-story.  These have all been invaluable lessons that I would’ve never learned had I given up fifty queries ago.  My next project will surely benefit from the hard work I put into this first novel.  I hope.
I am.  No, I don’t write about closets, I mean I can literally count on one hand how many people know about my double life (hehehe- kind of makes me sound like a secret agent!).  Why do I keep this huge part of who I am hidden?  I think my main reason is because the only people who 'get' writers are other writers.  Thanks to the media, the gen-pop have an over-simplified view of the publishing industry.  They think, “Just print it out, wrap it up, and send it to the publisher.”  Or, “If Lauren Conrad and *insert any other celebrity name here* can get a book deal, why can’t you?” Heck, even I had delusions of grandeur before starting this journey.  I can remember thinking, “I’ll send out twenty queries.  Surely, that’ll be more than enough!” Umm . . .yeah . . . (says the girl who just sent out her 100th query a couple of weeks ago <shamefully hides face in hands>).                        

Another reason to keep my writing on the down-low:  You know how annoying it is when you’re driving somewhere and your kids (if you have kids, if not, just imagine) keep asking, “Are we there yet?”  Well, the last thing I want is a continuous stream of are-you-there-yets.  This process can be depressing enough without a barrage of people asking you if you’ve made it yet.   

My final reason: some people don’t consider writing a ‘serious’ career.  Writing tends to get lumped in with other 'silly' dreams like singing, acting, painting, etc.  Again, I am guilty of thinking the same thing.  I’ve always loved to write, but the idea of majoring in something like creative writing . . . Haha!  Yeah, right!  What kind of ‘real’ job could I get with that degree?  I had to pick something practical (yeah, because the job market is abuzz with opportunities for undergraduate sociology majors *sarcasm*).  So, yet another reason to keep my ‘silly’ dream to myself.

Will I ever come out of the closet?  I made a promise to myself that I would, IF I (a) get myself an agent, or (b) get published (not that it’s very likely the latter will happen without the other).  Until then, I will continue to whine, vent, and celebrate here on my blog and with my handful of family/friends that know.  Oh, and I can’t forget my peeps!  Seriously, they’re awesome ;o)
Sometimes wishes do come true!  I was just saying how I wish I could find another book/book series to fall in love with.  I wanted to find a book that would pull me in and not let me go.  Well, I found it with Suzanne Collins's THE HUNGER GAMES.  

When the first TWILIGHT movie came out, I had to see what all the hype was about, so I rented the movie.  I thought it was okay, and then a friend told me I should read the books.  So, even though I hadn't read anything longer than an article in "Parents" magazine in years, I decided to check it out.  I was reluctant to read a book about teenage vampires (blech), but I thought 'what the heck?'  Well, the rest is history. 

A similair thing happened with THE HUNGER GAMES.  Being a writer, I'm always checking out blogs, websites, etc., and one book kept popping up (everywhere)- THE HUNGER GAMES.  I'm not a fan of science fiction (at all), but once again, I had to see what all the hype was.  Well, well, well . . . let me just say I was in for a treat.  I checked this book out last Tuesday (3/1), and had it finished by Friday (3/4). 

THE HUNGER GAMES is an amazing book.  The story is refreshing and beautifully told.  I love it because it's simple, clean, and straight to the point.  For example, there aren't pages and pages of landscape description (ugh, I HATE that).  Collins is able to put images into the reader's imagination without beating it into his/her head.   To say this book held my interest would be an understatement.  I kept waiting for some down time in the plot to take a break from reading, but there is none!   The story is action packed with smidges of romance and humor.  The main characters are likable and easy to get attached to (I found myself getting teary-eyed a few times).  I HIGHLY recommend this book.  Go. Get It. Now.  ;o)