Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Spot of Tea

I read a post and a link from Nathan Bransford about what it’s like to be a literary agent.
In my mind I pared down what the author, Michael Bourne said, to one thing. That the odds of getting one of my two completed novels to be picked up by the agent he was interviewing, at 1 in 11,111.

 I cried myself to sleep after reading that.

Have I queried that agent, not sure but one of the agents in that office is in my top 5, he was very gracious and helpful when I queried him. I’ve been rejected by many of the best and most of the unknown. I’ve been told my fiction isn’t ready, I’ve been told it’s phenomenal but not the right fit. So what is it?
It got me to thinking, I mean really thinking, because I am in the process of writing my third book; is it worth the effort? When I think back to what it has taken to complete my books, query, and wait and dream, get pissed off and cry, it just breaks my heart.

I don’t normally compare writing a book with having a baby but many writers do. I now understand why. To have such high hopes for your child only to see it go nowhere, to languish and die, even though it had so much potential, is awful.  To think that the potential I dreamed about was faulty just rips my heart out.
It’s not like I’m unpublished, I’m out there, past and present, it’s not as if I’ve never experienced the highs of writing success relative to my market and ability; I’m a minnow in a mud puddle dreaming of being a big-ass fish in Lake ‘fucking’ Superior. It’s that the monetary success in writing what I write, and exposure of what I write, is even harder to achieve than the fiction I’ve been peddling for seven years.
So what do I do?

I’m a Maxwell House girl but as I write this I’m thinking of a kind of British tea and term.
“Stay Calm and Carry On.”  I shall with a tear in my eye.


Anonymous said...

"To think that the potential I dreamed about was faulty just rips my heart out."

Here's what you do:

Don't listen to such silliness :)

These bloggers are blowing smoke up your proverbial butt. Trust me, I've been there and I know. Get out there and start making it happen for you. And don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I read your comment on Nathans blog and smiled...I feel the same :)
You are not alone :)

I feel like I don't have contacts, I definitely can't pay for conferences or classes (can't afford rent barely). I feel like these are excuses, maybe they are...but sometimes I just need to have a pity party I guess . Anyway, chin up ! :)

Wry Wryter said...

Anon and Anon thanks for stopping by and thanks for the encouraging words. Usually I'm very positive and I don't let this shit get me down but the 1 in 11,111 got to me today.
Thanks again.

Averil said...

Well, 1 in 11,111, but you know most of those 11,111 are truly not ready at all. I know, because I tried to get my stuff out there way too soon. My queries were bad but the writing was worse. So the odds aren't really as long as that. Just keep doing your thing, write what you love, self-publish if that keeps you going. It'll be okay.

Hannah said...

I agree with Averil. I also understand that it's hard not to get depressed, frustrated, angry, discouraged, etc. I've felt them all.
I wrote two novels when I was in college as part of National Novel Writing Month. I always thought they were silly - they read like fantasy, like the quest movies I love to watch, not at all like what I consider my "mature" reflective work (mostly essays). I've never done anything with them, never let anyone read them, don't even mention them to most people.
I started rereading one of them this week and I've been completely absorbed, drawn in to this world I created, caring about these characters who are NOT me (thank God), following the story and worried about what's going to happen to them, even though of course I know. Will I ever do anything with the novels? Who knows. But that doesn't matter to me now. The pleasure of writing and reading was enough - to experience what nothing else but a story can give me.
If that's how you feel about your new novel, about the characters who spoke to you while you were driving past an old motel, then it would be such a waste NOT to write it. Imagination is a gift and words are such a beautiful craft.
Hope that doesn't sound too hokey. And of course, know you are supported by other writers!

Wry Wryter said...

Hannah, it's like you have already read the book. I love that you remembered.
And Averil, you and Betsy make my day. Gee I miss her.

Jennine G. said...

Go back and read your post about when and how this new novel came to you. Your excitement was contagious and I felt excited for you! Don't let the supposed odds work against you. This may be the one, but you'll never know if it's never written.

Wry Wryter said...

Thank you Jennine. You're right.
Good teacher that you are.

Teri said...

Your third book. Is it worth the effort? Yes. Yes it is. Moving forward is always worth it.

I went to read the Bransford article but got too depressed after the first few paragraphs and hit my escape hatch. He's right, I'm sure he's right, but his being right doesn't help me finish the one paragraph ---- yes, the one lousy paragraph --- I've been trying to fix for 3 days. Isn't that just how it goes sometimes?

My goal today is to bury my head in my manuscript until it makes sense. Or until whenever. And to keep imagining I know what I'm doing. Fake it till you make it, and all that.

Teri said...

P.S. And until then, I'm with you on the spot of tea, with a dog or two snuggled in at the feet.