Querying Sucks + Writing a New Novel
If you know someone who's written any sort of book and has attempted / succeeded to get it published, then you've probably heard them say one phrase:
Querying f**king sucks.
And man, does it really.
Back in October/November, I decided to query a novel that I had been working on since I was 16. at 74,000 words, having been through several drafts, it was my baby. I'd devoted countless hours to it, sacrificed so many days and nights of going out and having fun to work on it. It had been through dozens of beta readers, most of whom were completely enthusiastic about this novel. I'd even taken a writing workshop through Gotham Writers and had my novel critiqued by my peers, all (except one) whom completely loved it. Needless to say, I was confident. I felt strong, and excited to being the journey towards one of my life's biggest goals: publication.
But, before I began the querying process (in a nutshell: an author sends a "query letter", aka a cover letter, along with x amount of pages of their novel to an agent, in hopes they'll sign them) there was one more thing I wanted to do: Twitter Pitch.
If you're unfamiliar with the publishing side of Twitter, Twitter Pitches go something like this: a bunch of agents set a day for unsigned authors to pitch their books under a specific hashtag (the one I'm going to be talking about is #DVPit, which is for marginalized authors. I've also done #PitMad a toooon in the past). You have to sum up your book in <140 characters, meaning, you have to condense your summary into one tweet, including the hashtag in that single tweet. Agents and editors patrol through the hashtag all day, and if they like your pitch, they'll "favorite" it. Favorites are reserved only for agents and editors, so getting even one is a huge deal. If they favorite it, it means they want you to query them, and that they're very interested in your novel. Meaning, it's a great thing. I'd done Twitter Pitches several times before, but to little-to-know success. So when I was approaching #DVPit, I wasn't expecting much at all. I sent out this tweet:
And went about my day. And, uh... needless to say, it blew up.
Most of those 47 likes (meaning, 90%) were from agents who wanted to read my book.
I. Was. Stoked.
I was so beyond floored, to be exact. I had no idea so many people could be interested in my book! I actually had a bit of a panic attack from the overwhelming response. Sitting through class that day, knowing my feed was being flooded with notifications I couldn't read, was actually one of the most stressful things. I got home that night and immediately started pounding out emails to all 30 something agents, and then came the hard part: waiting.
It took a solid 2 1/2 months before I heard back from any of the agents. As someone who has been working hard to learn patience (I once would've considered myself the world's most impatient person), 2 1/2 months felt like a very long time. But, thankfully I had school and work to distract me from the waiting.
So, I waited. And waited. And waited some more. And then, finally, the rejections started pouring in. Now, rejection is just a standard part of the publishing industry, so I expected these rejections. In fact, none of them really made me upset. I just kind of nodded my head and went along with it.
However, I wasn't expecting to get ALL rejections, and not one offer of representation.
I've done enough research on the industry to know that most authors send 30-50 queries before they land an agent. So getting this many rejections wasn't really out of the norm. But what did make me upset, was that none of the agents could really come to a consensus on what exactly was wrong with the novel.
It was too edgy for some, and not edgy enough for another. Some people hated how bitter my protagonist was, and others thought she wasn't bitter enough. It was this weird juxtaposition of being either too much or not enough. And, quite frankly, it made me a bit sad and stressed out.
So, I took a "mental health break". Yes, I took a mental health break from one of my most favorite things in the entire world. And I think that's completely okay. Sometimes, you need to take a break from what you love, in order to keep on loving it. So I stopped writing books for several months, and and now I'm slowly getting back into it.
As of right now, I'm not ready to talk about my new book - it's still so new that I'm still trying to figure it out. But I promise, i'll talk about it on here soon. I'm also taking it a lot slower than usual. In the past, I've written compulsively - 13 hours a day, 100K words in a month (worst. Idea. Ever.), etc. But I'm not doing that anymore, at least, not right now. I'm taking it slow, taking it at the pace that I currently feel comfortable with. Novel writing isn't a race, and publishing a novel is something you'll never be too old to do.
This post is getting rather lengthy, I know, but I just felt that I owed you all an update on the novel writing stuff, since I've been silent about it for so long, and have been purposely avoiding all your questions about it.
So there's the update! You can follow me on Twitter for more bookish updates (I tend to give them there rather than Instagram). And, of course, I'll keep you all updated when things start to happen.