From the Speakers: DIAMONDS AND COAL by Incubus
With four days off a week, I've been writing more regularly than I have for a while. It's been great--I spent September working on a novel, lost a bit of momentum, decided I wanted to take a break and picked up on some ideas I'd had for short stories. Wrote many new ones, edited a few old ones, got some positive feedback from magazines.
And all the while, this novel called "The Duelers" I've had finished now for a year has been waiting, incubating. (Do "incubate" and "incubus" come from the same root?) For a few weeks I sent out a new query letter every day. My days off consisted of vigorous agent research, critiquing my query letter to perfection for that particular agent, and casting it into the water with a prayer. No bites.
Each new agent I discover and query seems PERFECT. I mean, their submission guidelines practically describe my book. They all seem enthusiastic and like great people to work with. Perhaps if they seemed like jerks it'd be less heartbreaking to constantly get form rejections from them. But then, I probably wouldn't query them if that were the case.
I'm not saying I feel like giving up. I approach agents like I'm Jimmy V, but that doesn't mean it isn't discouraging. And I keep hearing that it doesn't reflect on my book or me or my writing--the agent might have a full plate or can't afford to rep my genre at the moment . . . and sure, that makes me feel a bit better, but it still leaves me in the same spot: agentless, with a polished manuscript getting dusty and more unread every day.
Anyway, enough venting. Enough feeling sorry for myself. I'll keep on keeping on, fighting the good fight, until I'm successful. I've wasted enough time complaining, time to get back to work. One day this lowly aspiring writer will be on the top, helping young writers who remind me of me long ago. Even diamonds start as coal.