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!
I AM FREAKING THE HELL OUT!!!!
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.