Whether I’m at a conference, on a writer’s board, or reading an email, the lament is always the same:
“I thought writing is tough…geez, that was a snap compared to sending my writing out for query. It’s soul-sucking to receive rejection after rejection. “
Dear New Writer:
Let me just say right now that this business isn’t a matter of slamming down few thousand words and bam, you’re ready to query. You’re up against many extremely savvy writers who understand how the business works.
In the grand scheme of things, who do you think an agent will more likely pay attention to; the new writer who knows next to nothing, or the savvy writer who understands where his book fits in the marketplace, his comparative titles, writes a thorough pitch that is all detail and not filled with description? My money is on the savvy writer.
It’s like the first year intern trying to perform heart surgery. He doesn’t have enough knowledge to do much more than make an incision. So why on earth would a patient ask an intern to clean out his arteries? He’s going to pick a doc who knows what he’s doing.
Take some time to learn the business, and this will cut down on your angst. Treat your writing as a business, not a hobby. There are many brick walls, and the more you know, the more likely you’ll be able to weather those tough times. It will also improve your writing.
I am the biggest fan of [insert genre here] alive, so why can’t I get noticed?
This may be the case, but it doesn’t matter one whit to an agent or editor. You have to learn how to sell your story in an effective manner so you’ll get partial or full requests. That takes understanding the business. Besides, what’s the hurry? It’s far better to know what you’re doing and be confident about it rather than scratching your head wondering why you’re piling up the rejection letters.
Overworked and Underpaid Editor