Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mandy's Chicken & Waffles

No, it is not a dinner order. It's a confession.

I'm a chicken.

I have been sitting on my manuscript (not literally as it's on my computer and I don't have the kind of cash I would need to replace a bunch of destroyed laptops) for months ... and months.

Notes from one of my most trusted friends who happens to read for a living (that's a massive over simplification of her job, but still it sounds pretty sweet) came back and I feel confident that what I have is ready to be seen by other professionals. So, there it is. My manuscript is as ready as I can make it without agent or editor. Years of work is compacted into 250+ pdf pages. Ah, doesn't that feel good?

No! It feels terrifying.

I have to show this to people!

People are going to judge it!


The 2014 Guide to Literary Agents is in hand. The list of agents looking for Commercial Women's Fiction (Not Chick-Lit. Now way. No how. Not me. Chick-Lit is a bad phrase to agents.) is compiled. My query letter is written, proofread, and proofread again. And still, I can't hit the "send" button.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I did submit to one agent last June. I met said agent at the Spring Atlanta Writers Conference and she was very nice and requested pages; not the full manuscript, just pages. I guess that should have been my first clue. Since I'm still trying to get the nerve to query, I'm sure you've rightly guessed that I wast rejected. It was firm "no", but not a mean one. It wasn't a "You suck at life. Please stop abusing literature" kind of a rejection. It was a "not for me" rejection, and still it crushed me.

It was after that rejection that I asked my aforementioned friend to take a look at the novel. I wish I had done that before submitting to the first agent, because she gave me some valuable feedback and caught a bunch of very embarrassing typos. But since those notes came back and those changes have been made, I have started and deleted at least 10 query emails. When it comes time to send the email, I spaz-out and find some (often ridiculous) reason to walk away before sending. I have never been so active on Facebook as I have been while trying to query.

I know the seasoned writers of the world think nothing of a rejection. It is not pessimistic to believe that there will be more rejections in the future. That's just writing.

Still, it is so scary.

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