A Season For Querying

A while back, inspired by a comment a fellow writer made, I wrote a post about how there are seasons in writing. A season for editing, a season for publishing, a season for drafting, etc. Much as fields are left fallow and crops rotated, concentrating on one aspect at a time of the writing journey is something I’ve found helpful when improving my craft.

All this is a long way of saying I’m about to start querying again. By that, I mean I have a shiny new book, beta-read and edited within an inch of its life, that I’m sending out to agents in the hope that one might take me on.

The querying season is one of varying weather, I’ve found. The spring-like hopefulness of the beginning, where days are brighter, the possibility of warmer weather lying ahead. This is how it feels when query letters are sent out, small birds leaving the nest, hoping to find their place. There are also stormy days and dark days when rejections roll in or, worse yet, your query is completely ignored, languishing unacknowledged in someone’s deleted file. And then there are brilliant days, when the sun shines bright and all seems well with the world, when you get personalised feedback, a request for more information, or even a request for the full manuscript.

I’ve weathered all those different days on my writing journey, and I’m still here. I think my latest book is one of the best I’ve written, and there are more stories from the same universe revealing themselves as I write. Not bad for something that started with a fragment of a dream.

This querying season, I’m hoping for more sunshine than clouds. I’ll keep you all posted πŸ™‚

Update: I wrote this post last week, after sending out my first batch of queries. And, sunshine already, I’ve already had a full request! Watch this space…

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On The Path Once More

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It’s Monday, and the gorgeous child is back at school. Half term is over – this year is flying by already – and I’m now back to my regular schedule.

A Thousand Rooms is now starting to go out to agents and publishers. I have a carefully crafted cover letter, a sweated-over synopsis, and have had the first three chapters professionally critiqued (thanks, Esther!). I’m also getting very strong feedback on the finished manuscript from my lovely, lovely beta readers – thank you to each and every one of you for your time and honest words.

I managed to get it out the door to three agents last week. One has already got back to me, with a rejection. Ouch. But that is the game I am in, the ring I have now entered, and so I must duck and weave and armour myself against the slings and arrows of rejection, for I doubt it will be the last. I read somewhere that if you get rejected more than ten times, it’s your manuscript that’s the problem. Honestly, I think ten is far too low a number – The Help was rejected something like sixty times, to cite just one example. I think Harry Potter was knocked back at least a dozen times, to cite another. So I have a list of agents and publishers to approach before I decide to go it alone. I believe in the story and, with the feedback I’m getting, hope that it will get somewhere.

Hills and Valleys remains in the editing stage, but I’m still hoping to publish next month. There is a cover design to finalise, then the whole formatting thing to go through again.

And finally, I’ve decided to take advantage of my free KDP Days and am offering Oak and Mist free to download until February 25th. I’ve offered it for free once before with positive results and, while I’m not a fan of giving work away, I do believe these short promotions have their benefits. In fact, I blogged about it here and here.

Wishing you all a Happy Monday x

Live In Hope

Even on a rainy day you sometimes get a rainbow. Too cheesy? ;-)

Even on a rainy day you sometimes get a rainbow. Too cheesy? πŸ˜‰

The other day I received a rejection letter. It was fine, as they go. It addressed me by name, offered the vague yet slightly hopeful response that my story β€˜wasn’t what they were looking for at the moment,’ and reminded me to format future submissions in standard manuscript format (which, to be honest, seems to change from submission to submission). It was just for a short story I’d sent to a magazine, a long shot to be honest and I hadn’t really been expecting much from it. So again, fine.

And yet, not. It really hurt, in an ow-y punch to the gut kind of a way. And I couldn’t really figure out why. I mean, it’s not my first rejection letter. But it is the first one I’ve received in a while. And then I realised that it had brought it all back to me. How it felt last summer when I was riding the submission train, living in hope only to have another letter, another email, dash my expectations to the ground. I wasn’t such a nice person for a little while – at least I felt I wasn’t, though perhaps no-one noticed. I did have a couple of requests for the full manuscript and some lovely responses from other agents, but they led nowhere in the end.

It is part of being a writer, they say. And of course it is. Just like one star reviews and people who get cross and launches that fizzle to nothing. The key is to persevere, they say, and I get that too. But that little rejection threw me. I realise I’m a bit emotional at the moment. I’m having some health stuff sorted over the next few weeks (which may mean I won’t blog as often for a little while) and that’s freaking me out. So perhaps that added to the intensity of my response.

But I am getting ready to re-board the train. I have a book called A Thousand Rooms that is nearly finished and that I hope to start submitting soon. Another summer marred by rain and rejection? I hope not πŸ™‚ I shall gather my British optimism with regards to the capricious nature of both agents and the weather, and I shall live in hope. Because that’s part of being a writer too.