A Hesitant Pause.

For the last couple weeks I've devoted my time to blowing the dust off the query letter for Moving Fear, writing a new one for PRICK, not to mention making sure my Query Tracker subscription was up-to-date. Now that I've severed ties with my previous agent, it's time to hit the query trails again.

The truth is, if I wasn't doing all of that, there wouldn't be much else for me to do...writing-wise. I've been riding a high for two years thinking my writing was good enough to land me an agent, but now it turns out the agent wasn't very good - so naturally I have to reassess what that means. PRICK was my fourth novel -- all of them written over a span of seven years -- and although I'm itching to work on something else, I think I've reached a point where I'm not sure putting forth the effort will lead me anywhere. It's not that I believe my writing can't improve, because it absolutely can, but I also feel that over the course of four books I've improved enough to warrant serious consideration. The cost-benefit analysis of starting a fifth manuscript is cloudy - at best.

I guess what I'm saying is that I've reached a tipping point. I have sequels outlined for both Moving Fear and PRICK, and I'm poised to dive into either of them should I land an agent or publisher, but I'm hesitant. I'm consumed with the eternal debate that most aspiring writers are forced to face at some point.  Do I possess enough talent to break into this industry...or am I simply banging my head against a wall that could care less? No, I'm not saying I'm giving up. I'm sending out query letters and tossing chum in the water to see if the sharks are interested. But at the same time, I'm not working on anything new.

Time will tell if this is just a brief respite preceding a flurry of activity and excitement, or the agonizing silence before the doctor pronounces the time of death. 

25 comments

  1. Just because your agent wasn't that good doesn't mean your work isn't good. While you're in a slump now, you'll bounce back and see that wall has a door that's opening for you. Good luck.

    Thoughts in Progress
    and MC Book Tours

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    1. I'd like that to be true Mason, but the doubt is still there. Thank you for the encouragement! :)

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  2. Hi DL - the most important thing is to keep moving forward ... so send out your query letters, start on a short story, or new idea ... getting something down - the action will trigger other ideas ... good luck - cheers Hilary

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    1. I intend on doing that Hilary. I am sending out query letters and I am also continuing to tweak the books I have already written. I'm just not starting any new projects until I get a sense that there is an actual endgame.

      Thank you! :)

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  3. Crappy agent might've still been able to recognize good writing. Get back into the querying and keep poking at those outlines.

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    1. And that's the positive thought I'm trying to maintain throughout this process. Don't worry - the query letters are still going out and work is still continuing, just not towards brand new projects. :)

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  4. I didn't know you'd 'broken up' with your agent, Don. I haven't been around for a few month. (I've been there, agent-wise. Stinks.) I'm glad to hear you're getting back into the trenches, though. I was a tad scorned after my breakup. Best of luck with everything!

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    1. I was surprised to learn just how often agent breakups happen. Scorned is a good description of how I feel, but I'm not throwing in the towel just yet.

      It was really nice to hear from you again! :)

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  5. I'm in a similar head-space, working on the beginning of my fifth novel. I don't know if we'll ever really "know".

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  6. Sorry to hear about the agent part. Nothing seems to come easy in this business, does it? I've been writing for eight years, working on my fifth novel now, and some days I wonder if it'll ever happen. But I've determined I'm not going to give up!

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    1. And you shouldn't give up! I don't consider throwing in the towel...if that's what eventually happens...as giving up. Rather, I see it as coming to terms with reality. I firmly believe that if I could devote a lot more time to the craft, my work would indeed become published...and do well. But the harsh reality is that I am the primary breadwinner for our family and my "day job" is demanding. I simply do not have the time to make this train move any faster...and when I do things that could accelerate my personal agenda...my family life suffers. So bowing out isn't giving up...just facing facts.

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  7. Keep writing! When you finally get that agent, and that agent sells your book, they're gonna ask what else you have (and it would be nice to have all these books to show them). If you're not sure you want to start a new series, then write one of the sequels. It'll keep your writing chops well tuned if nothing else. Plus, writing is just fun, isn't it???

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    1. Writing is what I would do full-time...if I could. But every minute I spend writing, is time I don't interact with my family, because it is such a solitary exercise. Yes...my family encourages my efforts...until things become strained.

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  8. Just keep delving into the worlds that allow your to express your characters. Write. Then take time to focus on the business side of the art. Sometimes both sides clash.

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    1. I have always said that if traditional route (which is eroding) doesn't pan out...then self-publishing will be an option. If the books take off using that platform, then my writing will obviously continue. It's all about acceptance...from agents...from publishers...from readers. :)

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  9. Sometimes it helps to write something that's just for you, not for publication. Something that will make you happy and you won't care about sending to agents or publishers. Work on that while you're doing the query thing. And remember, even when you do get an agent, those books might not sell. It's a long game...

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  10. Boy is that an understatement. And I'm not a young man. :)

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  11. Hi, D.L. I love the new look of your blog (well, new in the last two years anyway, lol). I know just how you feel--been living there since my disappearance from blogland two years ago. DO NOT GIVE UP. I was pretty much over it all, but now my MG is finished and in the hands of my agent. It took a lot to get me through the final 4 chapters and a full re-write, but it was worth the heartache and angst. You WILL get there. Hang on.

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    1. I always LOVE IT when I get a blast from the past...like hearing from you again Shannon! Don't worry...I'm not giving up. I consider it more of a re calibration of my goals. If I can't land an agent, then I'll try publishing houses, and if that doesn't work, self-publishing. There are all sizes of mountains to climb.

      Good luck with your MG! :)

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  12. I've recently made the move to going indie. I'm finished with publishers and agents. I've had too many issues with not being paid and bad contracts. I need to be in control for a while and self-publishing is the way to accomplish that.

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    1. Good for you! Who knows...I might not be far behind. :)

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  13. Yeah, I know i've had my share of writing doubts over the last few years. Lots of short story acceptances, but nothing that makes ny pay out. Not to mention the novels are so unlikeable I'm not sure I should be writing at all. Its a tough career to keep up with.

    You found an agent once, I'm sure you will find another.

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    1. All you can do is give it your best shot! Thanks! :)

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  14. Do you know how many novels I had under my belt before MOONLESS got picked up? 7. And those were fully smoothed out, deeply edited novels. They weren't first drafts. Still, I know people who have written 20+ books and have yet to be taken seriously. There's a shrinking window in the traditional publishing world because the indie world is taking up so much market. As big pubs have made poor decisions, that gap shrinks. Agents, unfortunately, have a shrinking window to work with and more people throwing stuff at them than ever. You'll find your niche. That's not even a question. It's a question of where and when. In the meantime, enjoy the ease of NOT being published. It's like having kids. Once you have them, there's no going back. They will forever place some kind of demand on your life.

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