Friday, February 13, 2009

Trying To Get Published

I thought I'd share where I am in my own novel publishing journey. Luckily, I don't have to backtrack too far from where I started. Basically, I spent the last five years and a few months finishing my first novel. (Okay, this is actually my third novel, but it's the first one that I took seriously, the first one I substantially revised, and the first one I'm trying to get published. And, along the way, I've published a few short stories and I won a few awards for my writing, so it wasn't all just THE BOOK.)

I write literary fiction, and this book is based on a visit I made to Thailand, so it also has a multicultural component. I completed my last draft in mid-January and right now copies of my book are floating around the world as my VERY kind writer friends are reading it over and giving me their feedback.

I was trying to be good. I was trying to wait patiently until I got the reviews back. I am still in the process of carefully researching agents and writing the best query letter I can. But, I couldn't quite maintain my Zen. Just a couple of weeks after some of my first reviews got back from my friends, I came up with a draft of a query letter and I submitted to three agents. One is a superstar, and rumors and internet sources suggested that she wasn't taking anymore clients at this time. I sent her my query, and a day letter her assistant got back to me and said that she wasn't accepting anymore clients at this time. Dagnabbit. I also tried two young but popular agents. One of them sent me a rejection within a couple of days. The other one asked me for a partial and then, two weeks later, kindly said that he just wasn't connecting with it enough to represent it. So, for now, I'm 0 out of 3 on my agent quest. I know I should have a healthy attitude. I know that three agents isn't very many, and finding an agent is like finding a spouse, and I should look for one that really loves my work and all that. Well, the truth is that I'm discouraged. Plenty of times I'm down on myself and I think my writing is garbage. But, there are moments when I'm actually proud of this book, when I feel like there is a bit of insight and humanity and love in it, and I'm anxious to have strangers read it. (I say strangers because I have made most of my friends read it already.)

I've been spending a lot of time reading other blogs and commiserating with writers who are also going down this road. I decided to post this message because I know I find comfort when other people describe similar trials. So, here I am. 0 out of 3. I don't have any other queries out at this moment. I am finally able to slow down and be more systematic. I'm trying to find agents who are representing work that I think is similar to my own. I'm seeing if I might be able to get some author blurbs -- unlikely, but I'm trying anyway. And, I'm waiting until I get more feedback from my friends. I think I currently have four copies of my novel out in the ether, with three reviews back and two mentors willing to read it when they have time in the next couple of months. So, that's where I am. I'll try to keep you all updated as things happen...or don't happen.


  1. Hey, good for you! At least you're trying. 0 for 3 isn't so bad considering the industry rates. :) I havn't submitted any queries yet because, quite frankly, my first chapter is the weakest point in my novel. It needs to be golden if I expect any agent to read on... if you get to 0 in 20 or 0 in 100, I'll come commiserate with you. :)

  2. I agree with Anette! Get your Zen attitude back if you can, you are just at the start of a very long process. Writing and the business side of writing are two very different things!

  3. Thanks for your support Anette and edithroad! Anette, you are smart to wait until you feel totally confident about your first few pages. I'm waiting now too.


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