Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Life After Submission Fail
I had an agent (and yes, it is past tense). I wrote my first novel, edited and re-edited, did the whole query thing and got rejected many times. Then finally I had the wonderful moment when I landed an agent. I thought I'd crossed the hardest fence.
Boy, was I wrong.
I don't want to go into too many details. I could list excuses. Blame my agent. Blame the market. Blame the annoying editors for not seeing a good thing when it was stuck in front of their face. And yes, it could be one of those things, or a variety of those things, but I'm not here to talk about the whys. I want to talk a little about the what after.
Basically, after my book failed at the publishers, my agent and I parted ways. I felt a little like I'd run a marathon and tripped within sight of the finish line. I was so close. I had the agent. I even had a publisher at a great house ask me for edits. But in the end, it failed, and so did the partnership with my agent.
I had submission fail bad.
I should have worked on a new project when I was querying. I should have wrote on submission. Heck, I could have at least poured myself into a new project when my first book finally went to the great big trunk in the sky. But no. I rewrote the whole novel in 1st person. I sent it off to publishers that my agent missed. I entered random contests. My book was a crutch, and I wouldn't put it down.
I obsessed a lot.
And it is easy to say that one should write a new project right away when submitting another. Being where I've been, I can totally see that wisdom. But when I was there, in that moment, it is hard to see the wisdom of that statement. If you're stubborn, like me, then you might have to live the truth before you can see it.
So I am going to tell you, just like everyone else told me, to keep writing once you start querying. Keep writing when on submission. I even suggest for you to draft a new novel while you are editing the previous one. Don't get out of the habit of creating something new. It's grueling to get back on that writing horse once you've fallen off. I'm finally back on again. I've finally moved on.
How do I know I've moved on? Well, I got a query reply the other day, concerning the book that failed. She asked me to cut the word count dramatically, and then she'd have a look at it.
I told her no.
My old me would've jumped though those agent hoops. The new me just wants to move on. I have a great new story that is wanting to be told, and it's my job to make that happen.
Life after submission fail must go on.