Friday, March 9, 2012

QUERY: Why do I do this to myself?

Well, simple really. To get published. I've wanted to be a writer - no - I have been a writer since I was four years old.

The tools of my trade (no longer often crayons), and the scale of my finished work (almost always more than one complete sentence these days), have changed somewhat, but there it is. I wouldn't say it is my life's dream, to be a published author, but it's certainly one of them.

I've written a few finished (as in, has an ending/resolution) novel drafts, and a couple have been Finished... capital-F, which means they're re-written and edited until I am entirely sick of them.

I'm in the process of querying literary agents about the second of these. This involves emailing and snail-mailing awkward letters of introduction, along with a slightly corny synopsis and the first three chapters of my manuscript.

I sent queries for novel #1 to agents and publishers in NZ last year. I got a few requests for partials (3 chapters) and fulls (the whole shebang), but no takers. In other words my query was pretty good but the actual manuscript lacked somethingorother.

I've decided to put novel #1 in a drawer for a while, until I can bear to look at it again, as I suspect it actually needs a bit more work. My newest novel, #3, the barely-started draft I'm pottering away on every writing-Tuesday/Wednesday, has so much more of my voice and, I think, spunk. The feedback about novel #1 suggested that my writing lacked that magical quality... so perhaps I'll be able to magic-it-up in a few months/years time. Meanwhile, there are other fish to fry, plots to pedal, books to brain-child...

So, novel #2, which I finished drafting in November 2011, is ready (fingers crossed) to be sent out into the world. First step: query agents. This is the recommended starting point because an agent is so much better qualified to represent me to publishers than I am. If this fails, then I'll go straight to publishers, but I'm less likely to get a deal, and certainly less likely to get a good one, un-agented.

At some point, I might consider self publishing. But not yet. There are some tempting success stories, of course, but I guess I really believe that if my writing is ready for the world, and the world is ready for it, then an agent or publisher will pick it up. Also, I fear my skills at marketing are really limited to teaching teenagers to think critically about advertising and the media.

So that is what I'm doing this morning: putting together emails and printing off pages, hitting send and then sculling back my coffee as if it'll calm my nerves, clenching my jaw and wondering if this kind of stress can be good for my unborn child.

On the pregnancy front: I'm over it. My skin is all itchy where I'm stretching... I won't list the specific places. You don't want to know. I still have 3 months to go, and I'm in no hurry... not ready yet. Not at all. But I'm sick of being pregnant.

I'm really looking forward to being able to eat all the yummy cheeses and half-cooked meats they serve up in France. It'd be handy if I could lift furniture and walk for ages without risking mine, and another's, health. I'd get so much more done if I didn't have to nap for two hours every day... although I do quite like the excuse. How in the world did I teach teenagers, on my feet, with vigor!, for several hours every day, when I was this pregnant with Louis??

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