If you’ve been reading along for a while, you know I wrote a novel. I self-published it on Amazon. That turned out to be less than wonderful. I don’t have any way to promote the book, so not many copies have sold. I decided to try to get an agent. I own the Amazon publication, and I can transfer it to any other publisher. I sent lots of queries to agents. I got some replies, all negative. One agent liked the book but said publishers had trouble with previously published books, so she passed. I have more than one book in me, so live and learn.
I’ve also realized that I could do a much better job with fiction. Writing for this blog isn’t particularly good training. Yes, it helps me sharpen my vocabulary and style. I’m writing in the active voice most of the time now. But it doesn’t make up for lack of knowledge when it comes to fiction. Fan Mail has gotten good feedback from people who read it. I got a lot of help from Mrs. Lion and Julie, who are both gifted bloggers. I’m happy with that story. That doesn’t mean I couldn’t do much better.
All those rejection letters are hard to ignore. I realize that at best, some student reader spent ten minutes with the story. Unsolicited manuscripts get little interest. That’s why I published myself. I’m in the process of writing a second novel. This one is proving much more difficult to write. I think that may be a good sign. My writing process is less organic. I’m trying hard to craft the story so that the characters have more depth. Maybe I’m kidding myself. It could be that my confidence is damaged, and I don’t trust what I write. I don’t know.
After I sent off all those queries to agents and started getting rejections, I stopped liking the 150 pages of my new book, which I had already written. I’m back on the first page again, struggling with the opening. I’ve been listening to the audiobook version of Stein On Writing by Sol Stein. He’s a famous editor and writer. He gives good advice but does nothing to improve my self-confidence. I’m not a quitter, but I truly don’t need to find ways to depress myself. Before I published Fan Mail and tried to get an agent, I was having a lot of fun writing; not so much now.
I don’t know any fiction writers, so I have no network to help me through this. In the meantime, I’ll keep slogging along, and when I get enough of the revision done, I’ll share it with my amateur editors.