As of now, I’ve sent out three agent queries about For the Birds and have received back one polite rejection. The agent I really hope to land hasn’t responded back yet, but her wait list appears to be several months long, so I am waiting.
I wrote this book with the full intention of experimenting with the traditional publishing process, so I expected to have to wade through the long process. And it really hasn’t been long at all, as I sent my very first query at the end of July. I plan to send out more queries (my goal is 1 new agent a week until someone bites). But there’s a part of me that wants to scrap the whole thing and go back to self-publishing because I believe in this book and know it will strike a chord.
That said, self-publishing is hard in its own right in that I am in charge of all creative control—as in, I’m the one responsible if it tanks. Past mistakes I’ve made are choosing the wrong title, wrong cover, mixing genres in a series, and not narrowing down the theme. My hope with traditional publishing is that the professionals will insert their expertise and make my book a better product. My fear is that they’ll wipe out all the interesting parts and make it forgettable. My biggest fear is that I’m putting too much faith in traditional publishing and I’ll be no better or worse, except will have waited a lot longer to get my book in readers’ hands.
Ah well, I will continue to query and remember that this book is my experiment, and I don’t have to traditionally publish ever again if this doesn’t work out.
The waiting game is hard, though. After years of publishing 1-2 books a year, I am now ending year two of not publishing anything. The last book I published was Numbered, and that was in 2019. To know that I’m sitting on a fully finished book that’s ready for publishing (as soon as an agent wants it!) is torture!
I will say one thing, though. Years of making mistakes have made me take a very long, curvy road with lots of wrong paths toward the destination of book writing success (which I have yet to reach). But this meandering journey has taught me so much! I feel like I’m so much better equipped now than I was before, and I have hope for the direction of my future books. I love the books I’ve written, and I believe in them. But I also know they’ve been worthy stepping stones in learning the ins and outs of how to produce a book readers want.
Thank you for taking this journey with me. Knowing I’m not alone, especially in times when I feel discouraged about all of it, has been a great comfort!