Wednesday, January 21, 2009

At Least Let us Sing Before you Boot us off the Stage!

Is it sad that I'm already ready for the weekend? I know I've only been at work for one day this week but I'm really ready for another couple of days off. I don't think that's a reflection of my job but, rather, that I actually stopped to appreciate the slowness of life this past weekend and I don't quite think I'm ready to give it up.

Still, if it were a normal week, it'd only be Tuesday rather than Wednesday so I'm going to try very hard to appreciate that fact today.

Last night, I took a look at my novels to see which one I was going to enter in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. That's the nice thing about having a pile of them; there's several to choose from. My original intention was to enter my favourite one, Rainlight, but I've since realized that chopping out over 14,000 words will not be easy nor will I be satisfied with the finished product. I'd rather keep it as is and try to shop it around. I sent out some more queries on it. Sometimes I do wonder why the agents and publishers make us bother; I get the feeling that the query letters we send are rarely actually read and digested but, instead, are skimmed but when they see we're yet unpublished, we get the badly xeroxed letter or the standard email rejection.

I'd like to believe that it is possible to get an agent to read my letter and the first ten pages I send. That's why I keep trying. I'm not bitter at the moment, just frustrated that this should be so hard when the writing is so easy. I've been told that I should go to conventions to meet agents. I would love to but given that the average entrance fee is at least $300 and I pretty much live paycheck to paycheck trying not to incur more debt, it's not as easy as just signing up for one.

That's not going to stop me though. At the very least, there's the Amazon contest. The nice thing about being a somewhat seasoned writer (even without any publishing credit) is that I have almost everything ready to go. They want a pitch this year- essentially, that boils down to the meat of a query letter. Since I'm the queen of queries, that's the easy part. I have one of the potential novel candidates already edited and ready to go. I might have the other one I'd like to try edited too. The only thing with that is I can't find my hard copy with my edits scrawled across it. I have a sneaking suspicion I loaned that to a friend before I left California but said friend isn't returning my emails or calls to confirm. I think the only thing to do is to hit the manuscript freshly and re-edit, just in case. That's not exactly torture, to spend hours with those characters.

And if I get rejected from Amazon again this year, I will try very hard not to be too depressed, too bitter or too disheartened. I will try not to be jealous of fictional characters who magically send a manuscript to an agent and voila! publishing contract.

(That just happened in that book I mentioned on Friday, The Baker's Apprentice. One of the characters happens to write a memoir/fictional novel and sends it off to an agent. The agent likes it but wants it completely rewritten. Then after the rewrite is done, the writer gets a nice-sized publishing deal.)

I'm sure that happens. However, all the writers I know, including myself, never quite get that chance to completely rewrite the manuscript to change points-of-view and structure. We just get the "thank you for submitting. Unfortunately, we do not feel we are the right agents for your work" email. For us, it's like getting to the auditions for American Idol, filling out our form and being rejected before we're even allowed to sing because we're not pretty enough for TV or we aren't wearing the right clothes.

Ok, so maybe I am a teensy bit bitter. Maybe I'd like the chance to get to 'sing for the judges' before they decide I'm not worthy. Maybe I don't want to be the girl who wears a bikini just to get Simon Cowell's attention or the person who dresses up in a Star Wars costume just to prove I'm unique.

Maybe I, like so many other fledging writers, just want the chance to "sing", to prove that while I might not have a famous name or face, I can write and my novels are worth reading. Then, if I'm rejected, I'll at least feel like I had a fair chance. That's not to much to ask, is it?

Ah well, 'tis all experience. That much I do know. One of these days, my efforts will pay off. Until then, I'll keep dreaming and writing. That's all I can do.

Happy Wednesday.

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