Hello and welcome back to the blog! I have been doing a lot of thinking this week about my writing life. Instead of just telling you outright (where would the fun in that be?), I thought I would interview myself. Without further ado, here’s, well, me.
Thanks, Stephen. You’re doing great work, keep it up. I hear you have some news to pass along to the readers. What is it?
Oh, we’re leading with this? I thought there would be more of a lead in, but okay, here it is. Like I said in the intro, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this week. On what, you ask? My upcoming novel, Breaking Character: The Craven House. Breaking Character is the series and The Craven House is the first book of that series.
I feel like you’re stalling, Stephen.
You’re probably right, Stephen. Back to business. As some of you well know, I’ve been heading towards self-publishing my novel through Kindle. However, I have decided to put publishing aside for a time while I renew my efforts to find a literary agent. If all goes well, I will find an agent and a publisher for my novel. If not, I’ll bring Breaking Character: The Craven House to the world’s attention through self-publishing with a more detailed plan of attack.
Can you tell me and everyone reading this how you arrived at such a decision?
Well, since I’m you and you’re me, you already know the answer to that question. As for everyone else, I’d be glad to. This is a bit of a long answer, so sit tight.
If I’m honest, and I always try to be, it dates to the writing of the novel, then titled Character Driven. I knew early on that I was writing something special. I expected that feeling to dissipate at some point. It didn’t. Through the second draft and editing that feeling stayed with me. Everything had clicked for me during the entire process like nothing I had ever written. Considering I have six completed but unpublished novels to my name that meant a lot.
I entered the querying process optimistic that I would find an agent. I had done my research while finishing the final edit. I knew my query was good and the novel was even better. It was going to happen. My lifelong dream of being a published author was going to come true thanks to Breaking Character. I just had to convince an agent to read it. Once read, I knew the agent would offer representation. Something else happened instead.
I queried around a dozen agents when one agent requested a reading. I cried reading those words. I had submitted another manuscript to literary agents a few years ago without any readings requested. Sure, I’ve had short stories accepted and published but this was a novel. This was the beginning of a dream coming true. Then the agent passed on the novel without a comment as to why.
I was shattered. (The storyteller in me made this be its own paragraph.)
Despite my feelings, I pressed on. Over a six-month time period I queried twenty-one agents in all. The only request I had during that time I have already mentioned. While doing research I had read some writers have to query eighty or more agents before finding the right fit. That sounded like overkill to me for a while. I stopped at twenty-one and decided to move towards self-publishing, which I researched while getting multiple rejections from agents. I would show the publishing world my novel belonged amongst them.
If I’m honest, and I am to a fault, self-publishing never felt right for me. It takes a person with a variety of skills to produce a successful self-published book. Some people possess those skills, others do not. I happen to count myself amongst the latter. As I moved closer to self-publishing my novel, an inescapable sense of dread settled in and never went away. Was I on the verge of making a mistake?
This is the part where you ruffled some feathers on Twitter and snapped at someone’s honest opinion, right?
Thanks, I was hoping to avoid that part of this, Stephen. First, I talked to my wife. She didn’t have any answers, so I turned to Twitter. The community of writers there is amazing. I’ve only been on Twitter for a few months and already I’m grateful for them. I asked the writing community how many agents should be queried before turning to self-publishing. The self-publishing community got defensive at my wording, which I still stick behind for the record. One gentleman got snarky with me in the comments. I put my phone down and went to bed. This is what I do instead of instigating an argument. The next morning, which happens to be this morning if you’re curious, I responded with some snark of my own. I’m not perfect.
The point is everyone on Twitter was right to certain degree. They reiterated what I had learned during my research, it can take time to find an agent. Twenty-one is a low number.
Don’t worry, Stephen, I’m not perfect either.
I’m well aware of that, Stephen. Did you have anymore questions or are we done?
Just two more questions. Then I’ll let you leave. What are you working on while you query agents?
Great question, Stephen. You’re getting decent at this. Before I reached this decision, I was planning on starting the second novel in the Breaking Character Series. That will wait for now. Instead I will start editing The Stranger, which will receive a new title as soon as possible. As soon as that’s finished, whether I’m done querying or not, I will start the second book in the series.
You started this blog to promote your writing in advance of an upcoming self-published novel. What will change about this blog?
You are correct, that was the purpose of this blog. Not much will change. I still plan on giving the readers regular updates on my writing situation. I will continue to post about once a week. This doesn’t come naturally to this writer of fiction. However, I’m starting to like it. Hopefully you are too.
Until next time, remember to follow your dreams, even if they terrify you.