I've just posted on my blog an admission that I've given up on my previous book. It's finished and I'm pretty happy with it, but since it got back its last round of rejections from agents, it's just sat sulking on my hard drive.

Now, this isn't due to my fragile ego being unable to withstand another form dismissal, but rather because I'm already halfway through another novel and I've got a series of short films I hope to shoot soon.

What I'm doing now is immediate and exciting*, what I did then is... well, it's easy to forget about.

So, my question is, how do keep up your motivation for promoting your older material?

* - This is of course a relative term, even my most immediate and exciting project spends most of its time sitting around drumming its fingers while I procrastinate by surfing the web, watching TV or playing computer games.

Views: 10

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Picture a little juggler madly slinging batons in the air, praying not to drop one while someone is watching.

I kept my first suspense book juggled for nearly two years with national writing contests, pitches at conferences, and outright proposal submissions to agents and editors. And I was getting full requests and some attention, but just not enough. It was almost there, but not quite enough.

So I moved on, sort of. I hate not having a project going. So I got to writing & finishing my second suspense book while I continued my focus on agents. I knew with this new book that I had material to get noticed (mainly because my query letter was getting attention.) So I visualized myself selling that second book (its a Zen thing), with hopes someone might want to buy my inventory. Basically, that strategy worked in hindsight (making me look brilliant instead of downright lucky). I really didn't want to be that golfer who took credit for a hole in one.

But the point is to keep working and writing, while still sending out your work. Procrastination is NOT your friend. I know its tough--for a guy especially--but put the remote down and step away from the TV.

If you aren't getting attention on your queries, revise them. The objective to the query and sample proposal is to get a full request. At that point, the writing itself needs to be editor/agent ready. But I wouldn't send out a mass of proposals. Resist the helicopter ride over NYC tossing proposals to anyone below. SASEs don't generally survive the fall. Believe me, I know.

Give yourself time to see the results and make revisions before you send out your next batch. There's danger you can overexpose your material to editors too--giving any interested agent nowhere to take your work. Good luck in your new projects and keep writing.
So far I've been sticking to a query letter and sample chapters to three agents at a time, though after trying to identify the agents who might be most responsive, the list of agents who are left after only a couple of rounds of submissions is scarily short.
I've tried to avoid time travel since that time I went back and accidentally shot my grandfather, but it is true that whenever I go back to the manuscript I can get excited about it all over again. Maybe no one else likes it, but I do. The excitement ebbs when it comes to re-drafting the query letter or conjuring up a synopsis and then it's gone again by the time the rejection slips come back three to six months later.
There does come a time when you have to let the old novel go - there's certainly no point in endlessly circulating something that no-one wants to see.

When I finally managed to secure an agent, she asked to see all my old stuff. Before sending it out, I re-read it just to be sure it was up to scratch. Funnily enough, most of it wasn't. Not by the standards of the work that had finally caught her eye. My first attempt at a novel, a SciFi epic, was truly appalling in its execution, even though at the time I finished it I knew with a terrible certainty that it was the best thing written, ever. We have to hope that with each new story we get better. Practice makes perfect and all that.

So how do you keep up your motivation for promoting older material? Well, I may be wrong, but I'm not sure that you should. Certainly not constantly. And constantly rehashing an old idea can leave it feeling tired and dull.

Mind you, I got so dispirited with the whole round of query and rejection that I never even bothered trying to sell one of my books. Just rolled up my sleeves and got on with the next one. So maybe my advice should be taken with a measure of caution.
I have certainly taken that latter route in the past. Of the four books I've written, only two have ever reached a publisher or agent; the first one, which in my naivety I thought would naturally get published straight away and the latest one, which in my naivety I thought would naturally get published straight away. Perhaps my problem is that I too get dispirited with the rigmarole of posting off a submission, waiting, getting back a rejection and repeating - it's just not as fun as writing. Or, indeed, poking myself in the eye.


CrimeSpace Google Search

© 2024   Created by Daniel Hatadi.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service