It took me longer to press the send button than I thought it would.
I almost held my finger back and made another excuse from the long list of Author Excuses™ because sending your manuscript out is terrifying on several levels. Even to beta readers. People you know and trust in their opinions. Once you let that beast off the chain, it slips into the wild and you realize it’s gone. You can’t put it back in the cage anymore – the Internet is forever.
And so now I’ve reached this strange lull. I can’t work on anything associate with the book because I’ve released it, but I’ve spent the past several years working and grinding so that’s what I feel like I should do. Instead I went to the library and checked out a new book. I know the time will come for revisions and feedback, but yesterday I was determined to find something new to read. And so I did. I’m hoping the book will be a good therapeutic lesson on how to relax after striving for a long term goal. I feel good about sending the book out, I really do, but damned if it didn’t make my brain twitch a little.
Thing is – every writer wants what they send out to be good. That’s normal. You shouldn’t want your art to be shit (even if you think it is) and somehow I still meet creators who are convinced what they are sending out is bad yet send it out anyway. I find that mystifying. If nothing else, the artists should have some faith in what they’ve done. That faith is tenuous though. It moves and changes as we read through what we’ve written for the billionth time.
After my group of beta returns with feedback I’ll begin another pass on the piece and prepare it for the next challenge. Querying. I’ve done a ton of research on this already, and from what I’ve learned the largest problem writers have is – they don’t pay attention. Agents put out a list of novel themes and types they are interested in, yet it seems many authors decide to just blow past those requirements and send what they’ve written over anyway. I find this very strange. Some of the horror stories on social media are even worse, with lines from writers something akin to “I know this isn’t specific to your list, but it’s such a wonderful book I know you’d want to read it anyway!”
People (these writers specifically) forget agents are in the business of finding great books which match what they’re looking for. Which means that if your book doesn’t specifically match it – you’re wasting your time. It’s like getting the literary version of an unsolicited dick pic. I have done a massive amount of research on the agents I will query – I’ve stalked their accounts, read their blogs, and checked out what they’ve sold before. I’ve ground down on my synopsis and the query itself until its a taut muscle waiting to strike. It may end up on my shelf after several rounds of querying, but I’ll be damned if I’m just going to throw it in anyone’s face, that’s not professional. Besides, wouldn’t I want the same kind of professionalism out of the agent I end up working with?
Addendum: Ah March, that month in the midwest where the weather has no idea what it wants and we are meant to suffer for it. The good news is Spring is nearly here and I cannot wait to be out from the cover of the cold and into the sun. I need to get out and be more active after a long and dreary winter. Not to mention I may be getting a new grill soon, and I’ll need to make sure it works.
My suggestion for your Sunday – Do something special for someone else. Pass on the right energy to them, especially if you know they need it. Communicate with a friend you haven’t in a long time and rock their world.