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View Full Version : Well, finally, post 50



mysterymantis
08-06-2011, 05:34 AM
It's been almost three months since I last posted on here. That was post 49, the one right before the almighty post 50. Presumably, 50 is the first marker on here, since it opens you up to submitting work. I've wanted to do a special write-up for it, and I've been dragging my feet a bit (last post was 3 months ago), and I know exactly why. Let me explain.
I have this problem. I don't have any knowledge or real training when it comes to the world of writing and publishing. I feel completely overwhelmed by the whole thing, to the point of near total discouragement. Back in 2006, when I was nearing completion of my first MS, I was in a book store and spotted a copy of Writer's Market; a book I had learned of in HS, but had since forgotten. I had the audacity to believe that I could teach myself everything Iíd need to know with this book, or, at least that it was meant to be the start of my education on what to do next. That was 5 years ago, and I don't feel like I've learned much in that time.

I tried to read more about it from different sources, but so much of the info is non-specific. I tried to submit to a couple of agents, but was unsuccessful. I asked one if she could tell me if there was a specific format for writing a query letter, since so much of what I'd read on the subject was conflicting. She said go to the library, without even so much as a book recommendation. I got discouraged quick.

Why? Well, when you read about how many people get rejected for silly things (format, not calling the agent the correct Ms or Mrs., using the wrong SASE, including or omitting material that they either did or did not request and you are obviously psychic and supposed to be able to figure out what they want even if they state they don't want it), you get a bit gun-shy. I was afraid to start sending out queries that might be rejected for reasons other than my book just not being acceptable. That just appalled me. Still does. I felt that I didnít want to cut myself off from potential agents and publishers just because I had no realistic way of learning the way the system worked for each individual person I was querying.

The stress got to me, and I quit writing for a few months. Then a few months became a year. Then I just quit trying to publish that book, even though from a totally realistic POV, I barely even tried. I consider writing that book my greatest achievement as a writer, not because it was a great book, but because I actually finished it. To watch all my enthusiasm about it just wane as I felt more and more overwhelmed by the system, well, it killed my desire to do anything else, especially write. I even avoided the subject as often as possible with my friends and family. Where I was once open and exuberant to talk about what was happening, I am now sordid and withheld.

So for now, Iím on sabbatical from getting published to focus on writing. I am working on two new novels, and I even have some notes for a screenplay (yet another avenue to explore that I really donít know anything about). I definitely want to seek publishing again, but not until I feel like I know what I am doing. Until then, I will work on my writing. Itís not like I canít use more practice, at both writing and editing. Once I feel a bit more comfortable, Iíll start looking into publishing again. And then, I know this community can offer me their knowledge.

So now that I have finally hit post 50, I can put something on here for you folks to read. Not sure what yet, and I will likely wait until I have at least read some of your stuff. I don't want to be one of the leechers, and I really want to immerse myself into this.



In any case, thank you for your time.

MM

Ferret
08-06-2011, 09:10 AM
I really don't think you need to worry about agents rejecting you for silly things. Follow the basic instructions, make sure you spell the agent's name correctly, and you'll be fine. Heck, I've heard of people spelling the agent's name incorrectly and still getting requests, as long as the query's good enough.

Agents are too busy to help the hundreds of people who query them monthly individually, which is probably why the agent didn't give you much advice, but many give advice on blogs, and Query Letter Hell here is very helpful.

Good luck, and try not to get discouraged. It's a hard process, but it isn't an impossible one.

Phaeal
08-09-2011, 06:03 PM
CGs on your determination to pursue a passion.

Don't worry so much about the submission process. The basic formats are easy to learn; after that, given basic technical and story-telling competence, it's a game of hitting the right desk. The trick is to keep what's done in constant circulation while writing more.

MsJudy
08-09-2011, 07:57 PM
It does seem overwhelming and confusing at first. I completely understand. It was so much worse in the pre-internet days...there really wasn't a good way to get that information.

Now there is. You're in the right place. Start reading those stickies about learning to write. Pace yourself, a little bit at a time. Find blogs like queryshark and Miss Snark's First Victim. They'll give you so much more clarity about what works and what doesn't.

Once you feel like your writing is good enough to compete with what's being published, then you just need to dive in and stick with the querying process. After a while, you'll be just as callused as the rest of us.

mysterymantis
08-13-2011, 10:34 PM
Do you guys recommend any books or anything to help with the process? I do like the interwebs for research, but find that sometimes I get sucked in...

Damn you youtube!

Mclesh
08-13-2011, 10:44 PM
I second the advice about QueryShark. After reading all of the posts, I retooled my query letter. It was so much better, I couldn't believe it. She knows what she's talking about. (My first letter was unbelievable crap!)

Keep writing and rewriting.

lauralam
08-18-2011, 02:14 PM
Hey, this is post 50 for me! I'll probably post my query letter later on today.

I've been plagued by the whispering thoughts lately. I made it to the top 2% of one submission pile, and thought it would be similarly easy to do so with the agents'. Not so. It's shaken my confidence, and it's difficult to recover. My novel's got something, definitely, but is it different enough to beat the odds? I really don't know.

e-hugs.

booker c
08-18-2011, 09:02 PM
Thanks for the QueryShark info. I was using AgentQuery but I need all the help out there!

mysterymantis
08-20-2011, 12:30 AM
Hey, this is post 50 for me! I'll probably post my query letter later on today.

I've been plagued by the whispering thoughts lately. I made it to the top 2% of one submission pile, and thought it would be similarly easy to do so with the agents'. Not so. It's shaken my confidence, and it's difficult to recover. My novel's got something, definitely, but is it different enough to beat the odds? I really don't know.

e-hugs.

I firmly believe there is an audience for everything. A book about the re-incarnated, zombie body of Hitler, who has returned to rape sheep and sell haggis stuffed candy bars, would have an audience. It's the archaic thinking of the publishing world that is holding that book back from its audience. It's a outdated model, that hopefully, is on its way out. Or, at the very least, gets shaken up real good.

Query shark sounds pretty cool. Checking it out now.

justkay
08-23-2011, 04:45 AM
Lol - I want to read the zombie Hitler book with candy bar stuffed sheep! Forward over a copy of that one!

LOL!:roll: