I don't know why I've written a second novel. I have worked and reworked it for several summers. It's much different than my first one and I truly love the characters that came from some mysterious place in my brain. I remember sitting on my deck one July afternoon and the voice of a young girl started speaking through my pen. Then came her mother's story of having her as a teenager and the voice of the gay man that becomes the third member of their loving little family. But the reality is - is it just another novel. The publishing industry has taken a hit just like all the other institutions in this country. I do not think I'm being pessimistic in saying the chances of someone publishing this novel is miniscule. Even before the recession of the American economy it was next to impossible. A writer will get dozens of rejection letters that state that the publisher or literary agency receives something like 12,000 query letters a year and they publish 10 books in that year. You do the math.
I am not a celebrity that can draw attention to a book cover and I do not know anyone in the publishing industry so I am screwed just like thousands of other sincere and hard-working writers of fiction.
Yet, today I spent another entire day of my life printing out query letters with specifications for each publisher or agent. Each one - if you do your "homework" as you are required to do - is different. One agent wants the first 10 pages, one wants the first 3 chapters, another wants a short synopsis, another wants a long synopsis. You must type the cover letter, or query, directly to a specific person who would be extremely interested in your type of book (again, homework ahead of time is key). I have had three agents express interest this past year. One asked me to send her the entire manuscript. I spent about $20 on copying it and another $5 mailing it. I lovingly sent my precious work off to California - and never heard from her. That was a year ago. Another agent actually called me and spent about 45 minutes discussing my first chapter with me. She liked it but required some rewriting. Of course, I immediately got to work. (Ask my writing group - I HATE rewriting!) I sent it off and - you guessed - never heard from her again. Another agent asked to read more, I sent more, but it was a no-go. (At least she responded.)
What is the point of all this whining? I constantly ponder this desire to write and tell stories. This crazy notion that I have something to say in a unique way. Why? When it will probably never amount to anything, compared to the countless hours of work I have put into it. A writer can spend years writing a book and then more years doing what I did today. Now I've discovered that it takes $30 to copy my complete novel. I spent $30 copying chapters to send out to 11 agents/publishers today and another $20 mailing them.
This is my third round for this novel. I've read time and again that PERSEVERENCE is the key to success - but I've done all this so many times - how long is long enough??? I think that if nothing comes of this day of effort I may just suck it up and self-publish again. Of course then there is the problem of marketing your own work, which I suck at. Maybe I'll just order 10 copies and hand them out to passing strangers on the street.
My daughter read my new book and names it as her favorite book. Maybe that's enough.