Thursday, July 12, 2012

Empathy for the Unpublished Writer

I know I've been very quiet, but I've been working hard. It seems irrelevant to put my word count up on my blog as I used to, because this is something that is meant to inspire me, but could irritate those who are in the doldrums with their own work. So nothing about the new book. Absolutely nothing.

My agent is due to check in with me any day. I am not feeling very optimistic right now, as it's been a long time since she sounded really gung-ho about my book's prospects. So, in the interim, pragmatist that I am, I've started querying agents about my other books, not the one that's presently spoken for. Figured that if I got an offer, I could then decide who I go with.

And what a wild ride it is. I'd completely forgotten the amount of work involved in querying.  At least now I have the luxury of deciding which book might suit which agent, and it's rather an enjoyable experience, despite the usual rejections.

Speaking of rejections, does it hurt for an agent to set up a nice, friendly, personal-looking form letter that almost uplifts us? I find the "Not for us, thanks." response totally degrading. Are we not worth just a little bit extra for all the research we do -- all those lovely letters we compose directed to their special preferences, the carefully submitted synopsis and chapters in the body of the email, or as attachments in Word, or submitted via their online forms, no synopsis because they're evil, letter query only, or five pages, ten pages, one chapter, fifty pages, whatever? I am going a little mad here, you'll see... And all of this AFTER we've written the best damned book we were capable of, perfectly proofed, edited again and again, and formatted within an inch of its life.

So (takes deep breath) I sympathize with all of you in this rocky boat. It takes huge courage to decide we are ready to put our work out there. It takes a massive amount of faith and belief in ourselves. I salute all of you for hanging in.

But when we rush to our computers every morning to see what the overnight mail has brought us, it would be so nice, assuming there is yet another rejection, for it to be worded kindly, with empathy. "Not for us, thanks." is like a slap in the face.

Good job we all have thick skin (don't we?) and know we are worthy of far, far more. It will come!

Love you.


Melissa Marsh said...

I posted a long comment last night and stupid blogger ate it! GAH.

Anyway, Fran, I'm glad to see you popping by your blog. I still think of Strachan's Attic - that story really touched me, and I wonder if perhaps that shouldn't be the one that will sell first before the one your agent is currently shopping around.

Fran said...

Well, Melissa, I still weep over that one. Be interesting to see which one does get picked up first, if any...