Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Strange World

I'm living in a land I don't care much for. It's that space between novel completion and agent acceptance known as the Land of Submissions. It's a wide open space, indistinct, with distant horizons offering no hope of change.

I wait, daily, for a rush of praise, as countless agents beat each other back for the honor to represent my work. At least, I used to wait daily. Lately I expect nothing, and when I get that rare email, or that self addressed, stamped envelope finally making its way home, I think nothing of the words on the page. I've become numb to rejection.

But that's how they say this goes. Rejection is part of the deal. A big part. I get that. I accept it. But just once, I'd like a glimmer of hope. I still have some. After all, there are agents I've yet to hear from. Certainly they're taking their time, rubbing the dollar signs from their eyes as they peruse my prose. But then I think, no. If it was any good they'd have picked up the phone before finishing the first paragraph.

So I sit and wait, knowing I should be continuing to write every day. But I don't. At least not every day. I know the rule. But I break it. After all, I may have wasted the last four years pouring all of me into a story no one wants to read. And then I get encouragement. But it comes from people who love me, so I have no choice but to dismiss it.

And then I get a new idea, and it fights with the others for precious space in my mind. Can I work on three stories at once, or will they all suffer. As it is, a little is being done on each, but not much on any.

And just when I think it can't get any stranger, iTunes plays Pleasure Dome by Van Halen.

Into a world so far from home
Rooms without doors open for me
Taking me miles and miles from nowhere

Alas, I am lost in my own pleasure dome.

Someone tell me this is normal.


Traci said...

LOL, Matt - yep, it's definitely normal. At least, normal for me.

I concur with everything you said. I've wanted to quit trying (to get published) dozens and dozens of time, but something always pushes me to keep on.

The statistics are awful - just the other day, I read that an average agent receives almost 800 query letters per week, and out of those, they'll maybe ask 3 or 4 writers to send chapters. For the rest, it's a NO.

I recently talked to someone about this and compared the experience to a lottery ticket. The odds of winning a lottery are super-slim. But I'll never (metaphorically) win the lottery if I never go out and buy a ticket. So, if I never send out my work to agents, I have 0% chance to get published. I guess I'd take 1% odds over none, lol.

Matt said...

I hear ya! They also say the odds of winning the lottery are worse than the odds of getting bit by a shark, or getting hit by lightening. Well, a couple of years ago, I was flying too close to a thunderstorm, and lightening hit the plane just outside my window. A couple months later, I was snorkeling in the keys and happened upon a shark. It didn't bite, but inspired me to buy a lottery ticket.
Needless to say, I'd have my own publishing company if odds meant anything.
Don't give up. I need people like you so I won't.

Traci said...