Dear Diary – Hear Me Roar
I’ve always felt like I was destined for big things. I know a lot of people say that, but I honestly thought that by the time I turn 30 (which is in a year) I would have starred in a few movies, put out an album, written a nationally best-selling series, write an Emmy-winning comedy, or be on my reality tv show. Since I was a child I’ve wanted to see my name in lights. Big, bright lights.
But at almost 29 and after the worst year of my life, I have no job (well a part-time job, but it doesn’t pay me much), I live with my sister, her hubs, and her kids, and I’m nowhere close to where I want to be. And since I’m no closer to anything I want, I often wonder what in the world I’m doing. I’ve written four books in the last 16 months. I’ve queried each of them. I’ve gotten requests for fulls. But I do not have an agent, or a book deal, or anything resembling either.
I’ve been spending a lot of time this week thinking about writing. With WriteOnCon this week, my brain has been spinning like crazy. If you’re not familiar with WriteOnCon it’s a free internet writing conference (for me, it’s great because I’m so poor it’s ridiculous). They have events scheduled for two days straight, all taking place online. And they also have a forum where you can post your queries, first 250 words, and first 5 pages for agents and other attendees to browse.
So I have a book that’s out on full right now with a few agents and a small press, and I thought, why not post it? I haven’t queried it much, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to put myself out there, which I always do with a healthy amount of trepidation, because while I open myself up for praise, I also open up myself for criticism.
So the thing about the forum is they ask that for every post you make, you comment on 5 other posts. Done. So I posted for my book and got some pretty good feedback. I mean, the thing to realize about forums is you have to take all feedback with a grain of salt. Some of the people leaving comments just started writing a book last week and have absolutely no idea what they’re talking. And then I think there are people on there that are just as mean as hell and want to make everyone’s life as miserable as possible.
My rule on posting on these things is to just leave general feedback, “Hey, this sounds great.” “This is a bit repetitive.” “I love where you’re going with this.” The thing is, I know how I feel when I get terrible feedback, and why in the world would I want someone to feel as awful as me? It’s one thing to get bad feedback from my CPs, because I know, trust them, and have asked them to be brutally honest. But I didn’t ask Joe Schmoe who hasn’t been writing more than a month to throw in his two cents when he knows next to nothing about this industry.
I think in the YA forums, there were over 500 queries listed for agents to troll through. And some of them get lost in the crowd, and I’m not sure every single one gets visited. And as I wait to hear back from these agents and small press who have my full, I wonder what I need to do have my voice heard?
Everyone says the writing business is subjective. IT IS. Editors are subjective. Agents are subjective. BUT SO ARE WRITERS. Because I want to write whatever the hell I feel like writing about. So dystopian isn’t selling, well, I’m still pretty fond of my dystopian story. My current MS on submission has been compared to a couple huge name titles in the same genre by agents, but it’s a completely DIFFERENT book as both listed. Yes, there’s a common thread, but I assure you I didn’t copy either of the books, nor do I expect my book to be as big as either of them. So I’m thankful for the agents who see something in it and don’t brush it off because it might sound the tiniest bit like another book.
Here’s something crazy, Twilight sold HUGE, but there a million other vampire books out there. And oh, The Hunger Games and Divergent are super popular, but I can name at least twenty other dystopian series I’ve read THIS YEAR.
So when and where will my voice be heard? What do I need to do for my roar to be louder than everyone else’s? Everyone says that writing isn’t a contest, and it isn’t because there’s room for us all. Agents are always looking for new authors. But the truth is, we don’t all get chosen at the same time. We get plucked from a jar of names like Katniss Everdeen. All our dreams don’t come true at the same time. It’s long and waiting is the worst.