Welcome Wednesday guests for August: Cindy Sample 8/6, Terri Herman-Ponce 8/13, Maggie Toussaint 8/20, Kaye George writing as Janet Cantrell 8/27.

Gloria Alden's latest publication is nonfiction. Boys Will Be Boys: The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys. Edited by Cher'ley Grogg was recently released and available on Amazon. Gloria wrote three essays and two poems in her chapter included in the book.


Congratulations to four of WWK’s bloggers whose books were released in the last two months. Look for Jim Jackson’s second Seamus McCree novel, Cabin Fever; Linda Rodriguez's new Skeet Bannion mystery, Every Hidden Fear; KM Rockwood's new Jesse Damon novel, Brothers in Crime; and Gloria Alden's third Catherine Jewell Mystery, Ladies of the Garden Club. All of the novels are available at bookstores in print and ebook.

Paula Gail Benson's short story "Confidence in the Family" is featured in the Mystery Times Ten 2013 anthology, which can be bought at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Times-2013-Linda-Browning/dp/0984203583/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1387240857&sr=8-2

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I pulled the trigger today.


I pulled the trigger today. [Er, Sunday when I wrote this.] After months of fussing to make my novel Bad Policy as polished as I could, after sweating over what to put in and what to take out of the synopsis (should someone ask for it), after multiple drafts of a query letter to entice agents to ask to read the manuscript, I sent out the first agent query today.

And all that work was really the easiest part—if we’re talking about preserving self-esteem.

I’ve already discussed the despair I can reach during the long editing process [read I hate my WIP], but I’ve gotten through that dark winter night to be faced with writing the “query letter.” According to advice at Folio Literary Agency, “If you, as a writer, can truly write, if you’ve really learned your craft so that writing is like breathing, the cover letter just comes out.”

Perhaps the agent who wrote that sentence has personally written dozens of successful query letters. Or maybe the quote from Folio is similar to me (a guy) telling a woman that giving birth is a breeze if she’ll just remember to breathe correctly. And if she can’t do that easily, perhaps she ought not be a mother.

No matter, I finally have a query letter I think is good. And now I am strapping on my esteem-protection-padding for the rejections that will come through a polite email, in an SASE or by way of terminal silence. I tell all who will listen that this is a business where many knock and few are asked to enter. I say rejection is all about their needs and very little about the quality of my stellar novel. But that’s bullshit. You know and I know that I want them to love it. I want them to fight over me.

Hey, I’m a numbers guy; I know better. Many people are writing. Now that it’s free to submit queries by email (it used to cost a couple of bucks to send off a query and a sample chapter or two) everyone who thinks they have a finished novel is inundating the agents. And I know that the first person who reads my query is looking for a reason to say no. From a probabilistic standpoint, I have much less than a 1% chance of being selected—of course, I did mention that my particular novel is stellar, didn’t I?

I ping pong between flights of fantasy of a bidding war and wonderment that I waste my time polishing words few will read and none remember in some nearby future.

So what am I going to do tomorrow after I send out another query letter? I’m going to write at least a page of my dystopian novel that’s in its first draft, and then I’m going to pick up the completed first draft of a sequel to Bad Policy and wrestle it into an excellent story so when an agent asks, “what else are you working on?” I can tell them without a hem or haw.

If you happen to believe in the interconnected universe, then I’d appreciate it if you’d spare me a positive thought or two. I’ll do the same for you when you need it.

~ Jim

6 comments:

Kaye George said...

The best way to plug up the chinks in your query-armor is to have support groups, IMHO. Agent Quest is a good one, as are Guppies in general (but you already know that). :)

Go get 'em!

Ramona said...

Your wish is my command: [insert good thought for Jim here]

Kaye is right about the support. No writer is an island.

Pauline Alldred said...

You have my good thoughts. I'm guessing the first ten rejections are the worst. Not that I'm suggesting you will receive that many. I have.

After the first ten, there are choices to be made, fresh armor to develop, and an opportunity to send out for more rejections.

I wouldn't behave that way with a potential friend, neighbor, or co-worker. So what exactly is the relationship between writers and agents?

Warren Bull said...

Been there. Done that. Too many times. You have my very best wishes. Give yourself credit for having the courage to put your work out there despite the risk of rejection and credit for jumping into a new work.

Personally, I've never found it easy to write a query letter. Imagine being a surgeon and being assessed by
a patient by the way you carve a turkey,

Susan M. Boyer said...

Sending good thoughts your way, Jim! And I love your analogy to the mother giving birth. :)

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Thanks to all who sent good thoughts. Current update: no rejections - oh, and no requests either. :)

~ Jim