Adventures In Book Writing, Part 1

So, I wrote a book.

A whole one. 75,000+ words. 300 pages. One full YA novel.

I’ve always talked (or whined) to my husband about how much I’d like to pursue writing as a full-time career, and he finally challenged me to start writing my first book. Actually, what he said was, “If you write as much as you read, you’ll have a book written in a few weeks.”

He was kind of right. It actually took a few months, but within about three months (even while teaching full time and being a mom to two young kids) I had my complete novel and had already gone through a few full edits on my own.It felt challenging in the best of ways – like putting together a puzzle of pieces that had been floating around in my head for years.

Great, right?

I had grand visions of spending my summer off sending out query letters to agents and choosing carefully from the offers of representation (because of course in my daydreams the agents were jumping at the chance to work with me). I thought that, maybe, I could even go back to school this fall with a contract from a publisher. I mean, if the book writing process went so well for me, why not expect the rest of it to go as smoothly?

I was so wrong.

As of now, I’ve sent out 25-30 query letters to agents. All were written according to the guidelines of each particular agent. Rules were followed. I participated in twitter events involving agents, tried to follow every lead I caught wind of. So far I’ve responded to a request for a partial manuscript and a request for the full manuscript, but I’ve mostly gotten form letter e-mails back telling me that my book just didn’t sound like the right project for that agent at the time.

I guess I’ve gotten to the point where I’m going to put some effort into writing another, different book instead of just pursuing the first one. That’s not to say I’m giving up on the first one – the people I’ve had read it have loved it, and I’m grasping onto their compliments to keep me sane and focused on my dream. I am, however, coming to terms with the fact that it may not be the manuscript that gets me an agent. So I need to work on the manuscript that’s going to get me an agent.

I wish the whole agent/publisher process was a little more author friendly, but I understand that agents can only take so many authors at a time. I also understand that they get crazy amounts of queries every day. That doesn’t stop me from hoping that, one day, I’ll be the author they respond to with a resounding “Yes!”

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