It always feels a bit sticky to mention that I’ve written several novels at this point and pitched them to agents without ever catching enough interest–and I think another sign of insecurity is that I’m always compelled to mention, immediately after pointing out that failure to get an agent, that each successive failure has been sunnier than the last.
With the first book, two agents expressed middling interest, requesting more pages than I’d submitted with the sample, and then turned it down..
With the second book, I think it was four or five agents who requested additional pages, with one agent requesting the full manuscript.
Third book got more consideration.
Fourth book got even more consideration.
Part of the reason I’ve been slow with every other creative venture I’ve got going at the moment is because I’m working on a novel, something I’ve been thinking about for years. I just figured out how to work its premise. I’m writing about four thousand words a day. And I think I’m past the halfway point of the story. Roughly. Probably.
I’ve got a little more than a hundred pages done, and I’m pleased with it so far. My hope is to wrap things up in the area of 220 pages. Which seems like a friendly number for a debut novel.
“For only 220 pages of your time, I, a stranger, promise to make you feel something.”
The book has no title yet, the story’s just pouring out at a good pace for now, and I’m content to leave it at that.
Every book I’ve written and pitched has failed to attract an agent and, to date, only two of the four have been read, in their entirety, by anyone at all. Which is a bummer, but also a saving grace, because as I get farther and farther from those books, as my aesthetic and standards change, they kind of embarrass me, and I’m glad to not be held accountable for them to a readership.
With each of those earlier books, I got excited in the writing, and hopeful in the pitching, convincing myself that this was going to be The One. My Ticket. That the book would attract an agent, it’d sell, and maybe I wouldn’t make much money off of it (at one point, in working with a ghost writer after college, I was surprised when a big shot New York client of ours sold his memoir for like $7,000–whereupon I was told that he was lucky to’ve gotten that much) but that the money wouldn’t matter. The point is that the door would be open. I’d meet people, take a seat at the publishing table, and embark on my future.
I’m not sure if that’s in the cards for me but I do find the writing, editing, and even the pitching of a novel to be a good time. Imaginative. Tedious at times but mostly pretty exciting.
So I’ll give it another big shot with the book I’m working on now. And, against all good sense, I’ll get my hopes up too.
But if, after a couple months on the market, it’s met with the same response as earlier efforts, I think I’m in a good-enough headspace now, and sure enough of my work, that I’ll self-publish.
Self-publish, and move on.
Enjoy the process and not focus on the result.
I look forward to sharing it with you, some way or other.