Thursday, May 2, 2013

You Just Keep Me Hanging On...

Hi all. It has been a while. For many things. For my writing. For my inspiration. For my blog. All of it. Even my tweets have become less writing centered and more life focused. There’s a good reason for that. Because right now, life is taking more center stage right now. Yeah, life. What can I say? She’s a spotlight hog. Anyway, even though she is doing her damnedest to throw every conceivable object my way, I am sitting here dodging them like someone moving from left and right hooks. Hopefully, I can keep up before I get a nasty shiner.

And these blows are not just coming for me personally. But in my writing as well. I have really tried to be inspired to write. I am standing in the middle of Inspiration Avenue trying to get hit by anything at all. At this point, even bird poop would be something. It’s not that I don’t have ideas. I have them. Lots of them. It is that I simply have no desire to write. And I think it has a great deal to do with the fact that my MS, the one I am currently querying, has reached a stalemate.

I am sitting on two full requests (for over a month now) and just sent out a partial. And I think it has me stuck because I don’t want to move on. Because I love that story so much. I believe in that story. And dammit, every single time someone reads it, they all say the same thing…”This is really good. This will get published.” And yet, no agents seem to agree.

Every time I try to explain my situation and my frustrations, people always ask the same things.  First, many repped writers regale me with stories about how they queried x amount of agents (usually way less than what I have) and how they tried x amount of months. Then I hear about pubbed authors like JK Rowling or Stephenie Meyer (who both were flukes so they are really bad comparisons) and people say “They queried 13-16 publishers (respectively) until their yes. Then I want to laugh. Are you kidding? Like 15 queries is a lot? That’s comparable to a lottery winner saying I bought fifteen tickets and won a kajillion dollars…so you buy 15 tickets and you could win too. 15 is NOT THAT MANY. I know they are trying to be helpful and tell me how long it took them, but it sometimes makes me feel worse. And that’s not what either one of us want. Then come the inevitable questions.

 Are you querying agents?

 How long have you been trying?

 How many have you queried?

Have you had any requests?

How many?

Do they give you feedback?

Here are those answers.

                       67 queries (plus some in contests/online crit)

43 rejections

18 requests (7 partials to fulls)

24 no response

That is a percentage of about 20-24% request rate. Which is pretty damn good. So, saying that there is no interest is not the issue. Many would argue that if you sent out that many queries and you haven’t been picked up or that you aren’t getting much feedback, regroup and re-read because there may be an issue. But with a 20%, which is a great request rate, and I have been getting feedback. And it has pretty much said that the writing is strong and they enjoyed reading the story, it just wasn’t something they LOVED. And there really is nothing to do about that. It isn’t a case of needing an R&R to fix something. It’s that for whatever reason, they are just not excited enough to rep it.

The feedback is similar: couldn’t connect, don’t love it enough, sweet but I’ve seen it before, funny but not what I am looking for.

And that's it. Nothing much more than. At least if there was something horrible and they told me I could fix it. I can’t fix anything because there is really nothing to fix. Which should feel good, but makes me feel awful.

And what is worse is that I read agents blogs, tweets, etc and most say the same thing. If it is good enough, if they love it enough and believe in it enough, they will offer. And no one does. So it leaves me in this strange place.

Do I keep writing, even when it is quite possible that all my ideas are plain and simple. Virtual vanilla on a page? Or do I leave the writing to those that have the million trillion ideas oozing from their pores. Thing is, I write what I love. And what I love is the everyday. I grew up watching romantic comedies and sweet contemporary movies with witty sarcasm and a dose of sugar. So that’s what I enjoy writing. Love and romance and real women with the pressures of every day societal expectations thrown on them. I love exploring the question of “What does it mean to be a woman today?” My writing is cynical because I am a touch cynical. But it has hope, because I have a lot of that too. But that isn’t exactly “cutting edge”.

I love writing romance because secretly, I hope one day I will have a romance like my characters do. I write the stories that I hope will happen to me, and women like me, one day. And maybe that’s what I’m doing wrong. Maybe romance isn’t enough anymore.

Maybe it has to have bondage or vampires or evil villains plotting to kill all humans. Or sad stories that end in tragedy. Or witches. Or superheroes. Or steampunk. Or zombies. Dear Lord I hate zombies.

I don’t know. But it makes me sad every time I think about it. My poor book. My heart in 85 thousand words. Never to really be seen. My voice never really to be heard.

And so, when I sit down to write, instead of the inspiration of a new story, my heart hangs heavy remembering the story that may never see the light of day. To never grace a bookstore shelf.

And people will say self-publish. And I consider it. Really, I am. But there’s something in me that says, “If it isn’t good enough to be picked up by people who really know this business, and really know what they are doing, then I need to accept that and move on.

I am pretty sure this is why I am stuck. This is where my head is at. Rejection is tough. Whether it was that time I tried out for Arsenic and Old Lace, auditioned for the lead part in choir, asking the cute guy I crushed on forever to prom, or asking an agent to read and love your story.

At the end of it all, I will keep trying. Because that is what is in my nature to do. But sometimes, I just want to feel the pain of it all. I need to. Because without that pain, I wouldn’t understand how amazing good feels.
And I really pray, someday, pertaining to my writing, good and I will meet. And we'll have coffee. And she'll stay awhile. We will see...


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  3. Hey kiddo, don't give up. Your hard work will be published and shine in the light of day. Agents are not the end all and be all of getting your work out. You may want to reconsider submitting directly. A mid size or small indie publisher could give you the personal attention you and your book deserve. Just my thoughts...

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  5. The "Anonymous" post above made me lol. That comment was SO ambiguous, I wondered if it was directed at your blog post at all! And then the "Also visit my site" about dry scalp... priceless. Sorry, just found it funny.

    Thanks for a look inside your mind. I too have been querying a novel for months. A few requests, but no interest in taking it to the next step.

    Self-publishing is definitely a consideration. Once you have a few bites from readers, word of mouth will get you the response you are looking for. It's not just about the traditional way of publishing anymore. It's about sharing your work. Whether 20 or 100 or 10,000 readers enjoy your story, feel good about the accomplishment. You've done something extraordinary. You've created unique characters and a story that others can enjoy - a journey from your creative mind.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say go for it. And thanks for sharing.


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