Monday, October 19, 2009

Perspective and the Great Agent Goosechase

Welcome to another week in figuring out the market, aka the Great Agent Goosechase, (no acronym intended). 

There is an insightful post by Shelli at Market My Words that takes a look at where the unagented among us are heading. I like it because it's all about perspective. Once we find an agent who wants to represent us, it's not like all our anxiety will disappear. There is no finish line, or at least I can't see it that way. Accomplishing one goal sets other goals in motion, and we have to be both nearsighted and farsighted. We need to focus on details down to each word we type, and we need to focus on the big picture and the direction we're going, both at the same time.

Here's my difficulty. Three books in three different stages. (I don't count my first book because it was my learning book, and shall never again see the light of day. I know, I know, how can I abandon a story etc, but its banishment has allowed other books to live, so it was not written in vain).

For the purposes of keeping track, I shall assign them letters. 

Book A
  • As polished as I can make it. A story I really loved and always will... however, is it marketable? Gosh I hope so, but the next few weeks will tell. Agents will be the judges, and me, the lucky writer, will stick to my end of the work and keep writing.
Book B
  • Er, I thought it was perfect when I got to the end. Now I see its many flaws. Huge, enormous, embarrassing flaws. It's definitely like taking off the beer goggles. Did I really write all that? Actually, I don't regret it. I enjoyed writing it, it was fun, but I don't know... major work needed. Major thoughts on whether I should invest any time in this project.
Book C
  • My wip. I wonder if it was a mistake getting involved with this story before doing the rewrites on Book B... like I didn't give Book B a chance. But this one's got a lot more going for it. Seriously, I feel more excited writing about it than I ever did with Book B. My heart literally races thinking about it; it reminds me of my Book A days only better! Oh man, was Book B just a rebound? 
So that's where I'm at. Right now, I'm full-on focused on writing Book C. For better or worse, I barely give that middle book a thought. As for Book A... well, it's out in the world. The Agents have been goosechased and it's all about focusing on writing the one I'm writing. Where are you in all this? I know there are a lot of writers working on their first book... do you think about the story's marketability or worry that it will be the Notorious First Book that doesn't see the light of day? And those of you who've made it past the first book, are you also juggling a wip and querying completed ms? Are you focused only on the book(s) you've finished? Whatcha up to?


  1. Hey Diana - how was your weekend in the wild? Great post. I unfortunately am working on the novel that will probably be the one that teaches me to write, but will never see the light of day. I believe in it though so it's possible that if I put on the work and the research it could be something that I am proud of.

    I have an award for you at my blog Wendy gave it too you first, but I am echoing her opinion.

  2. Also good luck with your goosechasing.

  3. Ha! Thanks for the luck :) I wonder now, if agents might not appreciate being portrayed as geese... I use the term goosechase with utmost respect of course.

  4. I have three 'real' projects, and a couple of other first chapters.
    Book A is safely hidden in my hard drive, and although I love it, and the characters and bits of the story, it isn't a strong enough story for me to pull it around into something to send out to the world.
    Book B is the sequel to Book A. I think of A as the prequel, and B is the first in the series. I'm part way through writing that, but I've put it on the back burner for a while because I'd been playing with the same characters for going on 2 years, and I wanted a break so I could get my enthusiasm back.

    Book C is the current wip, it's a bit different, but I'd like to see where it goes. I'm hoping to get this out to agents early next year, if I can keep to my deadlines.
    When I do get to querying, I'll definitely have another project to be working on. I would have done that anyway, but it's something a lot of published authors have advised - get started on the next project, so you aren't sat doing nothing waiting to hear from people.

  5. Hi Ailsa, it sounds like you have a good handle on where you're going with your stories. Putting Book B on the backburner can be a great idea. When you go back to it you'll know whether the idea is strong enough to hold its own. Plus, usually the more distance between you and your writing, the easier it is to see the writing that needs to be cut.

    Good luck keeping to your deadlines, and don't forget to enjoy the process :)

  6. Still working on my first book. I don't know yet if it will be a keeper or one to put away forever.

    Good luck with the agent hunt! Just remember to keep a positive outlook...all it takes is just one to love your work.

  7. I think I'm living your life in a parallel world. Except my book B isnt finished yet. It's still in bits and pieces. But I love book c more. And we shall see what the universe has planned for book A. In the meantime I get to work on my toughest virtue, patience.

  8. Great question. I was working on my first book, and should have been finished it a long time ago... but the problem was, before I was even half way I knew there were issues. And the perfectionist in me refused to let those go. So I went back and changed it and then kept on writing, but then more problems cropped up that were connected to the original ones. Make sense?

    So I sort of lost interest. I still love the characters and the plot etc... and the writing is pretty good, but to finish it I think I'd have to go back and start from the beginning. Depressing right? Well, that's why I started this new story. I am already in love with it and have already avoided the minor errors that I made in the last book. It feels different for some reason. Better, which makes me hopeful.

  9. I have so many balls in the air I'm juggling. It's hard to say which I'll shelve and which I'll query out.

    Just my WIP list is thick.

    I think my recent entrenchment in rewriting is contributing to my insomnia. I have story-in-head build-up. It's time to move back to the WIPs. I need to complete some books to get back that loving feeling.

    So, I was on Meg Cabot's site today, and I read that it took her three years of non-stop querying to find an agent. Then, it took a year for her agent to find a publisher. For some reason, that made me feel good.

    It is interesting to think that this process isn't finished at any point and, despite what we might think, we'll never "arrive at a magical destination of no cares" so we might as well enjoy the journey.

  10. Melane- Aw thanks, I'm doing a bit to keep positive. There's this thing I have called a brightside-enator... well, in any case, it can tip me over into annoyingly sunshiney but mostly people tolerate me in spite of it. Very good luck in finishing your first project and in all the good stuff that comes with... and no matter what anyone says or blogs, always make sure to keep having fun :)

    Karen- Ha! Could be!! At least you were smart enough to stop writing Book B when you saw a lemon flying out of your brain :) I also had to learn about patience. I think, after more years than I care to admit to, I'm finally getting it :)

    Natalie- Hi there! See? You didn't have to finish your first book to learn from it. It sounds like you're putting all those lessons into your second book, very wise!

    Wendy- Yes, you're doing plenty of juggling. Correct me if I'm wrong on the number, but I believe I read on your blog that you have seventeen completed ms... that's some serious wordage and I'm impressed. And yes, you've been doing so good with rewrites you have definitely earned some quality time with a wip. Last thing, that Meg Cabot story is heartening; three years of non-stop querying, wow what diligence. I might have to print that up and put it on my laptop next to Publishing Rox.