Friday, February 16, 2018

So far, all rejections


Last year, I sent out query letters with the chance that an agent would request a manuscript -- and I'm glad none of them did because I hadn't finished editing the said manuscript.

Had an agent requested the manuscript, it would've been a polite "no thank you." The manuscript would've had heart, but I would've been offering up the heart of an amateur. The one that hasn't done the research.

The one rule that says, "If an agent asks for the manuscript, do not give them a polished turd."

A year ago, "When the Waves Came In" was exactly that.

It was substantial, with wonderful characters, a great plot, witty dialogue and some grammatical pot holes, as well as giant swatches of missing description. There were vast rooms that needed painting, and I hadn't gotten around to creating the murals.

Had an agent said, "yes," he or she would not have received my best.

Fast forward a few months later and the manuscript is as polished as I can make it -- it's not easy working on fiction in a vacuum, being the only person who has seen it and knows what's happening. I know what's happening too well. I went back through each room of the novel, made sure all the painting was finished, but I'm sure I missed a spot or two.

I guarantee a room or two still need another coat, but a writer can't know this on his own.

So, I handed out five copies to people, hoping they would like what they read.

I'm used to sending up posts on Instagram and blogging on a website that is instantly public, but a novel?

Something that has a beginning, middle, denouement and an end.

If someone doesn't like a blog post, or think it's poorly written -- well, I probably thought it was poorly written first. I just went ahead and published it. I'm not making money off of this -- and I'm just writing to my pretend audience. Essentially, a blog post (or essay) is written for my own enjoyment. It's just not costing me too much -- just my annual payment to keep the My Bucket of Parts domain name.

But a novel?

There's a real future there. One where I begin to really gain an audience, where I'm paid for my words -- and while the first novel may not necessarily make the most, hopefully it opens up a door for more books.

I hope.

So far, two readers have stated similar critiques. They both enjoyed the book. There are elements that left them with questions, which I need to address.

Since the updated edits, I've continued sending out letters to agents -- about 20. So far, I've gotten mostly form rejections, but there have been a few gems that keep me going. One stated "despite it's many charms" they didn't feel right for the project. Another rejection, a more personal one, said that the query letter and first few pages were well-written, and although they also thought the project was not right for them, she stated that an agent will probably ask for the manuscript.

Well-written? An agent will probably ask for a manuscript?

I'll take it.

It may not have been a yes, but it was definitely a wonderful no.