First I lose my name, Sharon Kane, and then I lose the Minotaur contest. I really didn't expect to win, but I thought a critique would be forthcoming.  Am I delusional to think I was worthy of a critique?  What was I thinking?

 

Truly, I'm not whining, I'm confused at my own actions. I sent a query to six agents before the contest--one requested the first fifty pages. I sent them to her. She responded quickly, said she loved it, and requested the full ms. Did I send it?  Noooo, I decided to enter the Minotaur contest instead.  Again... what was I thinking?

 

Last summer I met an editor, in a waiting room, at New York Hospital. The retired editor felt our meeting was serendipitous, long story short, I sent her the ms.  She loved it and compared me to Janet Evanovich... a blend of crime and comic relief. This lovely woman went on to say that I should start the sequel right away because the publishers will expect one to be in the works.  Did I start it? Noooo.  It's apparent I'm not thinking, I'm floundering! 

 

Obviously the road is difficult enough without me setting up my own roadblocks.  Any suggestions?

Oh, if you're thinking therapy... my friend is a therapist and she said, "Get over it and get on with it!"

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Refine your query and send it to twenty more agents. if all of them reject, send it to twenty more. Repeat until you've exhausted all reasonable possibilities.

Then put that book aside and write another one.
Sounds like a plan. Thank you for your advice.
Learn from your mistakes, that's what you do. Why not contact the agent who requested your full and ask her if she'd still like to see it? The worst she can do is say no. Same for the editor -- call/email and ask if she's still interested in the MS. Pick up where you left off before the contest.

As for starting a sequel -- maybe you 'should have,' but I'll bet there are at least fifty writers here who don't do what they 'should.'

I don't think you should be quick to judge yourself as putting up roadblocks -- you may just be feeling your way along the rapidly-shifting ground of modern publishing, like a lot of us are, trying to figure out the next right thing to do. Don't let it fool you into thinking it means anything about your writing. If it turns out you ARE throwing up roadblocks, maybe all that means is you don't feel your work's ready to publish yet.

As long as you're writing, and enjoying writing, that's the important thing.

MK
www.minervakoenig.com
I did contact the agent last week. Usually, I am brutally honest, but for some reason I couldn't admit that I ignored her request in order to enter a contest, instead I fibbed. I can't believe I told the agent that her request for the full was sent to my spam box and I just discovered it (which has actually happened with other friendly emails) and would she like me to send the ms via email now. She didn't respond, I got what I deserved. Moreover, you are right, I will learn from my mistakes. Next time the fib should be more creative. Only kidding. :-)

Thank you for your advice.
Your mistake was in counting on a positive response from the contest. Contests are ever a crapshoot--as much about who you're competing against and what the judges ate for lunch as they are about the quality of your ms. Easy to see that in retrospect, I know. Get back in touch with the agent who asked for a full read, and the editor who liked your stuff. Work up a synopsis of a proposed sequel, and then write the first couple of chapters. Get back to querying. Contests are great, but waiting around to win one is like waiting for lightning to fire up your barbecue. Way cool if it happens, but those steaks are going to get all green and funky in the meantime.
You're right, I was counting on a response even after I knew the judge reading my ms was on deadline. Duh!
Please read my reply to Minerva re: fibbing to the agent. At this point I'm hoping the rockier the road, the better the ride will be in the end.

I will get back to querying and work on the synopsis as you suggested.

Thank you for your advice.
Oh, and what Minerva said. We all do weird, self-defeating stuff. I have incredible ADD--takes me hours of dithering before I can get to work each day (but then I work really fast). Plus, I have a wife and kids! And a full-time-plus teaching job! Totally gets in the way of being a writer. Did I mention that I enjoy a cocktail? And that I'm obsessed with boutique guitar gear? None of that helps me get my writing done, either. The point is that we're all fucked up in one way or another--that's what makes us interesting enough to have something to say. I know a lot of writers, some of them pretty famous, and I've never yet met one that was any good who wasn't at least half crazy. Goes with the territory.
Thank you for putting my wacky brain at ease in reference to self defeating stuff. When I focus I can get the job done, but getting me to that point can be a difficult task, I dither as well. I wrote the novel in thirty-one days. Then I did two re-writes because my friends said, "Too much information." I think I stopped writing because my thoughts weren't on a sequel, they were somewhere else.

Thank you for letting me into your world for a peek. I appreciate your honesty and I'm going to take your advice and the advice of the other friendly writers in this forum.
All of the above. There was nothing to prevent you from entering the contest while editors and agents were looking at your manuscript. And the Minotaur contest, like the Private Eye contest run by the same publisher, gets an enormous number of submissions. It is impossible to critique each one. Finally, judges are frequently overruled by the publisher who has final pick.

Immediately do what Minerva suggests and contact the people who showed an interest.
That makes a lot of sense. Thank you for filling me in on the process.
All of the above, and don't be discouraged. I wrote a PI novel about ten years ago, and found an agent for it. I continued writing the series while she looked for a publisher. A couple of years down the road we parted ways amicably. The book hadn't sold, and I wanted to take the series in a different direction than she envisioned. I found another agent for the second book I wrote. She tried to sell it and I kept writing. She was enthusiastic, but couldn't sell it to a big New York house, and wasn't interested in looking at the smaller houses and working up. I held off on the series for a while and wrote a standalone, which she had no interest in. We also parted ways--not as amicably as with the first agent, but that's half due to my inexperience with how to handle the situation--and I wrote what might be the start of another series. I took a break from that to re-write some of the second PI story, a full manuscript of which is in the hands of an agent as we speak.

So it's frustrating. I have five books in the drawer, with a sixth near completion. Two agents have liked my work enough to take me on, and the third passed on the manuscript because those types of stories aren't selling now; she was quite complimentary about the writing. (Which was why she asked for the full she's looking at now.) I can't help but think I'm close, but I've been close for a while now and it's been ten years and almost seven books.

It's alternately frustrating, discouraging, and frustrating. A writer I respect greatly recently reminded me that a professional is an amateur who didn't quit. Hang in there and keep plugging away.
With each response I learn more. I must thank you for being so candid. You have accomplished so much and here I am complaining about floundering. I wish you the best of luck and hope you will be announcing good news to the forum in the near future.

I'll hang in and start writing again. Thank you!

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