On January 18, 2009 / agents, Blockbuster, cell phones, dealing with rejection, Netflix, online banking, PDFs, query, technology, TiVo
Today, I’m simply grateful for how much easier the little things in life are now because of technology. So here a few things I don’t miss:
- Writing out a check for every purchase and household bill and keeping up with the damn little check register, subtracting as I went along. Love online banking and bill paying. They do the math!
- Running to check the answering machine the minute I got home to see what calls I missed (and often swearing as a result). Love cell phones!
- Muting commercials and waiting endlessly for them to be over. Love digital recorders! (TiVo especially.) Recording programs and skipping through the crap is the only way I can watch TV.
- Walking around Blockbuster reading the back of DVD cases, trying to find a decent movie. (And don’t get me started on the damn late fees!) Love Netflix! And its new “Watch Instantly” feature.
- Sending every single agent/editor query by mail and waiting months for responses. Love e-mail queries! Rejection is easier when it’s faster—like ripping off a band-aid.
- Sending files to Adobe’s free converter program and waiting days to get the PDF back. Love making my own PDFs from Word and InDesign.
What have I forgotten? What don’t you miss?
Last weekend I finished the first draft of my new Detective Jackson novel (yes, I write and edit on weekends too), and so this week, I’m going back through to rewrite and clean up (find all the places where characters have morphed and street names have changed). This is such a strange process. One moment I’m excited and happy and thinking “This is the one. This is the novel that will be a breakthrough and get people’s attention.” Then two pages later, I’m disgusted by a line of dialogue, doubtful about the whole plot, and scared that this manuscript will suffer the same fate as all the others.
What is that fate? Here’s the short version of my “Almost” story.
My first “almost” was about ten years ago. I had a great story and found a great agent (president of Writers’ House) who sent my manuscript out to five editors at major publishers. One day he called and said, “Michelle Whatshername at HarperCollins loves your manuscript, and I’ll have an offer for you next week.” I danced around the house for days, but the offer never came and my agent gave up. I was so crushed, I stopped writing novels for a few years. (I wrote screenplays, instead. A whole ‘nother story.)
My second “almost” was two years ago. I finished another story that I was excited about, found an agent who said, “This story has great commercial potential,” then she sent it out to five editors at major publishing houses. Those editors said things like: “I read this story in one sitting!” “The writing is excellent.” “This is an outstanding piece of fiction.” But nobody bought it because the victims are underage. That story is THE SEX CLUB, which I brought to the market through a niche publisher. (An effort similar to using a toothbrush to dig a hole for swimming pool.) But readers love the story and want more.
So now I have another Detective Jackson novel, soon to be finished. I don’t want to go the same niche-publisher route (my toothbrush is worn out and my fingers are numb), and I have two agents who read the first 50 pages and are excited to see the rest. But this process—agent, wait, submission, wait, “no thanks”—scares me big time. Will it be a case of “Third time is the charm” or “Three strikes and your out”? I’m not sure I can take another “Almost.” But I am sure that I’m not giving up yet.
PS: Read tomorrow’s post to find out how I stay happy through the crushing disappointments.