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Empathy for the Unpublished Writer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.

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Quotes to Consider

"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, Either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing." ~Benjamin Franklin

"Well behaved women rarely make history."~Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”~William G.T. Shedd (1820-1894), theologian, teacher, pastor

"It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something." ~Franklin D Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd U.S. president

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), essayist, poet, philosopher

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~Mark Twain

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
~ Wayne Gretzky