How Did I Get Here After Shelving the Book?!

While I sit here hoping none of my politicians or their campaign managers call me, I thought I’d go in to a bit more detail about Tuesday shocker.

Way back in July I thought it’d be a good idea to try being a novelist.  I had a couple of novels on my computer, and I jumped right in to trying to figure out query letter writing (which you can read about here, here, and here), finding an agent (here, here, here, and an entire category on the right sidebar of the blog), and trying to write a summary.  Then I jumped in to some online communities for authors.  I began sending out the query letter and getting rejections.  So, I did as everyone suggested and tried revising the query letter.  More than once, in fact.  And that’s when I read on a few sites that if your query letter(s) doesn’t get a nibble in the first 12 agents, your query letter is horrible.

That’s also when I read that most family sagas are between 75,000 and 80,000 words.  My first novel, THE EARLY YEARS, is slightly over 160,000 words.  Little difference.  My query letter broke all the rules.  I started with a paragraph full of questions.  It was a bit wordy.  (Hello, we are talking about me here.  I am wordy.)  Needless to say, after all of this, um, rejection, I was less than happy.  I decided to do more than shelve THE EARLY YEARS.  I pretty much destroyed the book.  I cut it up in to three sections and began to come up with a different approach.  Needless to say, I was not quite sure what to do with the first book.  So, I shelved the books and decided they’d be a prequel.

I decided to concentrate on SWEET SIXTEEN.  (Aka, the previous second novel in the series.)  I was trying to write a query letter (as evident a few weeks back on this very blog) when politics kicked up to the point writing a query letter was not gonna happen.  (Y’all remember that lovely little post on my query letter and GOTV phone script becoming one nice little document, don’t ya?)  For the sake of my sanity I decided to leave the writing off on the side until after the election.  As we all know, that lasted until last Saturday.

Anywho, Saturday and Sunday I wrote 5,000 words.  Monday I got rid of about 2,000 of those words in a rewrite, and got the news I had lost another contest.  Tuesday I get this email out of the blue to send the first 50 pages.  And we all know the response.  Tuesday Night I remembered why being a GOTV coordinator means I feel like I am underappreciated.  Something about everyone at the office (minus Su and Diane) going “Whatever, can you get me the likelihood so-and-so will win in House District such-and-such?”  (Sure, right after I realize that you only need me for my intelligence.)

Wednesday had me going “Wait, that agency?  Didn’t I send them that query back in July?  And doesn’t their website say two weeks?  Not three months?  Okay, me confused.  That query letter was horrible.  Awful.  Pathetic.  Like everyone ripped me over that query letter.  And they want a sample of my writing?  Check out the website to see if they requested one.  Nope, no request for a sample to be sent.  Hum?  Can I hope they will look past the wordiness of the first 50 pages and ask for the rest of the book? (Fingers crossed!)  Did I write the email response right?  Now I’m really nervous.  This is as bad as sending out the first few query letters.  No one warned me that an agency might actually look past a bad query letter.”

Oh, and a whole bunch of nerves every single time my cell phone chirped to let me know I had an email.  I think I almost had a heart attack yesterday.  No request for a full, or rejection.  I hear tell it is usually 3 months to six months on a partial request before you hear back.  I’m gonna just try to forget that some agent somewhere is finally reading my writing.  After all, I can’t spend a few months being nervous every single time I get an email.  Or can I?  And can I carry my laptop and my 3G card all over creation waiting for that email?  (Thinking positive here, Sherri.  I need to email the full manuscript as soon as I get the request, right?)

I’ll just be over here in the American West having a heart attack while some agent back East decides if he likes the partial.

-Amanda Nicole

PS: I was gonna put up my losing short story this week, but something changed my plans to post the story yesterday.  I think I got an email or something.  I’ll post it later.



2 thoughts on “How Did I Get Here After Shelving the Book?!

  1. G’morning Amanda….wow 6 months waiting afting giving that agent your first 50 would be nerve recking to say the least!

    Try this, everytime you feel yourself getting worried, and you know you will, and start entertaining negative “oh it’s not going to be good enough” thoughts, interject with visions of seeing your book on the store shelf, picture how it will look, see your name blaring in bright magical letters that just pop off the cover. Imagine the letter that comes from the agent telling you how wonderful your writing is…..Imagine thousands of people smiling as they read your book……

    I feel good things for you Amanda….


    • I know. That’s an awful long time to wait. I think I’ll go ahead and query SWEET SIXTEEN while I’m waiting to hear back on THE EARLY YEARS. Let’s see how long it is before I forget that an agent has my partial.

      I keep trying to be hopeful. Every now and then I get the “this isn’t good enough” thought, but I have decided that I shouldn’t listen to how to properly write a query letter anymore. Broke the rules, but I got a partial request. Every single “How to Write a Query” book is full of rules, but the successful query letters tend to break a dozen or so rules. So, rules are going out the door. Just not the nerves.

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