Monday, January 28, 2013

Journey to Publication! Part 2: Weeping and Waiting

When I spoke with you last, I had just received my first "form rejection" from a literary agent. If you're not quite up to speed, I've written a novel and am now slogging through the soul-crushing vortex of pain that is querying agents. Since last time, there have been a few minor developments.

Firstly let me say: when people tell you that trying to get published is a nooollercoaster ride of emotion, usually complete with visits to Vomcano Village on a regular basis, believe them. It is true. Only days ago I was on a high, feeling pret-ty damn good about myself for getting a request for my full manuscript, and a request for my partial manuscript, in the space of a week. I'd heard back from four agents at that point, and two of them seemed interested in my novel. I felt like kind of a big deal.

And then I got an email from the agent to whom Matt referred me. She said she was glad to have been able to read my novel, that I'd likely have success with it, but that it was "a bit too commercial" for her. Which, fair enough. I wrote it to be commercial. And not everyone is into that, nor do all agents represent that, nor did I really think my book would be a good fit for her. So I wasn't particularly disappointed, and focused instead on the kind words that she offered in regards to my manuscript. I was like, "Well yay! An agent read my whole book and didn't think it was akin to rotting offal. This is good. I can do this."

Still feeling quite optimistic, I checked my email this morning and saw that I'd received an email from the agent who'd requested the first 50 pages of my manuscript. Stomach in my throat, I read it... and my stomach plummeted into the bowel region. She said that I was a strong writer, but that my story didn't "enrapture" her the way that she'd hoped.

My story didn't enrapture her.

It didn't enrapture her.

My first and only thought process upon reading these words: OH MY GOD MY NOVEL IS BORING. It is the most boring piece of writing ever conceived on this earth. What have I done.

And you know... I haven't quite gotten over this little speedbump of emo. Not yet. I'm still of the mind that... maybe my novel sucks? Yes, I've had friends and family who've read it and enjoyed it. That is true. But I wonder how much of that enjoyment stems from the fact that they know and love me? Probably a significant amount. Would they love my book if they randomly bought it at Barnes & Noble? Maybe. I'm not sure. There are several people who asked to read my manuscript, maybe a couple months ago now, and as far as I'm aware never finished it. I mean yes, it was not the finished draft and maybe it was too rough for them to get into it. And yes, people have lives, and it takes time to read a novel, and they are likely very busy. Or maybe they just forgot.

But, well... I've clung to this fact, the fact that some of my friends and family have not finished my manuscript... and used it as proof to myself that I've written a boring, forgettable, non-enrapturing novel. I can't shake this feeling. And it's really really pissing me off.

I'm still waiting to hear back from several agents I queried a couple weeks ago, as well as the agent who requested my full manuscript. But I don't have high hopes. My query letter may be good, but does my manuscript live up to it? Am I letting everyone down? Did I write my novel all wrong? I'm paranoid and insecure and it sucks, but it's happening nonetheless.

All I can do now, other than eat copious amounts of chocolate and numb my pain with episodes of TNG, is wait. And have a cheeky weep. And wait some more. And then... a cheeky chunder.

Writing is hard. Trying to get published is even worse. Until next time!

1 comment:

Jess said...

Hi Meg! I bet it is terrifying to shop for an agent. I think the reason I don't put much time into writing is because I think I and everyone else will think it's crap. I know you're pretty much at the end of the process, but if you'd like any more feedback I'd be glad to give it a read. And I promise to be honest! But I bet it's fantastic :-)