“What have you been putting off doing?”
Wow… now there is a loaded question! As a writer, I would like nothing more than to call myself an author. A full-fledged, published author. With my words on paper. Printed by a national publisher, not one that I have to pay. In a way, yes, having finished a book, typed up and whole, not just floating in my head or scribbled on a myriad of papers (like book three is, what a patchwork quilt it’s become!) dies qualify me as an author. Having this website, with the likes and subscribers (who aren’t even family) is a form of publishing– the little blue button says so! I won’t beat myself up and say I’m not an author, but I also haven’t been published yet.
When I wrapped up Legends of Lorata Book One: The Champion of the Goddess this summer, I sat back and thought, “Wow, I actually did it. What next?” I was thinking a lot of other things; I thought I’d never finish it, that I’d always be ‘working on it,’ I have to edit it, re-read it and make sure everything is perfect… or do I focus on book two? Do I pay an editor to be the outside agent telling me what needs to be fixed?
I mentioned in another post that I have a career outside of writing. If I could be a writer and that’s all, and know that it would get me steady income, I would be. Right now, however, I enjoy my career, and I need the steady paycheck. That said, someone from work knew I was writing, and mentioned that I may need an agent– thank you, by the way, for caring enough to give me advice. So now, getting an agent is a very real goal, and something that I have been researching how to do.
You need a query letter, and parts of the novel, put together just the way the agent wants. The query letter is the most important piece of writing you can do, like a good resumé is the most important part of getting a job interview. You can have a great education, you can writing a great novel, but if your resumé or query letter do not paint yourself incredible, it’s all for naught. The agent won’t read your 520 pages in thirty chapters to find all the adventure and plot twists; she or he will read your query letter and decide whether or not meeting Loracaz and everyone else is worthwhile. And it’s downright scary to think that Lor’s story will go unread.
I have a draft of a query letter. Nerd that I am, I already have a dramatis personae and an outline. I have a chart of words that I made up for the languages of Lorata. It just… making sure it’s all perfect seems impossible. “Keep the query letter to one page,” they say. Bah! When have I ever kept it to one page? Just look at this post! You cannot express your own personal universe in one page… not in 12-point double-spaced font anyway. In college, I was never worried about the minimum number of pages that an essay could be; I was worried about the maximum. Not from a habit of rambling, per se, but because there is just so much to say. By the way, my resumé is two full pages. You’re supposed to say all this stuff in it, yet if it fit on one page, that would make me an inexperienced newbie.
I know that some very famous authors, even ones that I love, were rejected. I know that there are other ways to get published. I know taht it can take a long time, and that sometimes it’s worth it to find just the right relationship with an agent, editor or publisher. In the end, I’m still nervous about the whole process. “I have to read it before an editor does, before she rips it apart.” “This scene is integral to the rest of the story.” “No, I will not delete my gay characters.” “Yes the ending—” Oh, hey, I’m not giving it away. Just you wait an see!
This website is part of the publishing process for me. If Max Barry can do it, so can I! On one had, I’m not working on my query letter right this second, and other the other, you’re reading what I put down on… what I typed up, clackety-clack. I will get published, I will keep working on it, keep trying. Now to stay alive in this big, dangerous world in order to see that happen!