I know there are a lot of people out there who write about their successes. It’s a popular thing to do in this social media age – everything is awesome! I did this big thing! I’m getting married! Babies! Promotions! Moving!
Today, we are going to talk about persistence in the face of failure. That is, failure while querying King Callie. Which is not the worst kind of failure, because the worst kind of failure either ends up with you out on your own with no money, in a gutter somewhere or just a sad, horrible mess because everything has gone wrong. When you put it in perspective, querying a book and getting turned down isn’t half as bad. It just sucks.
So I’ve made mistakes along the way while querying. First off – some of the agents I queried with smaller samples, I sent the prologue instead of the first chapter. Difference? It sets the tone for the book, but it doesn’t feature the main character. Not a good move.
Second off, I didn’t send them all out at once. I sent out a batch to six agents I’d met over the summer, who requested a partial when I was ready to send it. Then I sent out a second batch, to bring the total up to 17. I’m sending out another batch of 17 over the next week, which will bring it up to 34. I know I’ve written the best book I can, but that’s the hard part. I’ve gotten eight passes so far. Reactions have ranged from “Not interested” to “Not my type of Fantasy”, to “Read too many of these lately” to “Didn’t grab me the way I hoped it would”.
The most encouraging one was “not a perfect fit for me”. I know it’s easy to say “You gotta stay positive”, and it’s easier still to get stuck in the negative, so I’m trying not to dwell on “oh god, I’ve written a book nobody wants right now”, which is a terrible feeling that my mind distills to “I’ve written a book nobody wants”.
That is what I want to discuss, because it just plain sucks. I know not all the queries are in, but that’s where I’m at. And I’ll keep going after this – I have options. I’ve got a beautifully done piece of artwork of Callie that’ll be a cover, if I need to self-publish. I’ve got other books in the pipeline. It’s just a bumpy road I’m on right now, it’s a little disheartening, and I hope I don’t come to the end of it with 34 passes.
It wouldn’t be so bad if I sucked. Because then I’d know I wasn’t up to snuff. But Callie is a damn good book, and I know I’ve seen worse books on shelves – probably a false equivalency, since they got picked up either because of a change in a market, or an agent’s preferences. There’s a lot of reasons why Callie hasn’t found a champion yet. And there are still 26 agents to reply, or to query. So I’ve got to keep the faith, but like I said, if it comes to the worst, I’m prepared.
Just means I’ll self-publish three books in 2015 instead of just two.