Friday, March 11, 2011

Try, Try, Again

More than a week has passed since the rejection e-mail turned up in my in-box from the agent of my dreams. Rather than the disappointment you would expect, I'm humbled. There's a lot more to this writing thing than just writing a good book.

I did not take the rejection personally. The 'no' didn't have a thing to do with Glass Houses. The simple truth: I got rejected because of my amateurish query and synopsis.

There's no point in trying to submit Glass Houses anywhere until the issues with my synopsis and query are resolved. It only took about six months to write the book--a remarkably short time. I've rushed into a thousand different things only to discover too late I was in way over my head. I'm OK with the delay. Failure is just not an option.

Take the synopsis (please!). I wrote a one-page Cliff's Notes version of the book. I didn't realize the synopsis is for the inside cover of a hardback book or the back of paperback to entice you to read more. My synopsis is so complete you don't need to read the book. Now that I know I can fix it.

Improving the query is a bigger challenge. Online resources are just too generic to be very helpful. The only way to move forward is to get individualized help from someone more knowledgeable than me.

A few friends have suggested finding a local writer's group. So I Googled "Athens Writer's Groups" to investigate my options. I e-mailed the convener of the only group I could find about my dilemma and attached Glass Houses. He replied a few days later with positive comments about his "quick glance" at the manuscript, a brief note about the group, and an invitation to attend the next meeting. I was in.

The group meets next weekend. The convener invited me to submit part of Glass Houses for discussion. I thought submitting anything without having attended a meeting or two would be rude and declined.

Yesterday I received an e-mail message with submissions for discussion from three members of the group who are ready for feedback. I've already read all three. One is the beginning of what could be a very interesting memoir, the second is several chapters from the middle of a vampire novel, and the third is part three of a fantasy novel.

I had no trouble finding something to like about all three pieces. Even coming into the middle, both novels were interesting. I was especially impressed with all the dialogue in the novels. Having written Glass Houses I had a much greater appreciation for the work involved. I look forward to sharing my opinions with the writers when we get together and hope my comments will be helpful.

It might take a few months for me to get some feedback on Glass Houses. I don't mind. In fact, a little time between the rejection e-mail and my next submission is a good thing.

I figure that first query and synopsis were forgettable. In fact, I'm counting on it. I'm trying again with a new query and synopsis. The agent of my dreams hasn't heard the last of...

The Crotchety Old Man

1 comment:

jg said...

Michael---great plan; & you'll be an asset to the group, making it more electric & fun! Keep me in the loop.

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