Querying Author’s Lament: Stop Being Lazy and Triflin’

me and amy (2)So kids, its been some time since we’ve gotten in touch.  I would give some excuse about the holidays and making resolutions and all that crap.  But that’s what it would be– crap.  The truth is, I’ve been balls deep (I’ve ALWAYS wanted to say that even though I don’t have balls) in #querying for #agents.  It’s a long, arduous journey, but it hasn’t been unsatisfying.  I’ve gotten some nice feedback, and met some amazing folks.  If you’re ready to start this process, go to Twitter and meet some others!  There’s an amazingly supportive writing community out there ready to give you a boost when you need one.  Use those #amwriting #query #agenting #pubtips #writetips hashtags to help you on the way.  Probably the most important thing to remember on the path to finding the elusive “traditional publishing success” is to persevere.  This will not happen over night.  Prepare to get rejected.  A lot.  Usually nicely, but not always.  Prepare to do your homework and research folks.  Don’t say yes to the first person who asks without looking them up and seeing what CREDENTIALS they have.  Remember, anybody can call themselves an agent or an editor on the internet.

So on to the things that have annoyed me today.  The first was someone complaining that a writer’s advice to stop talking about writing and just do it was condescending.  Uhm.. no. That’s not condescending.  That’s the truth.  There are tons– literally, tons of “writers” that are more in love with the idea of writing than actually doing it.  They’d rather sit around with their critique groups, re-writing the same draft over and over again while talking about their brilliance at a single sentence. BTW– if you’ve been writing that first draft for 5+ years, move on with your your life.  That story isn’t ready.  Anyway, these folks read blogs and articles and god knows what else all at the expense of actually writing. I hate to break it to you, kids, but writing is more than having that great idea.  You have to have the great idea, be disciplined enough to write it down, and talented enough to write it artfully.  Oh and then be brave enough to show it to others.  And when I say “others,” I don’t mean ya mama, ya girlfriend, the kids in your writer group who have known you for years, or your friends.  I mean people that are not invested in you personally.  I’ve spoken to a lot of writers who say “oh I don’t need an agent.  They just take all your money.”  What that almost always translates to is “I’m too scared that they’ll say no.”  And you know what– they probably will.  Repeatedly.  But if you’re talented and committed, the right person will see you for the brilliant little author person you are.  In the words of Lana del Rey, “Be young.  Be dope.  Be proud.”

internal screaming

Another thing that annoyed me so much was a post where someone took the attitude that they basically were hot shit and wouldn’t any agent just be pleased as a parsnip to represent them?  Now.. they weren’t interested in waiting (btw– the waiting is part of it. Some agents have 3 month + query response times) or having a brand new, polished work to send.  The feeling I got from this person was that they had already proven how wonderful they were and why wasn’t someone already falling all over themselves to represent him.  WTF?!  No.  You need to write a billion query letters and another billion versions of your synopsis of your NEW UNPUBLISHED work and then jump on the burning train to Hell that is querying.  There are too many great writers struggling right now for anybody to start shirking.  Or thinking they can get off easy and not do the work.

Anyhow– I hope I didn’t tick you off with this new and refreshing dose of truth telling, but it needed to be said.  Making art is hard.  If it wasn’t, Justin Bieber could do it.  Be encouraged that you are not alone and that others are glad to help when they can.  Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re going to carry you or your stuff.

Some great resources for the querying writer:

Literary Rejections:  http://www.literaryrejections.com/

Manuscript Wish List:  http://www.mswishlist.com/

Various Twitter pitch sessions:  #adpit #pitchmas, etc.  There’s one coming up on 2/5/15.  More info here:  https://heidinorrod.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/its-coming-adult-pitch-5-feb-2014-adpit/

And don’t forget those Twitter hashtags:  #querytip #agent #amwriting #writetip #pubtip