If you’ve been following my blog then you know that I recently completed my novel, that I’m gearing up for publication, and that I handed my precious baby over to some test readers to give me feedback.
The feed back I received was helpful and fabulous! I was relieved to see that nothing SUPER CRAZY HUGE needed fixing. I don’t have to tear it all down to its foundations and start over. It needs a few brush ups and tweaks and ONE FINAL READ THROUGH by moi, and then I think I might just be ready to feed it to the wolves…er…I mean, submit it to literary agents for their consideration!
Realistically, I know to brace for rejection. ‘A thousand no’s before you hit that one yes!’ It could take months, years. We’ve all heard the stories. ‘Even Harry Potter got rejected!’ (Or is that urban legend? Dunno)
I imagine this rejection will feel painful–for a moment. I’ll think: What’s wrong with it? Why don’t you want it? Don’t you like meeeeeee? Wah!
But I’ve got thicker skin…and also, other mind sets to rely on. Such as:
I know my book is good. I don’t just say that out of ego. I’ve worked on it for a long time. I’ve made it better. This isn’t my first novel. (Prior stories are in a banker box down stairs). I’m an avid reader, particularly of my genre (historical mystery). I know what works and I can compare those published pieces to mine. I think mine squares up. I feel good about letting other people read it.
I’m willing to put it out there, as many times as needed.
I know it’s a good book. But I’m willing to listen to advice and change it as necessary. Now, if someone says to me “it needs vampires”, well, I am probably not going to go that route. But if they told me something more practical, something that resonated with the world of the book , then I would listen. I would definitely listen. And the advice might have to come from inside me (because agents rarely give out feedback). I am willing to be open to those voices.
3. Partnership Potential
I’m not sure why the relationship between agent/publisher and unpublished writer feels so very conflicted, like it’s us vs them. I’m guessing it’s a way to deal with the fear of rejection. They become the straw men/women upon which the unpublished masses rest their fears. They become a bit larger than life. Maniacal gate keepers laughing at us writing fools: bwa ha ha!
But, really, just start googling agents on line. Follow them on twitter. They are real people! Real people just doing a job! They drink coffee/tea, use cell phones, watch netflix (if they ever have the time) just like we do!
Agents…they’re just like us!
And here’s something else: THEY LOVE BOOKS LIKE WE DO!
This is common ground. Can you see it now?
This does not have to be an adversarial relationship. There is the potential for partnership. A mutually beneficial one.
See them as fuzzy bunnies, not wolves. It’ll make it easier to send the query letters out if you know you’re looking for your novel’s soul mate, rather than facing down a tyrannical nay sayer.
Our attitude should be: are you the one? Rather than: Please don’t hurt me!
4. It’s not personal.
If/when I get rejected, I need to understand: it’s not personal. It’s business. Whoever that poor soul it was who rejected Harry Potter (if true, I really must look it up sometime), he/she did so because it didn’t make good business sense. The book wasn’t the right fit at the right time. It just wasn’t meant to be.
But the good news is, it did find a home. It found a very good home. It found a happy home within which to grow and sire a long lineage.
And I know, one day, my book will find a good home too. The right fit at the right time.
Just gotta put it out there!
I’d strongly suggest reading Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing: #4… You Need an Agent to Sell a Book.
None of writers I know personally use an agent. Some of these people have been in print for forty years. Like Janet Morris, a wonderful writer, who has been one of my tutors.