You write a book and you sit back and think, “I did it!” You go through the process of abusing friends and family asking them to read your new baby. You are so proud! Meanwhile you go back and proof read it again, even though you have already proof read it several times, and again you find more mistakes or places it feels “choppy” – the kiss of death for a book. Some of your friends and family plow through your little mess, or more likely, your huge mess because you haven’t learned to be succinct in your writing yet. You find an editor and now… now you are serious.
The first time you open your darling with show track changes on your heart stops for just a second. Then you remind yourself, you want your book to be the best it can be. You weed through the edits, accepting most of them but you put your foot down over a few lines. Obviously your editor is a little inexperienced because that line is AWESOME! You leave it. The editing process takes longer than writing your book did.
You realize your baby is too long, and you have since done a little research. You know you need to get that word count down by 20,000 words. Your research says you should get it down by 60,000 words but you know your book is special, so you modify that research to meet your unique situation. You send your new shorter book back to your editor and the new editing process takes longer than the first because your editor has a real job, or has taken on more editing jobs and it’s no longer your turn. You are the epitome of patience. Finally, your new work of art returns.
You have done more research while you were waiting and realize you should have beta readers and critique partners, which sounds a lot like a beta reader to you. You have now spent so much time and effort on this book that self-publishing seems beneath you. Your friends and family have been very positive, or at least what you heard was positive. Therefore, an agent will surely pick up your work immediately.
You dream of your baby being on a shelf in Barnes and Nobles, front and center, since you’re a local author.
You purchase Writer’s Digest 20xx and begin to skim through it and notice that they strongly encourage you to get a Twitter account, so of course you do. You follow the agent that is specified as a great place to start in the book and the next thing you know you are following dozens of agents, publishers, other authors, editors and random people trying to sell you things to help you in your writing career or agent search.
You figure out you need to write a Query and a Synopsis, and you give it the old college try. You abuse your editor and ask for a couple of free pages of editing. If she’s nice or new, she will. You research the agents you want to query first while you wait. Two pages take two weeks but when they come back, you are excited because now the real fun begins.
You send out twenty queries to the agents you believe are the best match, though you aren’t sure if your genre designation is correct or your age category for that matter. A couple of weeks go by and your get some very polite no thank yous. You start suspecting your genre because it couldn’t be your query or first pages.
Meanwhile you find a beta reader or four and a couple of them actually finish your book, but a couple do not. You start to worry about your first pages, and possibly pacing. The feedback is all very positive still.
You’re getting good at Twitter and have a few people you like to banter with. You win a query review in a Twitter contest and then a second person offers to review your query. Their advice conflicts.
Time passes and you start your sequel. You get a little more input and start suspecting your first pages and your pacing. You hire someone new to do a manuscript review and she confirms your suspicions.
You do your first major manuscript rewrite. You are out of money now. You abuse more friends and family and delve into the coworker pool of beta readers. You are no longer sure you are qualified to write anything. You still haven’t finished your sequel but you start another idea for a book and you say you #amwriting on Twitter, so you still believe it’s true.
All of your original 20 queries are either a no by default for no answer or a very polite no, now. You are afraid to send out new queries until you feel better about the quality of your book. Your family refuses to read the latest revisions.
You join an author’s Facebook group and they ask you to read an excerpt from your work in progress. This is your manuscript but you have down-graded it as insecurities take hold. You get some great ideas from the group and you rework the section they reviewed, wishing they had reviewed the entire work in progress.
#PitchWars2017 begins and you enter to try to win a “Mentor”. You read the Mentor’s wish lists and none of them match perfectly, so you pick those that you think are your kind of people. You ignore the one or two things they are NOT looking for that match your book, hoping the parts that match override those details. You are really wondering about your genre now.
You start thinking you should have self-published or you should take up painting.
So You Think You Can Dance starts up for the summer and you put off doing anything while you watch the show. You may get back to your book or you may take the summer off, you haven’t decided yet. The Walking Dead is coming too…
By Vicki L. Pugliese