manuscript submission

Update: blog identity and where I’m at Part 4

I started this blog as part of my effort to build a writing career. Since I am not-quite-published-yet, I have a pretty small regular readership. One might say that the only way to grow a readership is to post good content regularly, and one would be right. However, with all the effort I’m devoting to writing a new manuscript and researching agents for the last manuscript, I’m finding it hard to post as regularly as I’d like.

That said, I’ve been studying my Google Analytics reports and have found that a fair bit of non-regular-readership traffic does land here, and from the search parameters listed, it seems this is mostly because of research on literary topics. It’s hard to tell if such users find what they need here, but it’s made me think that, for now, I will focus on posts with an academic bent and a short list of resources for further reference. If you have a better idea, I’m all ears.

As for “where I’m at,” I’ll be brief. World Maker, my third manuscript, is on submission with agents. While I wait for the process to play out on World Maker, I’ve started research for a new story, and in the tradition of making each new project something new and different for me, this story requires a bit of New England historical research and some education on how to craft a mystery. I’m not sure about much except the basic concept and set-up, but I’m at least having fun seeing where it goes.

In summary:

manuscript #1: Prosorinos futuristic science fiction story, set on another planet, multiple POV but largely focused on two teenage boys, 169,000 words

manuscript #2: Wishstone alternate history fantasy, set in ancient Greece, single POV of teenage girl, 90,000 words

manuscript #3: World Maker comtemporary “psychological” fantasy (and love story), single POV of teenage boy, 93,000 words

manuscript #4: untitled contemporary mystery/fantasy/alternate history, ensemble cast

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Where I’m at Part 2: my agent submissions for Prosorinos

While still maintaining a grueling pace as a teacher, I managed to send Prosorinos, my first novel, on submission. I queried 14 agents. Here are my stats:

form letter rejections: 8

requests for partials: 3

requests for full: 1

no response: 2

I queried eleven of the top agents representing science fiction and three young agents building client lists. One of those young agents I actually queried in a pitch session at a conference (as opposed to mailing the query), and she requested one of those three partials. She later rejected it saying the subject matter was too dark for her.

That leaves one full request and two partials. One agent starting her own agency (she had worked at one of the big houses in New York) asked for a partial. We exchanged a couple of emails leading to a request for the full. It took many months of waiting to hear (as I remember it, close to a year) before I sent her an email requesting an update on the manuscript’s status. She did not respond. A little time passed and I emailed again. Again no response. To this day I have not received a response from this agent who had my full manuscript.

One of the partials went to another young agent. I followed her on her blog, over time learning that her personality might not be ideal for me to work with, so I didn’t send a follow-up. It didn’t matter. After one and a half years (yes YEARS) she sent me a rejection.

The part that slays me is that the other partial was requested by a very successful and highly regarded agent. She requested the partial exclusively, but since I already had a partial and a full out to other agents, I never did send her my sample chapters. Back then, I was a noob in every sense of the writing word, and I didn’t know how to handle the situation other than to continue waiting on the agents who had my stuff. Knowing what I now know, I would have done things so differently.

The consequence is that I never sent out Prosorinos to other agents. I had waited so long and lost so much confidence that I decided it would be best just to write another novel. A shorter novel more easily sold. I figured Prosorinos would still be there if I could attract an agent with my new novel. Thus, Wishstone was born.

On to next post . . .

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I would like to be remembered as someone who did the best she could with the talent she had.

— J.K. Rowling