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Yesterday, I took the plunge and sent out my first agent query letter.
"Good luck" my writer friends tell me in voices etched with sarcasm.
"Is that something hard to do?" my non writer friends ask with innocence.
Truth be told, I don't really have any firsthand knowledge. I've never tried to land an agent before. I have heard stories though, and they haven't been good.
When I first joined a writing organization, I found myself surprised by the bucketfuls of negativity around me. "Don't plan on making a living on writing fiction, you'll have to have a second job." "Traditional publishers only look at established or serial authors , you'll have to self publish." "By the way, did you know there are over 10,000 books a day self-published on Amazon? You'll never rise to the top without help."
I did my best to keep up my spirits and not let the skepticism of my fellow club members squash my motivation to write and complete my novel - a monumental task in itself. I reminded myself of the numbers of guests who filter in and out of our club who are full of delusion about both the writing and publishing process, and really could use a serious reality check.
Someone does publish new writers, or I wouldn't see their books out there, right? There are agents accepting new clients or there wouldn't be these things in twitter-land called pitch parties. Besides , I told myself, each month my organization has a program speaker and most of the seem to have an agent and publisher, and of course the one thing I covet more than anything - a professional editor.
I'd almost had myself convinced, then I started to notice a disturbing trend. The non self-published authors had either landed their agents years ago, or they wrote nonfiction. Uh-oh!
No matter the odds, I'm still going to give finding an agent my one hundred percent! The neat thing is that if I fail, I can still self-publish. There's also a whole world of independent publishers in between that I can explore.
I liken the process to finding an agent to job hunting. It's not just about having the perfect resume, or in this case agent query letter, I believe it is just as much about networking and putting myself out there.
As I spring off my diving board and soar into that exciting land of limbo, I remind myself it doesn't matter how many "no's" I get, it only takes one "yes". Sure, a belly flop might hurt, but I can always get up and try again.