After careful deliberations, I have decided to extend my query letter deadline to October 16th. I hemmed and hawed, mad at myself for not sticking to the original plan, but in the end, I knew it needed to happen.
This final edit has been painstakingly slow, and I’ll admit that I’m picking this thing apart waaaaay more than I should be. Second-guessing every little detail has become second nature to me. The moment when you spend LITERALLY six hours trying to decide whether or not a list of somethings should be capitalized or not is the moment you realize things have spiraled out of control and you need to step back. (I walked away, did a twitter poll, asked my trusted friend, and finally came up with an answer. It was to NOT capitalize.)
After this final edit and format is finished, I still have to research my list of agents and cut-and-polish my query letter–which will then be torn apart and put back together again to tailor it to each agent’s specs.
While I’m disappointed in myself for amending the deadline, at least I can say I gave it a try, and was a big enough lady to know when I needed to surrender…for now. I was running out of time, and I didn’t want to send anything that wasn’t completely ready just for the sake of sending it by self-imposed deadline.
Off to edit chapter nine of 38 (plus two interludes and an epilogue), and begin the new countdown to query.
That’s the date that I have to send ONE LETTER by. If another letter doesn’t leave by November, that’s ok. Will I actually make said deadline? We’ll see. If I don’t, I won’t beat myself up over it. After all, it’s a self-imposed deadline. I don’t want to send a letter just to send it, especially if I’m not ready with one or more of the components.
I have finished formatting my manuscript for query–side note: that was one of the most stressful things I have ever done. Putting headers in on MS Word, anyone? It’s a wonder I still have hair left. Today I began the final readthrough before I put my manuscript aside and fight the urge to mess with it any more. After that, I need to research my list of 43 agents/agencies for exact info on what they want in query.
I think I might be insane for trying to make this deadline.
I can honestly admit that this query process absolutely terrifies me. I know rejection is a real–and expected–thing. I’m prepared for that. What’s throwing me is the opposite: what if I get accepted? What then? Contracts. Compromises. Publisher’s deadlines.
That last one scares me the most. I wouldn’t say I’m a turtle writer, but there are times during the year (summer vacation, for the most part) where I get little to no writing done. My son is home, and before I’m a writer, I’m Mom…and he gets my attention from June to September. It has taken me a little less than two years from first sentence written to cut-and-polished manuscript. That’s a long time. That’s four drafts, countless edits, and eight weeks of sitting on my hands waiting for test reader feedback to return. I’m really worried that if I get picked up, a publisher will want the second and third books to be totally completed much quicker. It’s just not something I think I can do–and have the end result be what I need it to be. The other two books in the trilogy are heavily outlined, but I still don’t think I could ever crank one out in a year-ish.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. I have to get picked up first!
So, here’s to all of us who are terrified of querying, spend weeks agonizing over their letters (starting to do that here), and who (hopefully) eventually see success in their adventures.