I Just Keep Swimming

When the spring semester ended, I made the (very expensive) decision to focus solely on my writing this summer. Since I started teaching pretty much full time, I haven’t had much time to work on my books. I figured that if I made the decision not to find a temporary summer job and just focus on my writing while I tutored and prepped for my summer hybrid course for CNR (College of New Rochelle), that I could really get a lot done and propel my writing career to the next level. I was excited to get to work.

My goals for this summer were to:

  1. Start blogging again.
  2. Finish the book that I’m not pitching to agents.
  3. Query agents.
  4. Sign with an agent.
  5. Start work on my next book.

I knew that I needed to start blogging again in order to gain a following and create some sort of buzz around my name. It’s worked. Over the last 3 months, I’ve gained a decent list of followers and have a nice pool of unique viewers every day. Beautiful Chaos has been quite a little success. [So don’t go away, loyal readers. You’re all I have.]

I finished editing the manuscript that’s been torturing my soul for the last 7 years. I’m finally at a place where I’m 100% happy with it. It’s not a glossy epic adventure. It’s not about sparkly vampires. It’s not high-concept. It’s not somebody else’s story. It’s mine. It’s honest. It’s real. And I just need somebody else to believe in it.

That’s why I’ve been querying. Not to say that I have an agent, but to find an agent that truly BELIEVES in my book the way I believe in it. I’ve been querying. And querying. And querying. It’s like I’m sending my most valued possession, my heart, to the sharks, baiting them and waiting just to get swallowed whole.

So far, I haven’t had too much luck. A handful of agents requesting to read the full manuscript, but more often than not, I’ve just had an email inbox full of rejections. Last week, while on vacation, I got three rejections.

Out of those three, only one agent even requested to read it.

I guess REAL isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Oh well.

Still, I keep every single rejection email and letter that I have ever received. Looking at them, it’s incredible how similar they are. Word for word, they all say the same thing.

“Thank you for thinking of me. Unfortunately I am unable to offer representation. In the current market, an agent has to be able to sell your work and I just don’t think that I’m a right fit for your book. I wish you luck in finding the right agent. Blah. Blah. Blah.”Β 

I don’t even have to look at the rejections to capture the tone of each and every one.

But, c’est la vie, right?

I’m still going to query. For now. While I have the time. Because, when writing, time is the most valuable asset a writer can possess. And since I chose to make the (again, very expensive) decision not to get a second job this summer so that I’d have the time to focus on and harbor my creativity, I needed to make the most of the time.

And while I still have the time, you know, before the fall semester commences and I’m drowning in students and student work …

… I’m going to continue working on my new book.

I was told once that the best thing you can do while querying and pitching is to work on something new. Hell, even finishing something while in the midst of the querying process and then querying the new project would be even better.

I’m not there yet with the new book. But I am close to the 100 page mark, which is a big enough milestone, I think. It’s a lot of fun, I must say, to write this new book, especially since I’m still discovering so much about the story as I write. I love the discovery process.

Still, it can be really limiting to write when there’s a steady flow of rejection letters for something you’ve already written, edited, re-written, re-edited, re-formatted, re-edited, re-written, and polished. It’s almost like, “Well, if people don’t like this, why would they like what I’m working on now?”

I’m at a point now where I fully expect to receive more rejections. I’m not to optimistic anymore, even though I want nothing more than to nab an agent for what I want to be my debut novel.

I need to get out of this mindset.

It will happen for me.

It will.

It has to.

Doesn’t it?

5 Comments

  1. It think its pretty awesome that you’re even getting manuscript requests- don’t forget how difficult those are to come by! Have you had other writers look over your manuscript and give feedback? THat was huge for me!

    1. Thanks! It definitely is awesome that I’m getting requests! I just wish those requests would turn into an offer. But I know that takes time.

      I’ve had a lot of feedback on my MS. Between my MFA program and friends, especially Jess Verdi, whose awesome debut novel was just published in April, I’ve had a ton of really helpful people giving me greAt feedback.

      I just gotta keep on swimming haha

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