Well, I’m settled into my new place now and I’ve finally become more motivated to write and to work on my New Year’s goal of submitting to 50 agents. I think I will surpass even my 2010 extreme of 77 queries (although my goal that year was 100 rejections). So I’m up to 30 queries right now, as you can see by the handy “Rejection Counter” I created for the sidebar –>
I’m back to working on The Blood Countess again, now that Janina and I are back to our Friday Night Writing Club. I passed 40,000 words and I’m feeling inspired, although I don’t know if my weekend will involve more writing or sewing curtains for my kitchen windows…
So, a round-up of my publishing efforts thus far: 26 submissions sent, only 12 actual rejections. The rest have yet to respond (and some of them probably never will). I am on track as far as sending out submissions to get my 100 rejections, but lagging behind in getting the actual rejections!
I am trying not to get too hung up on. I’m at over 40,000 words in my work-in-progress, Hitchhikers, which at this point in my writing career, having done 4 Nanowrimos, is what I call the homeward stretch. It’s weird not to be writing it like I’m running a race, though. I can take my time, think about where I want things to go instead of having to scribble down the first thing that comes to mind. I think this novel is turning out better for that, but it also means it’s taking a lot longer than I’m used to.
It’s back to square one. Nothing panned out, unless you count my growing number of rejections. So it’s back to querying, and writing of course. Still working on Hitchhikers, although I may take another stab at Blood Countess if I can’t get past the weird place I left my Hitchhikers narrator in last night…
Ten rejections into my New Year’s Resolution and an agent asked to see the full manuscript! I had only just started wallpapering with my rejections. I am not deluded; I know that I may yet be rejected again, and this one might hurt more. But at least I know my query letter isn’t a total failure. All week I’ve been scrambling around getting my manuscript submission together so I can send it out before I head off to Jamaica for a week!
Most of my queries thus far have been for The Abandoned, but I did enter Seven Minutes to Midnight in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest again. I’m hoping that this year it will have a better chance since there is now a young adult novel category, but I must confess that the major reason I submitted to the contest again was for the (slight) chance that the freaking awesome Sarah Dessen will read it. Yes, she’s one of the judges. Of course, it will have to make it through the first round, which will cut about 80% of entries. Then the next round, which will cut 75% of those entries. Then hope that my novel will be of the top 20% of THOSE entries. And then hope I’m one of the top 6. Those percentages aren’t exactly in my favor, but a girl can dream…
I’m not sure why I’m excited about this. But I am. The first rejection of the 100 I have resolved to receive this year. It means I can turn around and resubmit immediately. It means I’m actively trying to attain my goal of getting published. So I’m a little teensy bit excited. I even printed out the rejection (I queried via email) and I’m thinking of doing a Stephen King-esque thing like nailing it to my wall. We shall see.
Perhaps after getting a few more of these I will not be so enthusiastic.
Since my resolution from 2009 didn’t work out (“get published”), I came up with a different – and more attainable – approach for 2010: “Get 100 rejections from agents and publishers.” The number 100 is not random, I went to a book signing for Laurie Faria Stolarz and she said Blue Is For Nightmares got rejected over 100 times before being accepted for publication by Flux. I only sent out 11 queries in 2009 (which was more than 2006-2008 combined). Clearly, these odds are not in my favor. But if I make my goal to be rejected 100 times, I have to send out at least 100 queries. It makes sense. Kind of.
In other news, I found out about this website hosted by HarperCollins, Authonomy. You can post a novel, read other people’s novels, make comments, and vote for your favorites. I’m not really sure how it works, but I decided to post Bethany Caleb up on the site. You can read it here (hopefully). I’ve already gotten a few positive comments, which is nice since I had given up on Bethany as being my “learning to write a novel” novel. Although probably Bethany went through more drafts and changed the most from first to last draft than any of my others.
I’ve been querying agents for both The Abandoned and Seven Minutes to Midnight, and have met with what appear to be form rejections:
Thanks for your query, but I’m sorry to say I’m not the right agent for your book. I wish you the best of luck in your search for representation.
Thank you so much for querying us with your project. Unfortunately, we did not feel it was the right fit for our agency at this time. Thanks again for thinking of [name of agency removed] and we wish you nothing but the best in your publishing career.
That is, when they actually respond (some of them haven’t). Well, not much to do but sent them on to another, hopefully more receptive, agent and get back to writing.
Lately I’ve been working on a rewrite of The Wolven: Animal Nature (that book I’ve already written twice? that book I thought I’d lost to the computer gods?). I’m on chapter three and I have to say that I think it’s definitely going in a good direction. I realized that I was so unhappy with the first two drafts because basically it was all plot and no characterization. Sure, the characters had some traits, but then they never behaved in accordance with those traits… which becomes a problem because essentially the story can go anywhere, because the characters are not making decisions based on who they are. They’re just doing whatever the hell they want.
I’m going to say that I was inspired in how I am rewriting by Stephenie Meyer. Stephen King can knock her all he wants, but she’s created some very powerful characters that have affected a lot of people (throwing plot aside). So I’m dwelling a lot on how the characters feel and their reasoning for their decisions in this draft. This not Twilight with werewolves, but hopefully my characters won’t be random people who describe themselves as shy then behave in an outspoken way.
I also started working on a short story I started several years ago. Haven’t gotten too far. I think I need to read some Edgar Allan Poe or something to really get in the mood for this story. Still working on some edits for The Abandoned between sending it out. Melissa wants me to hurry up and write the sequel for Seven Minutes to Midnight, but I haven’t been too interested in doing that–I’ve only written a couple of pages.