Thursday, July 21, 2011

Why It's Hard Being An Author Trying To Get Published

Because we're wrong if we say the manuscript needs editing, and wrong if we say it's perfect as is;

Because we're wrong not to personalize our query letters as much as possible, but wrong to expect anything more than a form rejection in return;

Because we're wrong to admit if it only took us two months to write the book, but wrong if we admit it took us over a year to complete and utterly wrung us out in the process;

Because we're wrong for not having a critique group to check our work, but wrong for stating our critique group loved it;

Because we're wrong for trying to break away from the tried-and-tested mold, but also wrong for not working hard enough to find our own voice;

Because we're wrong to compare ourselves to any other famous author out there, but wrong not to give an agent some kind of an idea what our work is similar to on the market;

Because we're wrong not to do some research online about the agents we want to query, but wrong to believe anything we read;

Because we're wrong for not making our characters as strong as possible, but wrong for liking them enough to mourn their passing when we're told to erase them from the pages completely;

Because we're wrong for querying too widely, and wrong for giving up too quickly;

Because we're wrong for not understanding that agents have lives, they have jobs, they get dozens if not hundreds of queries per week, that the process takes time, but if we don't hear from them in two months, then we need to assume their answer to our query is no, but not take it too personally, not to see it as a reflection of ourselves or even our work, but to see it as their way of saying (even though they never really said anything) that our work would have been a bad "fit" for them, but it may be a better "fit" with someone else.

But most of all, we're wrong for being the slightest bit bitter or frustrated over the process, and voicing that bitterness and frustration over the internet. Because that is the surest way to make an agent think you will be a horrible author to work with.

Fuck that. I'm frustrated. No, I'm not giving up, I'm not backing down, I'm not turning in my keyboard and crawling into a dark cave. But right now I'm not very fun to be with, either.

Tomorrow is another day.

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