I’ve done very little writing since Oona was born, but I’m still sending my book out to agents. It’s been rejected by about five (I’ve lost track), and three more have it right now. I took the time to read through it again and decide if I should revise further (in which case I’d hire an editor to help me) or just keep sending it out, and this is what I realized:
A few small edits were needed throughout, like an added sentence here or there
A section in the first chapter feels too rushed/summarized
The first 100 pages aren’t as good as the rest, and slow the book down a bit (and perhaps lose the interest of agents before they get past them?)
So I marked it up and made some of those revisions, and then started to chop the first 100 pages to really delete some chapters. Then I had doubts about deleting those chapters and decided I’d rather have an editor tell me to delete them than for an agent/editor to never have the chance to see them at all. So I left them alone. And I fiddled with the first chapter, then put it back the way it was. Then I read a “How I Got My Agent” post on the Guide to Literary Agents blog and felt so much better about my book. The woman submitted her manuscript, worked on it for another year, submitted again, edited more, submitted again, was still rejected, and on and on until she got offers from two agents, and chose one. Somehow I had it in my head that if the first five agents rejected me, the book just wasn’t good enough and needed more revision, even though I’ve heard a hundred stories about people getting rejected 50+ times before finding an agent. It made me think that I need to put my energy into finding an agent instead of revising my book (although I do still want to make some more small edits.) I haven’t gotten far in creating a list of people to query, but I did query three more, and two requested to see it. So I just need to continue on down that path. My “goal” is to find an agent by the end of the year, but I have so little control over that outcome. A better goal would be to name a number of agents that I’ll query by the end of October, or mid-November. A start would be to create that list.
I’m anxious to get started on my next book, and I feel like I would have made much more progress by now if I a) weren’t still focused on getting an agent for my first book and b) didn’t have a screaming newborn. I guess once I go back to work in a month, that will be my priority. Right now my priority is getting some sleep and remaining sane while caring for a toddler and a newborn (and Martin is going out of town for three days on Monday! Lord help me!)
Meanwhile, I’ve managed to read a little here and there (not as much a I’d like). Just finished The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I liked it. I don’t know if it’s my favorite book, but I did like it. I would have enjoyed more time with Kakuro and less time reading the musings of Mme. Michel and Paloma, but it was entertaining. I haven’t decided which book to read next. I have several on my nightstand, and none of them appeal to me right now. One I DO want to read after reading Elegance, is Anna Karenina. If only I had a Nook, I could download it right now! I think I want a Nook for Christmas.
Signing off to do some chores (THEY NEVER END), and to try to read myself to sleep.