When The Nano Ends

I’ve been working on the serial killer old man book for a year now. Finished the first draft on 11/25/2013.

Around the time of my third wave of revisions, (February) I started thinking about the evolution of a manuscript; specifically that part where you get signed by an agent, you get a publishing deal, and they make you do a ton of revisions all over again.

I researched the art of the query. I read queryshark’s posts, thoroughly. (http://queryshark.blogspot.com/)

And I put together a query. And rewrote it and rewrote it. Jesus, I probably put as much time and energy into the query, and the book blurb, as I did in the original manuscript.

I sent out queries. I personalized each one. I tailored a few sentences to that agent, citing a recent blog post or tweet that could connect me and my MS to them.

I failed. Miserably. Almost every rejection was a generic one. “I’m sorry, it’s just not right for what I’m looking for, I wish you all the best” was very common reply.

I went through a second and third wave of queries. All rejections.

I got bitter. Who were these gatekeepers of the Top Five Publishers? These cat ladies who ALSO had a book or two that had been published? Wasn’t that a conflict of interest? What do they know? How are there so many shitty books in the new fiction section, if these agents were holding every author to insanely high standards?

I started following Literary Agent Darth Vader on twitter.

Eventually, I gave up querying and went back to revising my book. I got an editor, (she’s awesome) and stopped stressing about the agent game.

I was about to sign with a publisher a month ago — a quasi-self-publishing-PR publisher. I was ready to self-publish, but, I’m still on the fence. The self-publish side has a bad rap; and agents and the top five publishers, (top six?) will tell you self-pub will never be as good as a Real Publisher, but on the plus side, you might see your book published in less than 18 months, you’ve got control over your work, and you CAN find the readers if you work at it.

I still wrestle with making a decision here. The one thing I’ve learned in this experience is not to rush it. Unless you’ve written a book that relies on today’s headlines, (Rob Ford: Super Crack Hero), allow your book to grow into its own thing.