Submitted

 

So I have officially submitted my first few query letters. The feeling is that of exhaustive anticipation. Especially since some of the query letters were sent to agents who are known for quick and speedy replies (most of them rejections). Still, if I’m going to get rejected, I’d rather have it done quickly.

The thing I mainly wanted to discuss was why I wanted to query. As I said in the last post, I could not go on tinkering with my manuscript. It is a strong one, but I understand that with an editor it could be stronger. The issue is, I need an editor. I need someone who will read some variation on a phrase and tell me “yes, this minor tweak makes this section stronger.” etc. I feel like that is the signal that it is time to start querying. I can’t really look at my novel for very long, as I am sick of tinkering with it. Now, if some agent and editor want me, I’ll be tinker all they want! But, I need to get that agent/editor first.

Thankfully, I have been blessed by an abundance of extra contract work this week. In addition, I interviewed for a temp agency who is hoping to place people with title examination experience. So there are things out on the horizon that I am hopeful about.

While I like my query letter, I really do feel I am better at pitching my novel in person. I wish I could do what the character Jo does in “Little Women.” I enjoy the musical version of that portion the best. Click here to hear it!

No Substitution

So a good friend of mine recently read my heavily revised first chapter and the cover letter I hope to send out.  She seemed genuinely pleased by my writing, and made some excellent notes on the manuscript pages. However, before we could talk about the chapter, she first wanted to talk about the cover letter. At the bottom of her marked up copy she wrote:

“This is too formal, too resume-y. Be Richard in it! He [meaning the agent] can’t hear you in this.”

I knew what she meant, but I explained there was a lot of pressure for me on the cover letters. Since my book features LGBT characters, and is not YA, a lot of the decent book agents out there have no interest in it. It’s a great story, but most agents want to be in love with the book. I understand this, it makes it easy for them to sell it, so my friend wanted me to explain who would love me book. Fortunately, she didn’t just ask this question. Rather, while sitting in an abandoned bar near the train station she pulled out a survey she had prepared, and interviewed me about my book.

The questions were pretty vague,  but I liked the exercise of being interviewed about my book. I treated it like she was a potential agent, and so I pitched her my book. What is clear to me is that I am better at pitching in person. It’s probably because I’m an actor, so it is super easy for me to show someone how excited I am about my book.

I’ve taken several days to really think about it, and I think she is very right. My cover letter is accurate, but not thrilling. So now I am going to revise it, so that any agent will hear me in it.

In addition, I’ve decided that after I tinker a bit more with the first chapter, it is time for me to just start querying. When it has gotten to the point that I can’t tell whether my original or new material is better, I think it means I am finally ready to submit. I’d need to work with an editor to take it to the next level. If no agent wants me, I can hire one, and then self-publish. Hopefully, someone will want it though!

Noting a manuscript

So I managed to go all the way through my printed manuscript and make notes. I was most pleased by how engaged I was during the ending. Even though I basically remembered how it went, I was surprised by how I couldn’t put it down. It certainly is the best writing in the novel. The issues I spotted were pretty minor, but I am glad I decided to hold off on shopping it. It certainly will be ready once I’ve gone through and corrected all of the issues I found.

I hope to get some of that done this weekend. I have to say, reducing my time with my manuscript is hard on me personally. Especially after reading through it again. However, I do think it is the right decision.

Working on the Weekend

This weekend was the first weekend where I worked on my novel.  Before this, I had usually used weekends to spend time with BHE, and worked on my novel during the week. Since I  am committed to really focusing on job hunting Monday – Friday from 9-5 I had to make this switch.

Working my novel with BHE around was easier than I thought, but this weekend was particularly lazy for us. The heat outside was really bad, especially since I run hot anyway, so I spent most of the weekend in either or living room or bedroom, as those are the areas that are cooled by our two window units. Having come back from AR so recently, I really wished we had central AC.

I read about 200 pages in total. I have about 50 pages left to review, which I plan to do on my evenings. As I’m not certain I can wait till the weekend to get that done.

As I’ve said, the first part of the book is rough. REALLY rough. Rougher than it should be. However, I feel good about the progress I’ve made. I am confident that the notes I put on the physical copy will help me find a way to bring the beginning up to par with a very dynamic middle and end.