I've written before about how writers, even the great ones, suffer from "corrosive self-doubt," a term coined by the great James Lee Burke.
As some of you may have noticed, I am a writer of self-admitted minimal success and enormous failures, but I still write. I think psychologists call that "self-injurious behavior." So be it.
Today's "Writing Wednesdays" blog is about a weird kind of retribution for all the rejections I've suffered from agents. When I research a literary agency, I review what each agent is interested in before deciding whether or not I should contact them. I wouldn't send a murder mystery to an agent who only handles historical non-fiction, for example. This is a standard process.
Now, I do the rejections, dumping agents that aren't appropriate for my work. "Take that!" I shout at the computer screen when I reject an agent. "How do you like that, you arrogant, elitist, literary snob!" Of course, they don't know I've rejected them; whereas, when they reject me I get it in writing or, even worse, silence.
This approach is recent, and I know it may fall short just a tad from reality. But therapy can take on many faces. I find comfort in it, but I suspect it is only temporary. Stay tuned for next week's "Writing Wednesdays" blog.
I plan to dedicate a blog about writing on Wednesdays from now on, as much as possible. If you've been following curlylarryandme, you know that I'm a writer with some success and lots of failures. I have written more about rejections than anything else, because I'm an expert on being rejected, as is nearly every other writer regardless of publishing credits, or not.
Usually, when I query a literary agent I think would be a good match for me, they explain on their website, that they are busybusybusy people, and a bit self-important, too. Most of them have a tone of condescension, too. They say they receive 5,342 queries every day of their busybusybusy lives, and because of their level of busy-ness, they may not be able to tell you that you stink for a month or two. Or not at all. The "or not at all" attitudes are especially annoying. In other words, they are so busybusybusy they don't have time for good manners, common decency, or simple professionalism.
So, when I sent off a query letter and a few sample pages to an agent who seemed to be a good match, I was a bit surprised to receive a polite, professional, and kind rejection email in, get this, 18 HOURS! Was my letter so terrible that the poor woman threw up and hit the REJECT AUTOMATIC REPLY that fast? I could not believe it. A first in decades of rejection letters. 18 HOURS!
When I told my astute Book Concierge, Rowe Carenen, she said not to worry, that the busybusybusy agent's "In Box" was probably full, triggering the response, and she probably never even saw the query letter and sample pages. That made sense. I tried again with another agent at the agency. That was a little over two weeks ago. No rejection. Yet. Maybe she's reading what I wrote. Maybe she'll be impressed. Maybe she won't. Might be too busybusybusy. I'll let you know when, and if, I hear from her.
In the meantime, keep writing!
For all practical purposes, I have finished the "big" novel I've been writing to you all about. Thirty-eight chapters ast it turns out, thoroughly reviewed, critiqued, and edited by my stellar book concierge, and studied by my writers group, "The Write Minds." I enjoyed writing the book, enjoyed the several revisions, enjoyed the outcome of the story that has redemption in it for a very troubled protagonist. Now the hard part sets in, the "corrosive self doubt" that I wrote about earlier that all writers feel. It isn't any good. It might be good but no one will want it. Is it the best I can do? Did I waste my time? What will my 6th grade teacher at Hawthorne Elementary School in Clinton, Iowa think of it?
Something even harder begins now, and that - finding an agent. I published my first two novels, and the third to come, without an agent. So, why do I need an agent for this book? Because there is a whole business side of publishing that I know nothing about and that my current publisher does not pursue. How to push the book. How to get rave reviews. How to boost sales. How to expand author's rights into foreign sales, getting into big bookstores, even movies. How to, I tremble to mention this, how to make some money at my craft.
I have writer friends who have written wonderful novels and can't get published. I have writer friends who got published but have made less than $500 in royalties over two or three years. I have writer friends who despair and give up, but I'm not doing that. I wrote a good book. I hope to find an excellent agent who will boost my career.
I will keep you posted, dear readers.