Monday, June 18, 2012

To Query or Not to Query

Since my Beta Readers have (for the most part) read my story the feedback is slowly coming in on my most recent draft. Every time someone mentions reading or finishing or even enjoying my book, I get this queasy feeling and struggle to make eye contact. I keep wondering if it's possible to have an illustrious writing career where no one has to read your work. I wish I was joking. Still I'm easing up to the idea that folks are reading my book. And they claim to want more! They're so sweet. While they beg me for spoilers about a potential sequel, not all the questions are on the novel's content. One thing being asked, is if I will try to get it published. And that, as my writer friends know, is a loaded question.

And wrapped up in that one little voiced curiosity are many other questions:

Do I think it's good enough to be published?

Do I think I could find an agent? 

Is this a book I want to be known for?
If I edit it again, it might be. 

Will anyone want to read it?

Do I have the nerves of steel necessary to handle rejections and professional critiques from agents, editors and publishing houses?

Will I break down in Barnes & Noble because nobody is jumping to publish my book when I see the huge Fifty Shades of Grey display?

 Oh, and I'm terrified at the thought of contacting agents.

The thing is, while writing and editing it, I had confidence. I believed it was a story worth telling and I felt-if I got it right-it would be worthy of publication. I don't think I could have spent so long on it if I didn't.

Now I'm working on a new project and I feel more confident. This could be the one. But isn't that how I felt before? Maybe I'm growing as a writer and this is all normal, though the little doubtful voice in my head wonders if I'm like Charlie Brown and every time I convince myself this is it, I'm going to get it right and kick that ball, I'm wrong.


Only there is no one playing Lucy in my analogy. I'm my own Lucy. Someday when I do send out query letters, and submission to editors there will be many faces to Lucy. There will be a lot of disappointment and maybe it's fear of the inevitable rejections that's keeping me from answering with a definitive and hopeful, "Yes, I will try to publish."

Still, you don't want to query before your book and you are both ready. Hesitation isn't necessarily a bad thing but I wonder, am I being realistic or just lacking confidence? Maybe it's like falling in love, once you finally experience it, you have no doubts. The doubt is proof that it's not right.

It's tough. I've heard writers claim to never feel done, never feel completely confident in their work. It could always be better in their minds. Is that what I'm feeling? How do you know the difference anyway?

I see you shrugging.

1 comment:

  1. I wish I'd read this sooner (I was out of the country for the entire month of June) so I could have offered you my two cents. First off, I can relate to all these things, so it's not just you. After months of partials and fulls, I ultimately decided to pull Nocturne (now Memento Mori, or MM) out of submissions for a while and shelve it. Ironically, a few people have asked to beta read it recently, which makes me feel queasy like you described in the first paragraph. Like any other project that I've finished and queried, I had the same doubts and questions like you have. (So unfortunately, no, it doesn't get easier with each MS you write/ least, it didn't for me). That being said, I'm also working on a new project now (thus is the life of a writer, I suppose) and have the same hopes/fears/doubts/questions about it like you have. You are totally right about us writers having to be our own Lucies (nice metaphor, by the way!) and I can definitely relate to your hesitation. I wish I could tell you give you definite answers and not just be rambling on like I feel like I'm doing but I unfortunately can't because I'm basically in the same situation as you right now. So, I guess all I can offer is this: You're not alone and if you feel like you need to talk to someone about the writing world or just need moral support in general, my inbox is always open. One of the things I've learned in this process is the invaluableness of having a "traveling companion" in the journey of writing/publication (ie: just having someone to talk to, whether it be for encouragement or to complain about things like...oh, I don't know...Fifty Shades of Grey >_>). Good luck on your new project and sorry if I came across as preachy or anything like that. (I still haven't fixed my wordiness, as you probably can tell.)