And it begins
I sent my first three queries out tonight. I realized editing and reediting and re-reediting isn’t going to get me anywhere. I’ll always want to change a word or a sentence. If by heaven’s chance this book gets published, I’m sure it’ll be on the shelf and I’d still want things in it changed.
I signed up on querytracker.net. I’ve researched for days. I’ve made lists. Then tonight, after a few days of not-so-good news in other parts of my life, I knew I had to DO something. Something more than changing Sending out the very first e-mail…my hand just hovered over that send button. Because this is when it really starts. My friends and family and peers can give me as much feedback as they can, but they aren’t the ones who need to sell this. To attach it to their career. I give literary agents a ridiculous amount of credit. I couldn’t imagine doing what they do.
Now instead of saying, “So, I wrote this book,” it’s now, “So, I’m trying to publish this book.”
I haven’t been reading and reviewing, mainly because I’ve been writing. I thought I was happy with my manuscript but I went to go another “once over” and just found myself changing sentences and changing a name of a character. The one thing I have solid is the last part of my query letter. My pitch. And I’ve finally decided to share it.
Sterling throws out the halos and white wings and revisits one of the oldest rivalries in existence. Only this time, when the demons rise and the angels fall from grace, the only one left to lead the side of Good, is the girl who had all but abandoned it.
I’m done. No, for real this time.
Obviously I’m not done done. It’s a book. It’s never truly done until it goes to printing. But as for the story having a beginning, end and everything that goes in between…my book is done. I was so determined to finish it by this past Monday but I was just stuck at the transition to the last scene. Sometimes my imagination gets ahead of the rational part of my brain and although this is fantasy, it needs to at least make sense within the world I’ve created. I can’t just make up something to fit my need of transition without threading into the story somehow. I sat on the phone and talked it out with my mom who is extremely rational and logical until I had something I could work with, and between last night and tonight I finished it.
I sent it back to my mom again before I have someone else read it. There are notes I have written down of things I need to remember to insert or see if I need to insert them or not. I forgot being raised religious the stories from the bible aren’t second nature to most people, but I also don’t want to overkill the explanations. Then I need to polish it. Polish it real good.
And while I’m in the above process, I’m going to begin on my query letter. Oh, I’m so scared. An actor friend argued with me that getting a literary agent is like getting a talent agent.
I just spent close to a year writing one book and now someone needs to like THIS ONE BOOK. A talent agent needs to like you as a person and your potential to act in any number of jobs that come across the table in the future. No one, unless they are already known (think celebrity, tv personality, business personality), gets signed to a literary agency without a book. A finished book.
What is this query letter I keep rambling on about? I don’t even want to explain. You can read more here.
Back to my hermit cave.
So I gave my nearly-complete first draft to my mom and her boyfriend to read. Rob’s opinion was actually super important because my book is about angels and demons, so a lot of religious backstories come into play. (Don’t worry, it’s still very much a fantasy novel.) I grew up with religion, as did my mom, so there were mentions in the book that came second nature to me and her, but Rob (who is Jewish, though non-practicing) could stop and say this needs to be explained for the rest of the masses. So my mom wrote everything down and is going to send it to me hopefully soon. There’s one transitional piece I need to write, which I’ve literally been stuck on for MONTHS AND MONTHS. I also didn’t give her the end, because it’s not as finished as I want it to be. Mainly this was for her and Rob to tell me either, Dude, get another hobby or Way to go, kiddo! Fortunately, it was very positive feedback. Rob, who used to be a producer, even said he could see it as a movie. I couldn’t write a screenplay for the life of me, so that will just have to wait.
Now, I know people are thinking, “Well, it’s your mom, obviously she’s not going to tell you it sucks.” Oh, you don’t know my mother. I wrote a book before this — a long Dystopian YA novel I wasn’t even finished with – and she pretty much told me that one wasn’t going to cut it. Yes, I have a 100,000 words of The Book Than Shall Never Be just chilling on my harddrive. But I like her this way, because lying to your kids just so their feelings don’t get hurt is just not good past a certain point.
Now I’m back to writing those two itty bitty pieces that just don’t seem to want to be written down.
It’s not really writer’s block. I’m still writing, it’s just slow. The first 45,000 words came so easily. Yes, 45,000 words. It still seems pretty ridiculous to me too. I’m at just over 48,000 and it’s just going at a snail’s pace.
I’d like to add I haven’t read it. Every time I sit down to write I read the scene immediately before it and that’s it. I have not read page one since I wrote it. The goal is 60,000 words, which won’t seem so daunting once I hit 50,000. Depending where the story is I may go to 55,000, which is nothing compared to what some of the other books out there are, but I figure its easier to add on things (which I already have ideas to do) than to have to take them out. [To compare, Twilight was over 100,000 words and HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone was about 80,000] The thing is when I was researching getting published, everything I read said it’s hard to get an agent to read an extremely long story, especially a YA fantasy book which has become such a popular genre. So I’ll go to agents with a shorter story, in hopes to get picked up and them say ADD MORE!
My goal is to be done with the first draft and go through and reread it by the holidays. Then my mom gets to read it. Then I start writing more content and look for an agent. Let’s get there!