Vampires



Of the twelve months that make up the year, October is one of my favorites. Why? For one, here in Arkansas that’s when Fall weather really sets in, and I love cooler temperatures. The other reason…Halloween and the 31 days of non-stop horror movies. My daughter and I are the scary-movie aficionados in our family and October is when an all-you-can-watch horror movie buffet across a bazillion satellite channels are available. If you’re like me and enjoy the bombardment of scary flicks, here’s a piece of advice -- don’t schedule a regular physical this time of year. Your blood pressure will probably be elevated. :)

Of all of the villains, monsters, and paranormal manifestations that inhabit these type of movies, vampires are my favorite. I’ve always had an infinity for those creatures for some reason. There isn’t a vampire movie I haven’t seen, or book that I haven’t read. In college, my speech class was required to give a presentation designed to convince the listeners of whatever topic we picked. The speech that was voted most persuasive (by our classmates) was awarded an automatic A+. My topic – Vampires are real.

I took home the A+.

But there’s another reason I chose to talk about vampires today. You see, the nocturnal predators are primarily known for one thing…draining the blood from their victims until they are exsanguinated beyond the point of return. That’s something I can relate to right now. The victim part…not the killing part. And not blood, either. No, what I’m being drained of is enthusiasm…confidence…dogmatism. I can feel it being sucked from me…weakening my resolve regardless of my feeble attempts to fight against it. And who are the vampires in this scenario? You guessed it. Agents…publishers…the industry as a whole.

Over the past couple of months, the re-entering into the querying process has awakened the memories and feelings of the first time I went through it, and I can tell you unequivocally…it doesn’t get any easier the second time around. In fact, it’s far worse. You would think it would be just the opposite, right? I landed an agent once, so surely there’s another one out there that will see the potential in me that my first one did? But, it doesn’t work like that. With every rejection letter another ounce of positivism seeps away.

The agents and publishers aren’t evil-doing marauders, like the fictional vampires are betrayed, and it’s too easy to label them as the bad guy. No, they’re just doing their jobs. And no amount of sunlight, garlic, or silver crosses are going to help me, because I’m marching straight into their den with my neck fully exposed, a willing participant. You see, aspiring writers are simply the fuel they need to exist. You know what happens when you consume fuel, you create waste. And vampire waste is the empty shell of someone who used to be a person.

Or in this particular analogy – a writer.

14 comments

  1. Ahhh, hang in there. You know persistence is the key! You'll eventually find one of those vampires...er...agents that love your work, but not if you quit. :)

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    1. I'm doing just that, but it is rough...you know. At some point you begin to wonder if persistence is actually stubbornness (and not the good kind).

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  2. I have another writer friend who ended things with her agent and is querying again, and it's the same story. She's getting more and more depressed by it when she thought it'd be easier. As someone who might have to go that route again, I can tell you that it fills me with dread. Good luck with your agent hunt! I know good things are in store for you!

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    1. From your fingertips to the agents eyes! :)

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  3. We want them to consume our work, not us!
    Don't give up. That's a sure way to be sucked dry.
    And have you ever read The Light at the End by Spector and Skipp?

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    1. Unfortunately...in this part of my life...my work is me. Looking up Spector and Skipp right now.

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  4. Hey, conferences and contests. They're the only way to go. Seriously. Cold querying is asking for abuse. And breaks. Take reasonably long breaks when you need to.

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    1. Conferences are expensive (though they are great for rubbing elbows and making connections). The two year break I've been on when I did have an agent was awesome, but it doesn't take long for the self-doubt to return.

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  5. Hang in there, D.L. We all get it, and we all feel for you. I may be in the same boat before long, so we can commiserate. You're going to bust through this and come out on the B&N shelves--I know it!

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    1. I'm taking some of your confidence in me and putting it in my emotional bank! Thank you! :)

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  6. It's soul-destroying, I know. But you can do it. They can only take what you allow them to take. Guard the important parts of yourself and leave them the rest to suck dry.

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    1. I hear you. Most of the time your numb to it...but there are times when you feel like your trying to enjoy the party...except nobody invited you. :(

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  7. Going from the writing world to the selling world (query letters, marketing, best-selling instead of best-writing like with contests) is a real bear.
    I'll take a look at your query letter, if you like. It's among my tasks over at Operation Awesome. (I have a wealth of "how NOT to query" from my own failures. May as well use it.) You know how to reach me.
    Hang in there. Sometimes it's more to do with agents being unable/ unwilling to try to sell to a certain market that isn't currently jumping-hot, or to one that's flooded. Spring and Autumn are, allegedly, the best times to query, so at least you've got that on your side.
    I believe in you.
    -J

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    Replies
    1. Thanks J. I'll take you up on your offer!

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