Couldn't talk about this for a couple of weeks. Well, I could, but it would not have been appropriate. I wrote a quickie synopsis of what's involved in Getting Your Book Published on my Fans Of Mama Pajama Tells A Story group on Facebook:
1. write the damn thing
2. revise the living poop outta it
3. send it to your Beta readers (oh yes, I am talking fancy writer-speak. Impressed?)
4. get it back from the Betas and revise all over again
5. have a little break down. or two. three is a nice round number.
6. (here comes the fun part)
7. begin to query agents. LOTS of theories on this, if you're an unpublished writer with not a lot of writing credits, maybe it's best to start querying young, hungry, new agents, or what the heck you can start at the top with NYC agencies. you send a query (type of book, word count, synopsis, your writing bio, first 6 - 10 pages).
8. expect the rejections to come in at 4 - 6 weeks post query
9. IF IF IF IF an agent likes your query they MIGHT MIGHT MIGHT request your full manuscript.
10. and then say "No thanks" and you start all over again
My excitement came a couple of weeks ago. Foolishly (and not living up to my name) I queried two agents. BIG time NYC agents. Presidents of the agencies, not some hot to trot brand new need some clients young 'uns. Nope. And here's the dorky part. I knew my book wasn't ready. But I queried. I figured I'd get rejected, but maybe the big shots would have suggestions for my query.
I've read that THREE out of 10,000 queries end up with a request for a full manuscript. One out of 80,000 ends up published.
So, I figured, what the heck.
And the day after I emailed my query, I got a reply: they wanted my full manuscript.
Oh. My. God.
I'll skip the part where I was at lunch at work when I checked my email and saw the request for my manuscript and started to scream and cry and called Bill who thought I had accidentally killed someone and said right away, "We'll get through this, Patience, no matter what it is," (oh how I love him), and I finally got out the part about them wanting the manuscript, and then he started to scream and cry.
Oh my God, they wanted my manuscript!
And I knew it wasn't ready.
My name is Patience. The name of this (my) blog is Patience-please. Every time someone says my name I get a reminder: patience, patience, PATIENCE.
I worked for six hours on the manuscript the next day and then emailed it to the fancy president of the fancy literary agency. Knowing it wasn't ready.
For two weeks I didn't get a rejection. I knew one was coming; of course one was coming. You've no doubt heard of the SIXTY rejections over the THREE AND A HALF YEARS of revising of the NYT best seller The Help. I couldn't sleep. In my little heart of hearts a silly voice would sing, "They're thinking of what a great movie it would make!" I had fantasies about the book tour in my (imaginary) motor home with Bill and all of the dogs. I told Bill, "It will get rejected. I will not go into a deep depression. I will soldier on, continue to revise, and keep querying. My God! I got a request for a manuscript on my first query! It's all good!" And in my little heart of hearts that silly voice whispered, "They won't reject. They'll offer you a contract. It is this easy."
The rejection letter came yesterday, an hour before folks started to arrive for Bill's opening. It was a personal, kind, lovely letter and it even included suggestions! That is huge! The big fancy NYC agent actually read the whole manuscript, and then she took the time to write a personal note and she included feedback. HUGE.
"Bill, it has to be okay with you, and with me, if I give up on this book and live my life as a normal person. You know, go to work, play with my dogs, go to movies." We were lying in bed, after hosting a couple hundred people in the house and gallery for the show. Food and wine were served, clean was the house, spruced was the yard. Bill and Patience were pooped.
In the morning - this morning - Bill held me and said, "You won't give up."
"But it has to be okay with both of us if I do."
"Yes, but you won't."
hug your hounds