Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Queries Ad Nauseam

For those of you whose Latin is rusty, ad nauseam is a Latin term for a discussion that has continued so long that it has moved to the point of nausea. When I was in fund raising the one constant (besides being turned down and rejected so often I wondered if wearing a hair shirt might feel better) was the fact that I was forced to sit in interminable meetings where people hashed out the same topic over and over and over again. The only way I survived without pulling out all of my hair (which is thinning as rapidly as the rest of me is thickening) was to imagine myself somewhere else, aka daydreaming. Ah,
the dreams I had. 

On to our topic of today: my adventure into searching for an agent. I have to admit that since my flurry of querying in September where I sent what I considered, rather charming letters to six agents, I've been rejected by two and have heard nothing from the others, which I take to mean I've been rejected by all six. Now what I should have done and should be doing is sending out more queries. I know that, however, something inside of me recoils at continuing what I fear might be a fruitless endeavor into constant rejection. 

The novel, First Cut, is not an easy little romance or fun mystery. Instead, it's a story of a 15 year-old boy coping with the sudden death of his mother by cutting himself. The boy lives alone with his father on the family ranch in south Texasand is modeled on what I've observed as the classic father/son relationship: they don't talk to each other and the father is hypercritical about everything the son does, at least in the boy's mind. It has a touch of magical realism and also deals with the issue of the flood of undocumented Latino immigrants crossing into that part of Texas. 

Unsure if it's my writing, I submitted it to my writing critique partner for her thoughts and she made a few suggestions and told me to keep sending out queries. I've revised the manuscript, but still hesitate. Why? I'm not quite sure. It's a solid story with a good plot line and plenty of rising and falling action. I like it, but as I perused the agents current wish list, most of them are interested in fun romance and maybe some MG fantasy. Last year they wanted gritty realism, groan. 

While pondering what to do with First Cut, I am revising a fun upper middle grade time travel story that I wrote over a year ago called Here and There. The problem with Here and There is that it's too long, an unusual problem with me. I'm usually way too brief. Anyway, it's a cute story that I'm cutting down to a better length and have decided to send it out instead. 

So that's my saga at this point. Now you may be pondering (and rightly so) what my saga has to do with you, well, I'll tell you. This blog is for writers of all ilk and stages in their career so I thought it might helpful for you to follow along with me on my quest. I'd also like your comments about any similar experiences you might have had or are having so we can compare notes. Some of you might be wondering why I don't just self publish and I'll tell you. I have no faith in my ability to promote my work or myself to any degree of success. I'm simply not good at it. However, I will ponder that question next month. So until then, happy writing and happy trails. 


Angelica Hart and Zi said...

We are oldies in life and in the business of writing. Between the two of us, we could have once wall-papered an entire room with rejections both from publishers and agents. Although we prefer to consider them, stepping stones. For some were kind enough to give us a few tips about our work. Having said that, one of us has been through three agents and the other through one. It's not the agent you need for they don't promote you. Publishing houses can only do so much unless you are one of the top ten authors in the world. All this to say, in the kindest, most humble, most "wanna help" way, you have to learn to promote yourself. Start small and grow from there. In todays world you have to create a brand for yourself. We've been published both through publishing houses and self-published. Either way, you have to figure out a way to get your name known. Big Mike has a whole section in the yahoo file about promoting. There are tons of online sites. As writers we just want to write and let someone else do that tedious chore. Unless you can afford a PR person working for you, roll up your selves and get to work. Best of happiness and fortune! Angelica Hart and Zi

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