When someone decides to become a novelist, no one tells them that writing the novel is actually the EASY part. Don't get me wrong, writing a full-length book is one of the hardest feats known to man. But, in the scope of the publishing process...the publishing journey, if you will...it's like taking candy from a baby.
|Well, maybe not this baby.|
So you've slaved over your novel for months or years--or even decades! You've worked just as long and hard on your query and synopsis. You have everything in place and all your CPs and Betas are sure your work is going to knock the socks off anyone who reads it. I mean, you have a unique plot, 3 dimensional characters, the the most epic of
|Get it? Plot twists :o)|
You've opened up QueryTracker in one tab, your email in another, and Absolute Write in a third tab. You're going fishing for agents and you just KNOW you're going to snag a big one. You're going to make a catch so impressive no one else is going to believe it.
You send out
fifteen twenty queries because you fucking KNOW every agent's going to love your story. You aren't going to be vying for agent's attention. They're going to be vying for yours. They're going to be begging YOU to be their client.
Two days go past and you get your first email. You wave it off. You're not going to bother reading it just yet. I mean, you know it's a full request so why bother with it. There will be more where that came from. A week passes. You've got three more responses. You know it's about time to check em out. I mean, you've kept them on the edge of their seat long enough. You've got THEM checking their inbox every five minutes. You do a little dance before heading over to your computer.
You take a gander at your inbox and browse through the email previews. The preview doesn't give you much info so you open the first email, then the second...then the third and forth. Rejections. Your heart drops. But not much because four rejections isn't enough to jar your confidence. I mean, those agents responded wwaayy too fast. They probably didn't even read your work. They were probably like...
Oh hell to the naw, you think. That person sent their query after yours and they already got a response. This is bull. They forgot about me. They didn't get it. They're dissing me. They didn't like my work. I'm a terrible writer. My book isn't as good as a thought. Shit.
No worries. You're going to go write something even better. You bury your head in you newest WIP for two weeks, not even bothering to check your email. Between work, school, writing, and your social life, looking for an agent completely slips your mind.
Until that one day...
You open up your email account and see you have eight replies. Eight. EIGHT! You're afraid to look through them. You're afraid they might be rejections like the last time. You're afraid that this novel might end up like your last one. Shelved. Collecting dust. You start to question your abilities as a writer. You're not good enough. You suck. You'll never make it. But there is that voice in the back of your head that begs to differ. You know you have what it takes. You know your idea is brilliant if someone...anyone...would just take the time of day to read it.
But you can't put this off any more. You have to open the email. You have to know...
It's crippling. You want to cry. You want to scream. You want to voice your frustration to all the agents who rejected your work. You want to beg them to give you a chance. But you know you can't. That's unprofessional. Not only that but you know they won't look twice at you. They'd know they made the right choice, even if you know they didn't.
You file those email in your 'Rejection' folder while thinking about self-publishing. There are no gatekeepers in the world of self-publishing. Breaking into that world doesn't require the validation of someone you don't even know.
But just as you're about to close out of your email, your phone buzzes its email notification. You click refresh. The email pops up. From the preview, you read, Please send me the full of...
In the sea of rejection you've just swam out of, you think, where the hell did that come from?
|No. Seriously. Where DID that come from.|
You send off your manuscript and file the email in your 'Request' folder. First one! You know it's going to be a long wait. The agent is one of your top choices. You know they have a hellacious slush pile and it's going to take 6 to 8 weeks for them to get back to you.
You wait. You're a patient person. You worry. Because now you have a lot of time for that. You hope they get to chapter five because you're sure they'll be hooked from there. That's where one of your many twists occur. All they have to get to is chapter five.
Those words practically become a mantra...a prayer. Dear God, just let her read to chapter five. If she gets to chapter five I'll never ask you for anything else.
Two weeks pass. Those weeks are filled with three rejections and two partials from agents you want...but not as much as the agent who is considering your full. You're unsure what to think. You wonder if you truly are good enough to make it in such a competitive field. The question presses on your mind night and day. The moment you gain even a morsel of confidence, you find an error in your story. You become confident that the agent is going to reject your work because of that one, STUPID mistake.
You lose hope.
You break down.
You want to cry, but you refuse to allow yourself tears. You stone your heart and you get back to working on your WIP.
Just as you're finishing up the fifth chapter, your phone rings. It's a 212 number. Probably a bill collector. You don't answer it. It rings again. Same number. Geez, these bastards are persistent.
Agent: Hi. This is Awesome Agent from Awesome Agent Literary. Is Awesome Writer around?
It's the agent who requested your full. HOLY SHIT.
Agent: I read you novel and I loved it. I especially loved the twist at chapter five. I was hooked before, but that hooked me even more. I'd like to offer you representation.
And that is the moment you become a Pokemon trainer.
|Ash catches the legendary AWESOME AGENT!|
The truth: This post could have ended in tears and depression. The agent who has your full could have left you with a form rejection, and the two partials you have out could have ended with no response. The road to publication is not for the feint or weak of heart. You will questions yourself, you'll want to quit, you'll be driven to the point of making a rash decision (vanity press or an extortionate agents) just to feel like you've made it.
You have to be strong enough to fight against those feelings. You have to be strong enough to persevere.
I wish every journey could end in success and happiness, but the fact is, many don't. If you take the first steps of this long long journey, you have to be okay with never reaching the end.
You have to be.