Putting yourself out there

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Trying to find a literary agent is much like putting yourself on an internet dating site.  You spend a great deal of time stressing over how to describe yourself and your work without sounding obnoxiously confident but you have to nail that very fine line between determination and arrogance without exaggerating either of those things.  Contrary to internet dating, that agent is only looking for one very specific thing and if you don’t have it, they move on.

I have never been comfortable being the person to profess my strengths.  I can write for days about subjects that have nothing to do with me, but words vanish as soon as I have to point them in my direction.  I am extremely happy with the final product of my first novel and so are my Beta readers.  I want nothing more than to find an agent or a publisher who believes in it as much as I do.  But that process is much more daunting than staring at that first blank page, knowing that you have to string together over 80,000 words in an articulate and entertaining way.

Agents and publishers who are not interested in your work will not dangle bait in the water to see if you bite.  They are more than willing to move on to the next pond because there are so many fish and so few anglers.  An agent can’t even cast a line into a body of water without a frenzy of fish ready to fight to the death for the rare hook that shines in the distance.  In a sea of Piranhas, I feel like I am the poor carrion waiting at the bottom to be consumed by the predatory beasts with the sharper teeth.

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But there is always hope.  I know that one day, those Piranhas will have distracted themselves by something very shiny and I will be in the right spot in the pond at the right time, staring at a hook that was meant to catch only me.  And like every angler who is waiting for the “big one” knows, it’s all about patience.

 

Every now and then you meet the right people

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Throughout my journey as a fledgling author, I have encountered many encouraging people along the way.  In the initial stages of writing it was friends and family who were at the forefront of my support team.  As I talked more about my writing progress, my circle of support grew much bigger and began to gather friends whom I have never met face to face but have become friends through this blog.

The nice thing about friends is that they have other friends, and some of those friends can provide a wealth of knowledge about the very thing that I am most passionate about – writing.  Yesterday, I met one of those people.  She was able to give me a much more extensive view into the publishing world since she has two published novels and a third is due out in October of 2018.

During our conversation, she was more than just supportive, she was engaging.  She gave me some great insight into ways that I can establish more connections and receive some honest opinions about my writing.  She told me about her journey through publishing and made me have faith that the rocky roads I will face in wanting to be published can quite possibly pave the way to eventual success.  And the one thing she told me that I will continue to hold onto is to never give up.

The best thing I have learned about this process is to take advice, to take lots of advice.  Some of it may have no bearing on my path or my success, but at least I can face the daunting task of publishing with as much information in my arsenal as I can get.

The two most important things I have going for me are tenacity and an extreme desire to succeed.  If I can keep meeting the right people and following the right path, I just might find that success.

 

The feeling came rushing back

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Last year, I made the courageous decision to let two of the guests at the lodge read the first three chapters of my novel.  It was a large hurdle for me to jump, to trust my writing enough let them read it and, as I sat waiting to hear back from them, I was concerned that their critique may destroy the hope I had for my book.  I was dead wrong and I wrote about it here.

That same couple checked back into the lodge yesterday for their annual “Shammy” vacation.  I was delighted to see them again and we embraced like we have known each other for decades.  We had been corresponding by email over the winter and they were two of the people at the top of my list to share my news once I had finished writing the book.

As she began to leaf through the 8 1/2 by 11 pages, I watched her brow furrow.  She agreed with the changes that I had made in red ink but I sensed there was an underlying urge in her to be wielding the same red pen she had used last year.  Instead, she set the pages down on her lap and seemed so overjoyed that I had finished my work in progress.  She was thrilled and her joy seeped into me.  I was elated.  The excitement I had felt after finishing the writing now came flooding back and the two of us acted like we had just won the lottery.

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I have been dutifully editing my novel for egregious grammatical oversights as well as making the story flow as well as it should so the reader is not lost at the beginning of any of the chapters.  I plan to spend all of my free time over the next week finishing the revisions and beginning the hunt for an agent.  Game on!