Now that the holiday season is over and literary agents everywhere have had an opportunity to clean out their inboxes of all the trash and treasures that were sent to them over the last few weeks, I’ve run out of excuses. It’s time to start submitting The Dead and the Dying and see what happens.
I had originally planned on sending it out weeks before Christmas, had even structured my various queries with such stated, but I wanted to go back through the manuscript. Now, I want to do the same thing, but the last time I only found a few things that I wanted to change, so my reason says that it would not be of any great benefit to go through it one more time. It is funny, though, that the closer you get to submitting your manuscript, the more errors you are sure you will find in it if you just read it one more time. You are always certain that, this time, you will find that one mistake that will make the difference and get you published, that one typo that will keep you from looking like a complete idiot.
I’m fighting hard to resist such temptation. It would be easy to just sit on my novel and never let it see the light of day. It is rather like being a parent and fighting the desire to keep your children bottled up so they never have to experience the pain we went through as children and young adults. Still, how do our children grow unless they make their own mistakes and learn from them. In parenting, I’m all for allowing my kids to screw up occasionally, so long as it is something that can be fixed. I can’t prevent all the pain they will have, nor do I want to, really. If I had lived my early life in a bubble, I certainly wouldn’t have the tenacity to finish a novel and send it out, risking rejection and ridicule. Pain, a little bit at least, is good for the soul.
And so, later today (damn these early morning posts), I will begin the long, hard road of submitting my novel. I have no illusions that it’s as good as it could be, but like a child ready to go off to college, I’ve taken it about as far as I can at this point. In the day job, it is easy for me to pass over something wrong with my store because I see it everyday and it becomes part of the landscape. When a corporate entity comes in, however, they pick up on it right away and I am chagrined at how I could miss something so obviously wrong. I hope some agent wants to represent my novel so that, if nothing else, I can gain another perspective on what works and what doesn’t in my writing.
My spreadsheet is all prepared with prospective agents and their contact information, all gleaned from agentquery.com, Writer’s Market, and other sources. I am a frequent reader of the agents on my lists who maintain blogs and I plan on using what I’ve learned from that endeavor in my queries–all personalized to each agent, of course.
I’ve studied up. I’ve prepared the best I know how. Now all I can do is cut and paste and send or print and package and send. And wait. And hope. And pray. Hopefully, that and a pretty good book will be enough to get me published.
Meanwhile, work on the new book stands thusly: