So, I'm back to querying. I'm one of those optimistic, naive dreamers who once believed that when you got a book deal, you never had to prove your work to anyone again. No more queries (the worst, most stressful self pitch in the world), no more waiting games as you anticipate a response from a literary agency (or, more commonly, the lack of a response... sad face), and no more having to write story synopses (the bane of any writer's existence).
Those things are hard to write, y'all.
Yet here I am again, no literary agents clamoring to represent me, no publishing companies eager to get a hold of my latest work. On top of that, even if I did have an agent, I would still have to basically query every time I had something new to publish. Until I'm at Stephen King level awesomeness, I'm stuck proving my writing chops for a long time, if I so desire any sort of successful career.
And oh, how I do.
I spent three weeks crafting what I feel is the perfect synopsis for my YA novel, We Are Eternal. Three. Weeks. And the fact that it still won't be up to par if the person/agency I pitch it to isn't right for my project kills me. This is a subjective business, and these literary professionals know exactly what they want. Even if your story is good, if they don't want it, you're not getting represented.
And what's so important about getting representation as an author, anyway? My novel was published by a small company without the aid of a literary agent, and I'll be forever grateful that company gave me my first step into the writing world. Seeing my book in print, available for order online, and on the shelf at the library where I work was thrilling for me back in August of 2018. For the first time, I felt like a "writer," not just that I was writing.
As proud as I am of this accomplishment, it is a mere stepping stone toward a larger goal, which has always been to get representation. When I finally finished my novel in 2017 and started shopping it around, however, I quickly realized that when you have no prior major writing credits, no connections with anyone in publishing, and a small-town address, your odds of getting noticed by a large agency
...are certainly not in your favor.
But I had a backup plan: get a small company to publish me. Boom -- writing credits. (Wow, I'm really revealing all the secrets of the trade, here. In a few years, this blog will be a goldmine for aspiring writers.) It wasn't necessarily the worst route to take. The only catch was that finding a literary agent to represent an already published work is next to impossible. (But they're out there, and I think I found one.)
For the record, I have at least 20 other novel ideas, one completed first draft of a novel, one half-completed first draft of another novel, and outlines for two other novels (one YA, one adult). So why am I still pursuing this one? Why not let it be my first published effort and use that momentum to try to get an agent to represent my next novel? That's a good question with a simple answer: I believe in We Are Eternal.
I believe in its potential now, today, in this current market. I believe it can get republished by a larger company now and reach a broader teen audience. I believe this is my first real, solid work, and I can just see its shiny, new, updated cover, with Harper Teen or Random House emblazoned along its spine. I can even see it as a movie in the near future (but what author doesn't believe in movie potential for their story?).
Of course, it doesn't really matter what I believe, does it? If I do everything right in my latest query and it doesn't pan out... I mean, that's the business. Since completing my first novel way back in 2010 (that title has been shelved for a later date -- I might share snippets of it here soon because it's kind of awesome in a first-completed-novel kind of way), I've become very familiar with the ways of the publishing world. The rejections heaped upon you before making any sort of headway, the one-step-forward-two-steps-back-ness, it's all par for the course. If this query doesn't work out, I can always hope We Are Eternal will get republished later and pursue my next work.
The end goal is representation, making writing a career, adding "novelist" to my resume right above "library assistant" and "customer service representative" and "retail sales associate" and "clerical worker" and never adding another profession above it.