I stared at my computer today for several hours. Just staring at a sentence, maybe two. I have started the query process once more.
For those of you who don’t know, to have a book published (not self-published), one must attain an agent. To do so, one must query the agent as in write letters saying “Hey! I like you! Do you like me too? Check yes or no.”
Querying stops my heart. I read and re-read every word, every letter (no pun intended). I try to have a relaxed voice. But I am an English teacher and this is a professional letter which means I must have a formal voice. But query letters aren’t necessarily formal. They’re supposed to have my voice. But these are being sent to people I don’t know and I don’t want to sound awkward which means I should be formal which is awkward because they’re supposed to have my voice and my voice isn’t formal.
I’m beating my head into the wall.
I’ve queried two agents so far. No response. Nothing. Nada. Not a thing. I find this a bit disheartening. But I have to keep on trying. I have to keep on doing this because I love my novel and I think I have something good here.
But it’s hard. I want to consider my novel a work of literary fiction, but I don’t know that it is literary fiction because it’s not published and the people who would make that judgment call are agents who haven’t read my entire novel yet.
Please, dear agents, read my novel. Give me a chance. I’ll be a good writer. I’ll edit to your heart’s content. I’ll listen to you and won’t argue too much. I’ll take your advice and your criticism and I’ll listen. I’m a good listener.
I’ve prayed about this. Oh how I’ve prayed. I’ve offered this up on the alter (I’m not being silly here) and just prayed and hoped and prayed some more.
I queried three agents today. I’m hoping for a “well, let me take a peek” at least. A digital nod towards my existence. I pray for a yes. I don’t say no to myself. I don’t say anything to myself. But I feel nervous and a wee bit discouraged because I really want this and I’m not used to wanting something this bad and then having it fall in my lap.
A lovely friend of mine who is in my writer’s group reminded me that I must stop being self-defeating. But it’s easier to be self-defeating because so long as I am negating myself I don’t inspire hope which means the rejection hurts less.
But I’m tired of being self-defeating. I wrote a novel. And I think it’s good and other people might like it as well. I don’t know that it’ll hit mega charts and mega millions. I just want to walk into a book store and see my book, my novel on the shelf. Even if it’s the clearance shelf.
A girl can dream, right?
So agent, if you’re out there and you’re looking for something to read and represent, well here I am. My novel’s Polishing the Bones and it’s 73,000 words and it’s a work of fiction. I pretend that it’s literary fiction. My editor whom I dearly love and trust says maybe it’s contemporary fiction or maybe it’s women’s fiction or maybe it’s literary fiction.
I’ll let you decide.
And my novel is about a young woman who when she was twelve was one of the last people to see a girl before she disappears. And, no, it’s not a murder mystery. It’s about choices and the terrible consequences which can be yielded from choices. Because my character stays silent and allows guilt to harvest her cousin’s soul. And then she stays silent even more because she’s trapped and can’t find a way to reconciliation. And then it’s too late for even that to happen.
Please, dear agent, let me know if you’re interested. Please, please, please. With sugar on top.