Writing a book isn’t easy.
It takes a lot of time, and a big commitment to putting in that time. Spending an hour or two a night in front of a computer, trying to get my characters on paper — after spending eight hours at work, and taking care of my family in those other daytime hours — that was HUGE.
But once I did commit, and I had support from my husband and family, I did it. I sat down daily and got the words on the page. Except for Thanksgiving vacation, I mostly wrote at night, sometimes starting as late as 9 p.m.
Part of my 2015 NaNoWriMo experience was spent in Wilmington, NC, for Thanksgiving vacation with my family. My sister had just had a baby, so we were there for that. It was Thanksgiving, so we were there for that. My parents, my brother and his wife and children, my sister and her family, who live in the area, Dan and our children.
And every day — including THANKSGIVING DAY — this group of people LET ME WRITE. I mostly wrote in the mornings that week, with a cup of coffee or two.
That November, I wrote 50,000 words. In the next three months, I added roughly another 20,000.
Then I put the book (working title: Lone Wolf) away for a few months.
The rest I have mentioned here: second draft, line edits, beta readers. Both my beta readers had helpful feedback AND were very kind, so much thanks to them (Cari and Trista). Third draft.
And now it’s the hardest part: querying and waiting.
So: thing I learned about publishing last year at my very first writers conference: an agent, if you do not plan on self-publishing, is a necessary step. An agent is the one who is going to take your book and help you do the final shaping for publication. One does not send to publishers, one queries agents.
One needs a query letter to do that — I have learned a lot about queries, synopses, and pitching in general.
Yeah, I didn’t know that stuff before I wrote a book. It’s actually good I didn’t know too much about the process, because I would have overthought it.
Of course, as I go forward, I have to work very hard not to overthink it.
At this time, I have a handful of (very nice, very polite, and VERY encouraging) rejections under my belt. Rejections are good, it has been pointed out to me; it means I’m doing something. And, they have, to an email, been encouraging, as I said. The gist being: Thank you for querying; this isn’t for us at this time; keep going because someone is going to love it and pick it up.
Yeah, it could just be a form letter, but it’s better than 1. Being ignored and 2. Being told I stink and should throw in the towel.
Speaking of throwing things, I decided to throw my hat in the ring for Pitch Wars as well. In short, Pitch Wars gives writers the opportunity to work with a published author (mentors) to polish a manuscript. Mentors each pick a mentee from the submissions they get, they spend two months shaping the MS, and then there is an agent round.
If you’d like to watch me and other writers freak out about #PitchWars on Twitter, you can go check out that hashtag. Its both fun and masochistic at the same time.
Pitch Wars closes on August 6, and mentees are announced August 24. At this point, I have subbed to three mentors and one mentor team. They get the query and Chapter 1. I am *trying* to not obsessively track the #PWTeaser(s) on Twitter, but sometimes I just have to give in for a few minutes.
It’s out of my control, now: whether I get a mentor, whether I get an agent, whether I get published. And that is a difficult thing to sit with. If I don’t get a mentor, I will just continue querying agents. I gave myself a year, and I started this process in May.
In the meantime, time to get back to that *other* WPI (work in process), another few weeks of 9 p.m. computer time.
No matter what happens, I have written I book. I am working on another book, and I have yet a third in my brain. I can do this part.
And I can wait. I just don’t have to like it.
Is waiting the hardest part for you, too?