That is, however, only the beginning. Having self-published The Footsteps of Cain, I'm diving into the traditional publishing space with the new book. I'm ready to ride that thorny road, to enter that new, larger dimension, to weather flame and flood and see what I can see. Each evolution on this enlightening journey expands my understanding of its twists and turns. It might occasionally prick and scratch, but it remains one of the most personally rewarding enterprises I've undertaken. (Fatherhood does beat it like a rug, however. :) )
For those unfamiliar with the traditional route, it very closely resembles a job application process. Authors tend to go for representation--agents--first, because they can offer a whole world of aid in procuring a much-coveted publishing contract. They understand the industry, know what it is looking for, and have the resources to sculpt an author's book baby into an attractive package for publishers. To obtain an agent to represent you, you submit something called a query letter, which is essentially a cover letter to pitch your book and tell them something about you as an author. It has to be punchy, compelling, and brief enough for them to get through quickly as they have sometimes hundreds of other submissions to wade through. We must be respectful of their time, for shockingly there are a FEW other writers out there pursing agents.
So, my queries are going out, with the hopes that there will be interest and requests to see more from me, whether it be a synopsis, a partial or even full manuscript to review. They're going out in batches, because it is customary to receive many more rejections than further interest. This rejection rate is the reason there are thousands of authors on the floors of their livings rooms, RIGHT NOW, curled around their coffee tables and suffering existential crises.
I've come to accept the process of writing and sharing novels as one that exposes my soft, squishy flanks to the larger world. And yet, writers must write and story-tellers must tell their stories. If we don't, our heads would assuredly suffer a fatal rupture or combust or something. (I may not have done any proper medical analysis of such an event, but I remain an ardent believer nonetheless.) What's more, if we have the opportunity, or even better the more fortune-infused serendipity to deploy our strengths and chase down our dreams, then we owe it to ourselves to try...right? Write. (groanI'msosorry)
Whatever. Come what may, come the dragons of rejection and the ghouls of self-doubt, I've got my pokey-stick ready to defend myself. I've got chops, and grit, and the kung-fu of persistence on my side. I've got my bazooka of determination and my howitzer of a can-do attitude. I'm outfitted for mayhem, poised to bulldoze, and...uh...I may have gone too far. Which is good, because going too far is better than standing still! Yar!
And so, larger world, consider this MY job application. I toil on, scanning the skies for the magic carpet while idly pecking at this humble keyboard, spinning the tales I hope you'll want to hear. I smile, for I know I win either way. I work, for working catalyzes change, and change can come with one hell of an engine under the hood.
Speaking of work...back TO it.