hopes

All posts tagged hopes

One year, four drafts, and some queries.

Published December 6, 2017 by authorbebedora

It’s been one year since I finished my first draft.

I didn’t even realize it until Facebook reminded me, to be  honest.  I’ll chalk that up to being so engrossed in querying and writing the second book.  But more likely, it was because I was building a settlement on Fallout4.  Priorities, I know.

When I wrote that last sentence last year, I thought I knew what was in store for me.  While I wasn’t wrong in my assumptions, some things certainly didn’t happen the way I envisioned.  Some for the better, some not-so-much.

What followed that last line was months of revisions, revisions again, and REVISIONS AGAIN.  Test readers.  Incredible feedback.  Worry.  Anxiety.  Countless hours of hard work and an occasional tantrum.  And that was just getting the final draft ready.

My test readers were wonderful.  The feedback I received was more incredible than I could have ever dreamed of.  With their suggestions and opinions, along with those of my right-hand-man, husband/editor, I finally finished the fourth (and final) draft of my manuscript.

Then…came the tantrums.  The hair-pulling.  The head-desking.  SO MUCH SWEARING.  I thought the writing part was the hardest part.  I was wrong.  I thought the query letter-writing was going to be scary and difficult.  Again, wrong.

I can honestly say now, after spending months doing it, that writing a synopsis for agents is the single-most awful thing I have ever experienced during this whole novel-writing process.  Never in my life have I been so frustrated, so ready to throw in the towel.  Cramming almost 170-thousand words worth of story into a synopsis was downright torture.

Synopses come in all shapes and sizes, and each and every one of them nearly caused me to smash my laptop.  I started with what would become my “long” synopsis.  It topped out just under five pages.  Not many agents want one that long, but it was a place to start.  And let me tell you, it was bare bones.  It was so frustrating to have to get every important plot point in without making it too long.

Then came the “short.”  If I didn’t already have short hair, I would have pulled any long locks out over this one.  Condensing my five-page synopsis into two was downright impossible.  I chopped.  I slashed.  I cried a few times.  I PLAYED A LOT OF FALLOUT TO EASE MY VIOLENT RAGE.  When I was finished, husband/editor and I agreed that it was the absolute shortest it could possibly be without sacrificing any more plot–which I already had done.  It pained me to see my story smashed into *shhhh* two-and-a-quarter pages.  I literally could not cut anything else, or I risked not being able to tell an already truncated story properly.  Do I wish I could make it longer?  Hell yes.  Can I?  Not really.  So, I made peace with my short synopsis and called it finished.

We won’t speak of the agent who wanted a 2-paragraph synopsis.  I didn’t even try.  I did, however, swear a lot at the thought of attempting such a feat.  It took me months to get it down to just over two pages.  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that two paragraphs was never, EVER going to happen.

After those dastardly pages were written, I focused on the letters.  They were, surprisingly, not as intimidating as I had expected.  Many months before, I had drafted a rough template and it was very helpful in crafting the final, personalized letters.  My research took me a few weeks, and afterwards I was armed with a long list of potential agents.  My original deadline for first letter wasn’t achievable at the time, but after I extended it two weeks, I made it with a day to spare.  The rest of the letters went out within a month.

I’m done sending them now, and have been waiting.

And waiting.

…and waiting.

So far, there have been no takers.  As of today, I have twenty-three rejections.  And you know what?  I’m one-hundred percent okay with it.  Not bummed in the least.  Not discouraged.  Not willing to give up.  It only takes one “YES.”

But what if that “YES” doesn’t come?

I’m okay with that, too.  Self-publishing is always an option.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified of landing an agent.  I’m scared of what an outside editor may want to do with my book.  I’m scared of being under possible deadline for the second and third volumes.  I’m scared of losing control over my pride and joy.  Self-publishing would give me absolute control over everything–but also leave me with an incredible burden.

I’d have to do all my own marketing.  Make a website.  Set up sales.  If I use Amazon, they at least cover me with a nice link and easy ordering.  (But they also take a big chunk as commission.)  I’d have to shell out money for art, a cover, marketing materials if I want to hawk my book locally and at conventions.  But…I’d be in control of everything.

Maybe it’s my personal Kobayashi Maru.

If I get an agent, I lose control over a lot of things.  If I self-publish, I open myself up to a whole host of new trials and potential problems.

So, for now, I wait.  When all the rejections have come in, or the deadlines for such have passed and I don’t have any bites, then I think on the next step.  I’m trying not to get too ahead of myself, (even though it’s fucking hard).

Book Two is very much underway and plugging along nicely.  Some characters are cooperating, some are not.  I’ve had a lot of days where I’m pissed at certain someones and ignore their chapters to work with those who are willing to be written.  I have absolutely no timetable on completion of the first draft.  Sometime next year would be ideal, but we’ll see how the summer goes with my louder-than-loud, clingy child!

2018 is almost upon us.  Will it be the year I get an agent?  Will it be the year a publisher prints my book?  Will it be the year where I self-publish?  Who knows?  Until then, I keep on charging forward.  One way or another, I will see my book in print, on my bookshelves.

And it’ll be so cool.

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Query’s Gettin’ Close!

Published September 20, 2017 by authorbebedora

My self-imposed query deadline is October 1st.

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.

Did I mention I’m terrified?

A New Year…

Published January 1, 2017 by authorbebedora

2016 sucked ass, plain and simple.

Yes, a few good things happened like me finishing my first draft, my brother getting  married and friends having babies, but other than that, it sucked gargantuan, nasty donkey balls.

Some things happened in the public eye, like he-who-isn’t-worth-my-breath being elected to run our nation and way more beloved celebrities being taken than should have been allowed by the Universe.  There was hatred, terror attacks, and election year that belonged in the circus or on the cover of a satire magazine rather than on the front pages and news channels.

Some things also happened in my private life, and those who know about it know about it, and those who don’t, don’t.  Life happens, and you deal with it as it comes at you. Some times you do really well and feel like an adult afterwards, and sometimes no matter how hard you try, shit just doesn’t go your way and you say, “Fuck it, I don’t have time for drama.”

So now what?  2017 should be better, right?  RIGHT?

We can only hope.  The political situation in our nation is terrifying at best, but there’s nothing we can do about it now.  My wish for 2017 is that those in power stop being whiny toddlers and cease their stupid twitter tirades about nonsense, and begin acting like the elected officials they are.  Look at the big picture in front of you and run our own country (and not into the ground, mind you), not help other people better their own nations for your personal gain. (I’m looking at you, Cheeto.)  Let’s hope that 2017 is kind to the people we love, and not just the celebrities that hold special places in our hearts.  Let’s hope that the world becomes a safer place for everyone, and that people learn to be more tolerant of others.  Just because someone doesn’t belong to your religion or you don’t happen to agree with their lifestyles doesn’t give you the right to wage war, both physical and psychological, on them.  In plain terms, don’t be a dick this year.

As for little old me, I’m confident 2017 will see my first novel published.  I’m halfway done with my complete edit, and when that’s finished I’ll implement my changes and send it both my trusted editor and my husband.  When those come back, I’ll make the necessary additions once more and craft a final manuscript.  Then comes the query letters, the waiting and more than likely, the rejection letters.  But, there’s gotta be an agent out there somewhere that’ll like what I’ve created and want to publish it.

I’m not going to let last year’s awfulness stand in the way of what could be a great new year.  Yes, there are a lot of things impending in 2017 that are scary, uncertain and downright terrifying to a lot of people, me included.  But at the end of the day, all we can do is carry on.

Here’s to 2017.