Friday, November 2, 2012

Starting over

Important lesson: life isn't fiction. Just because something looks nice on paper, just because it'd be such a perfect, symmetrical ending to a very long story, just because you've paid your dues and it's your turn to celebrate - that doesn't necessarily mean that thing will happen.

For example, it would be fitting if, after a year and a half of revising, I ended up signing with the first agent ever to request a manuscript from me - albeit a different manuscript, one sent over two years ago - but that did not happen.

Yes, this is to say that Secret Agent Man was not able to take me on due to time constraints. He passed it on to a colleague, but said colleague sent a rejection last week. That door may open again in the future, but right now, I am in full agent-hunting mode.
It's a complicated feeling, and I debated whether I wanted to post about it here, in part because I do like to present myself as this sort of Zen-ish aspiring author who just lets the rejections roll right off of her. But my journey thus far has been long, twisty, and rather unique, and it has always helped me throughout this process to read accounts by people who have been through the same things.

So yes, it's complicated. I have a shiny, revised MS that no one but Secret Agent Man (and his colleague) have seen, and I have already been in contact with some fantastic people who requested material, not to mention a referral and some other outstanding queries. I am pretty much starting over again, which is exciting, too.

But it's sad. Of course it's sad. I'm sure you guys know what I'm talking about when I say this, but being an ambitious person who hasn't achieved her dream yet comes with a special kind of ache. Some days it's not too bad, and sometimes it creeps up on me every time I pick up a book. It can be really hard to shake on those days, when the voice in your head reminds you that you haven't made it yet.

And yet! If I may act the part of the Zen-ish aspiring author for a moment: I believe nothing is wasted. I could never regret this past year and a half. My writing is better for it, I got to work with some amazing people, and I got a taste of what it's like on the other side. Maybe someone else will love this manuscript enough to take it on, but if not, I am a little over halfway through my WIP as of today, so I can try again. I am very, very good at trying again.

And hopefully one of these days, I will get to write that 'my success story' post that has always been on the tips of my fingers. Although that post may well be very different than the one I have drafted in my head.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and whichever part of the process you're in, best of luck to you.


  1. I recently received an email from a blogger pal congratulating me on my recent book deal and asking if I had any tips on coming up with "a unique idea." After I emailed her back the lengthy story of how long I've been writing and how many manuscripts I have that never sold and how I got published for the first time and how that did not mean that every manuscript I wrote after that was going to get sold ... she said she understood that it had taken me a long, long time for this break to come my way. There's no tip or short cut I can give -- except to not give up.

    When it comes time for you to write that "success story" post, I'll bet it will be a different story than the one in your head. A twisty path is part of the process, and just because it takes some dark and depressing turns (mine did) doesn't mean it isn't eventually headed in the right direction.

    1. Dianne, thanks for your encouraging words. It feels like I've been at it for so long, especially with the year and a half I spent on the exclusive R&R, so sometimes I need to remind myself that I've only been at this since February 2010, and this current MS is only the second one I've queried. (I wrote two others before 2010 that I never queried.) I may well be in for a much longer haul than I'd hoped, but I have some great contacts in the industry now. The road may be twisty, but it's a bit less daunting these days.

      And in case I haven't said it yet: congrats on your recent book deal! It sounds so very up my alley and I can't wait to check it out.

  2. Thank you for writing this. It's beautiful in its honesty and bravery. I can't wait to read your success story will come! :)

    1. Sajidah, you are so welcome, and thank YOU for reading it! :)

  3. "I am very, very good at trying again." I LOVE THAT. I hear you on the hanging-in-there-isn't-always-sunshine-and-roses thing. It's been three years for me and over a handful of manuscripts. Lots of rejections and requests and rejections and requests and rejections...keep plugging along! Sometimes it helps me to know that authors that I love struggled for a longer than I've been writing before they got a break.

    1. Jess, I'm coming up on the three year mark in a few months, too, so I feel your pain. If there's a bright side to this process, it's that when we DO get there, it's going to be oh-so-sweet. :) Here's hoping we'll both get there before long!

  4. I'm so sorry to hear that Secret Agent Man (though not so secret, because I know who he is!) didn't work out, but it sounds like you've taken lots of positives away from the experience and are moving on in a really proactive way, which is great.

    I know how you feel - I've been through several rounds of revisions with a couple of different agents now, on a couple of different projects, and got so close to rep each time but didn't quite make it.

    It's heartbreaking really, but the good news is that if you're this close to success, success will find you eventually. Plus, your projects sound amazing, so I'm sure they will find a good home. Good luck with your agent-hunting and I look forward to reading your success story post someday soon!

    1. *hugssss* Thank you so much, Samara. And I know you've turned the heads of some fabulous agents thus far in your querying journey, so I have no doubt one of them will pounce on you soon!

    2. Thank you! I hope you're right! I'm planning to get back to querying in the new year. Right now, I'm 46k into the first draft of a new novel and I also have some final revisions to do on my last project. Plenty to keep my busy...

  5. Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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