Sunday, August 9, 2009

Only a Flesh Wound!

I plan on starting to send out queries this week in earnest, so I’m feeling compelled to inoculate myself with a little excessive ego, resilience and perhaps, delusion. Normally the Black Knight is a figure to mock and quote as an example of the most comic caricatures.
Reality Check But let me give you some pseudo statistics… I say pseudo, because I couldn’t FIND an actual set of statistics giving average number of queries sent. I suppose part of the problem is the denominator. Do we want the number sent per successful novel? Per agented novel? Per total novel? The former is probably out there somewhere, but we don’t know if our book falls into that category or not. The last number includes probably a bizillion books that have no business ever being published. (Hopefully we aren’t one of those)
So how many letters DO need to be sent? Probably a novel or two a year is so stunning that nearly NOBODY would pass on it, and so only needs a couple (even one) sent. Some very readable novels don’t fit neatly in the market, so they will take a truly remarkable visionary agent to get it out there and that may require many many queries. What I’m going with is that agents receive thousands of queries a year, and represent tens of books. That gives a figure of about 1 in 100. Because it’s all about ME Now I don’t believe for a second that CONFLUENCE falls in the bottom quartile, or even half, quality-wise. I’ve seen many novels that are not as good, and that ISN’T to say those others didn’t merit publication, only saying CONFLUENCE DOES (did I evade that offending agents thing?). But it IS long, which makes it more challenging to market. So I am just steeling myself now for the rejections I am sure to get before finding that ‘right’ agent. I’m sure I will get arms, legs, even my head chopped off, so I am calling on my HYDRA superpower now--for every head chopped off, I will grow two new ones! (and aren’t I fierce Just look at me!) But I also want (because however fierce I look, I still believe it is about the karma) want to encourage all of you to believe in yourself. Whatever stage you're at, keep writing, and find a support system to nurture you, because there are many things to discourage us, and those really need to be balanced so we can regenerate, rather than calling threats out as King Arthur runs away. My writer’s group, my friends, my readers--they will be the balance that generates those heads when those fierce agents all begin sending rejections, and eventually, we will succeed!!! Special note: The motivation picture is from a blog called 101 Reasons to Quit Writing that is pretty funny and has a number of these little 'motivators'


Cruella Collett said...

Yay, you!
Though I believe your approach is good (prepare for possible disappointments), I also want to build up under the less dominant but nevertheless optimistic message in this blog entry (that CONFLUENCE essentially is a good book). Therefore, let me say it loud and clear: never, not once, during this entire process (and I've been around for quite a bit of it) did I ever doubt that you would eventually find an agent, sign a deal, and publish your book. I still don't. I KNOW that you will succeed. Not because I'm a psycic (I only pretend to be), not because the voices in my head told me so (they only speak of digressions), but because you are a hard worker, a great writer and you are exceptional at combining these two excellent qualities to get where you want.

Feel free to put this on the jacket of CONFLUENCE once it's published :p

Watery Tart said...

As my religious advisor, Mari, that qualifies as a blessing! Thank you!!!

Shaharizan Perez said...

I wish you luck in getting positive responses. You really deserve it. You are industrious and have a determination that I wish I had an ounce of. I have started writing again. Your words struck a chord. There is much out there that holds us back and puts us down. It is nice to have something uplifting for once.

Joris said...


Well said, Mari ;)

Tartster, I wish you best of luck in finding that agent, but I do hope you don't end up having your limbs cut off, even if they DO grow back, if only for the simple fact that HURTS ;)
The black knight always triumphs, yes, but he's also a loony... And not in the Lupin sense ;)

Galen Kindley--Author said...

You never Know, Hart. You just never know. My book one found acceptance from the first publisher to whom it was sent, a small press no longer in business…uh, hope there’s no connection. Yes, I had a little insider help getting my book to the top of the slush pile, but, still. It happened. So, on the other side of the ledger, there are these kinds of stories. No matter what happens, however, you just gotta keep your should into the wind and keep grinding. I know you’ll do well.

Best Regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog