Today while (stalking) researching agents for queries, I read that a certain agency I was (stalking) researching only requests fulls on 1% of their submissions received.
That’s some daunting odds. It didn’t stop me from querying them, and that’s why I keep writing here and on Patreon. The number one piece of advice I hear from traditionally published authors is Don’t Give Up.
Earlier this week, I got the ninth rejection on the story that won the Silver Honorable Mention in Writers of the Future. I sighed and picked at it again. This time, I saw a flaw. I’d learned only recently from another story I wrote that I like to head-hop at the end when I feel uncertain.
Readers don’t like that.
They get invested in the original character, and when I switch, it’s off-putting. It forces them to grind empathy gears, and not in a good way. I do it because endings are hard sometimes, and I am a character writer. I like to see inside peoples’ heads and root around and play with what makes them tick.
I learned this weakness in my work because I kept writing and asking for feedback. The last time I did this, my beta-readers called me on it. My story improved when I fixed it.
I kept trying.
So, for those eyeing their half-finished work, keep going. If you’re querying, keep at it.
I’m trying to internalize the message that this first book of mine might not get me an agent. It’s a bitter pill, I’ll be honest. But, like any good medicine, probably necessary.
That’s why I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year. I want to get a first draft banged out, guts and marrow, and have another manuscript ready to query by next spring. If you’re doing it too, we can be buddies.
Remember in Return of the Jedi when they fly the Millennium Falcon through the fingertip-width passage in the Death Star? That was like the best part, right? You leaned in your seat and your hands were all sweaty. That’s why I love writing and submitting and trying again and again. That 1% narrow passage will feel so sweet when I zip out the other end and into the stars.