Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Moving Beyond Rejection

Great news from a couple of fellow writers who have recently landed agents. In particular from Pat Brown, who just posted this on an online group we are both members of:

"So, after sending out 281 queries, getting 185 rejections, sending 17 partials or fulls, leaving 79 who never responded, I have signed with The Literary Group International."

Now that's perserverance! She's a faithful contributor to the group, a fellow member of Sisters in Crime, and a valuable supporter of the rest of who are looking for agents. Plus she writes about Los Angeles, my home town. (This is Pat's picture of the LAPD.)

I'm starting to do avoidance behavior on my Writing Fridays. I'm working on new short stories, and feeling lured back to Book Two (which is about one-fifth written) instead of doing what I need to do first: target agents, find the ones who already represent the kind of writing I do, look up their exact query requirements for what they want to see -- one page, a synopsis, the first chapter, the first five pages, whatever -- and then send the query packet to five or ten agents per week.

After that, sure, I can get back to the fun stuff: writing new material. That certainly isn't fun all the time. It's a lot more fun than the looking-for-an-agent part, though. But part of the draw of of creative writing is wanting to get it out into the reading public's hands. That's called publication. If it also involves a little income and a little fame, well, all good!


  1. Is writing really avoidance behavior? I am inspired by your dedication of one day a week to your writing, since much of my time is spent doing the 'business' stuff: contacting booking people, coding the website, making posters, following up after gigs, etc. etc. I feel like I spend very little time these days actually creating music, which is the purpose of all this for me in the first place. So I guess it just makes me uneasy when you're thinking about doing research & promotion work during your creative time. :) Just my humble thoughts, Edith!

  2. The problem, Elizabeth, is that that's the only day I have for all of it. I have this tiny problem called the Day Job. I am grateful that I work (for pay) only 4/5 time, but my writing 1/5 has to include all my writing stuff. Including the agent-search process, which I am growing to dread! I think I need to organize better, like using the first 4 hours of Friday for writing, then doing the query stuff after that. Do the creativity when I'm fresh (I am a morning person, after all..). Thanks for reminding me of priorities!

  3. yes, those darn day jobs always get in the way! sounds like you've got a good plan, though- you're far more disciplined than I. btw, my copy of Thin Ice arrived a few days ago- haven't had a chance to dig into it yet but I'm really looking forward to doing just that after Thursday's show!

  4. The "281 queries and 185 rejections" sounds all too familiar to me, Edith. I am now on a break from querying and am seriously considering self-publishing my first murder mystery.

    The querying process you've outlined for yourself looks great in theory, time consuming in practice, and rewarding regardless of the results. I learned much about writing, about my story, and about myself while preparing query packages!

    "They" say perseverence is 9/10th of getting published! I wish you good fortune in your search.