I finally heard back from the queries I sent out for my finished novel, and they’re all form rejections. Every single one thanks me for considering them but my work isn’t a good fit and they wish me luck in finding representation.

My first novel at least got two requests for more pages, but this one seems dead in the water. I really like it, I’m really proud of it, and I think it’s good enough, but apparently the agents I’m querying disagree. It’s really hard to feel like the gulf between me and a book on the shelf is so vast. I understand why agents are the way they are, I really do, but I am really frustrated with the system. It seems broken to me.

It used to be that an author wrote a manuscript and sent it to a publisher. Then the publishers were swamped, so agents popped up. Agents took manuscripts and polished them a little and used snazzy buzzwords to get publishers interested, and publishers liked that, so they stopped taking submissions from authors and agents became the standard. But now it seems like getting an agent requires several manuscripts, going to conferences, having a substantial twitter presence, and I don’t know, a pact with the devil?

I write because I can’t stop. When I don’t write, I feel broken. But there are so, so many people who feel the same way – writing is what they have wanted to do their whole lives, writing is life, and they’re all frantically doing all the things I’m doing and more in order to get noticed and published. I can’t go to cons. I’m not that great at Twitter. I’m trying to get myself noticed through the slush pile and it’s just really depressing.

I don’t know what to do about it. Someone out there must be waiting for a book about a girl who’s really struggling to cope after an accident almost kills her dad and her sister. A book about a girl who really just loves the snow so much that she’s willing to sacrifice everything for it. A book about a girl with a really complicated relationship with her mother. A book about a girl who kissed her best friend but he doesn’t understand her love for either the snow or her family. Someone must want to read about a girl who tries her best but is just so overwhelmed when she has to act like the adult she really isn’t. But I don’t know how to find that person.

I’m going to give my book a little break for now. But I’ll try again. Because I really think this book is good enough.

walkin’ off my first rejection letter

I’ve received my first rejection for this novel! My goal is to try and think of it as an important part of the process, rather than a discouraging slap to the face. It’s so difficult, because in order to do any of this – write a novel, revise it, and query it – I have to live with the astronomical hope that someone will read my query and think “that sounds so great! I want more!” and what an audacious, ridiculous thing to think! And yet, here I am. Putting my book baby in the hands of other people to discard at will.

I’m trying to stay distracted by doing too many other things, as usual. My Shitty First Draft of my next novel is crapping along merrily. I just finished performing Verdi’s Requiem in a choir of 150 with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and that was a pretty magnificent experience. I’m going to the gym, baking lots of bread and other carbs to make up for going to the gym, and working, parenting, folding laundry, and snuggling the cat. I’ve slumped a bit in reading since I finished my Lord of the Rings reread, but my son is really into the Moomintroll books, so that is high on the priorities list. I’m knitting a sweater. So you know, just a few things to distract me.

The polar vortex has finally buggered off, and with any luck Winnipeg will thaw out soon. It’ll be a muddy, slushy mess for a while, but soon I can drink tea on the deck and then I’ll be in heaven, even if I do get dozens more rejection letters. Onwards!