Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Help, I'm getting nervous!!!!

Okay, so I just read a very powerful post on Natalie Whipple's blog. My heart ached as I read about the rough journey getting published has been for her so far. And we're talking a really intense up and down, slamming hard into walls that's full of mental and emotional injury type of journey.

And it scared the shit out of me.

Not to the point that I want to give up (and God knows if Natalie has not yet given up, I'd be a total loser fool to even consider it), but it has given me a major reality check of what's to come. I don't even have an agent yet, but I thought once I did, it would be smooth sailing from there. You know, something like this:

I get an Agent like this *snap of fingers*
Some minor edits/revision asked of me. No problem
I Go on Sub
Every pub vying for my novel, it goes to auction and I come out with a six figure deal close to a million $s

I mean, it happens, right? I know it does because I just read about it happening to some unknown first time author and so of course I'm all like, "Yeah, it can happen to me because my story is brilliant and different and so well written and...and...

"And then BAM. A fucking bullet rips off part of your head. Your brains are lying on the ground in little bloody pieces"

Sorry if TMI with the Cousin Vinny quote, but I imagine that must be how it feels when your journey (or any dream for that matter) takes you on a totally different and unexpected path to the town of -sorry-you're-not-as-perfect-and-great-and-wonderful-as-you,-your-friends,-and-family-think-you-are-and-there-are-a-million-better-writers-with-better-ideas-than-you-out-in-the-world-so-get-a-damn-grip.

Yes, I need to stopping dreaming too big. Everyone wants to think they are brilliant (at least I know I don't want to walk around thinking I'm a loser), but the truth is, there are no guarantees in this business and it can take a loooooooooong time to really make it big in this business (if at all). So, I will continue to write my ass off, but I also need to stay real about my future and what I will do to make money and help provide for my family. My girls start Kindergarten next year, which means no more being a SAHM. Time to find a $$$ making job because even if I get one of my books agented and published, it doesn't mean I will be the next SM or JKR or SC. If it happens, it will be like hitting the lottery. I can't live my life as though the next time I play lotto I will win and life will be cake.

I'm about to enter the querying stage. I ask those of you who have already been through it (whether you got an agent or haven't as of yet, but are still trying) what advice can you give me about what to expect. Lay the reality on me. I seriously need a Marisa Tormei slap in the forehead.



  1. Wasn't that post fabulous? Natalie is soooo brave. It takes a lot of guts to write about the journey in such detail, especially when it hasn't been an easy one.

    I had high hopes when I began querying agents and they were fulfilled relatively quickly. I had higher hopes when we went out on sub. That was almost seven months ago and while the feedback has been good, all have passed so far.

    I've heard some compare getting published to winning the lottery. I don't think the odds are quite that slim (and at least in pursuing publication you have control over how hard you work to develop your craft), but I do think it's important to understand the realities. Only about 5% or so of writers actually make a sustainable living at it. That fact alone kept me from writing through most of my 20's, which meant I wasn't ready to be a writer.

    I think Stephen King said it best: "If you can do it for the joy, you can do it forever."

    When I understood that - really, really understood it - I couldn't stop writing and I can honestly say that if publication never comes, I will still write. What else am I gonna do with all these extra words? :)

    Great post, Mel. Reality checks are good, but so are dreams. Enjoy the ride!

  2. My advice for querying -

    EXPECT that every reply is a rejection! It makes for a nice outcome when one of them is a request.

    And good luck!

  3. Going to read Whipple's post after I comment!

    Hey, stay optimistic - life is really too short for doubt! It might hurt to be happy, but I'd take Cheyanne's advice. I've been through the query process with two other novels, with a total of five requests for partials combined and one request for full, but nothing went anywhere.

    Just expect the worst! Good luck!

  4. Stay tough and remember the 'query' game is a sales game. With the change of the face of publishing, landing an agent and getting a publisher isn't the only option for writers any longer. Besides before you throw it in go to some writers conferences, meet agents face to face at pitch sessions, then LEARN the publishing business for yourself. If none of that works - blaze your own path.

  5. Trust me, your My Cousin Vinny quote totally hits the nail on the head for 90% of the people who query. For most people, it doesn't happen overnight. And even when you hear tons of stories of the hardness of the biz, it only takes one lighting story to make you feel inadequate! LOL

    I queried for 9 months, and it was a hellish crusade. The novel that landed me an agent I only queried for four months. But it was soul sucking. Nothing quite compared to the soul sucking journey of submission....the editor falling in love with the book, talking to her own the phone, only to have the deal fall through in marketing. That was in July. We just went out with a new project.

  6. Oops, I got cut off before I said, "GOOD LUCK! MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!!!"

    Here's to you having a quick query and submission process.

  7. I shall go read Natalie's post after I comment here. I have no experience, but I do know you're a great writer. Keep the dreams alive, reality in check and work hard.


  8. I'm totally scared too. What if everyone hates what I have grown to love? What if they all tell me I'm a terrible writer and don't have a chance at getting published? But I know now is the time to try, so here goes nothing.

    I'm not shutting down any avenues either. I live in a unique area where there are three or four pretty good medium sized publishers. I wouldn't mind going that route. In fact, sometimes I've wondered if it would be better because of all the local marketing.

    Good luck.

  9. Thank you all for the responses, support and honesty. I need it. Each and everyone one of you have offered me something important to think about and I greatly appreciate it. I'm still nervous as hell, but it seems that once I send the query letters off, it's out of my hands. I need to just keep writing. I have so many story ideas that I need to get down. Who knows. Maybe this won't be "the one". But I'll never know if I give up, right? No, giving up is not an option. It's not how I roll. :-)


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