I got an email from Wil today, pointing me toward a particular entry in the Writer Beware! blog. In it, A.C. Crispin counsels writers not to sit around waiting for a single query, or even a partial-and-outline, to get a response. Her advice is to query widely (but targeted to the right markets and agents) and non-exclusively. She writes:
Waiting months and months on tenterhooks, without a word, figuring "no news is good news" is probably a flawed strategy. Go back to querying. Then if the agent or editor comes back at a later date with a positive response, you'll be pleasantly surprised, not a raving lunatic.Well, of course, that "flawed strategy" is pretty much exactly what I've been doing, lo these 14 months since sending my three chapters off to Tor. I've sent a follow-up letter, and J.S. was nice enough to ask them about my submission, but basically there's been no movement in all that time, and no response other than a verbal indication that PNH was familiar with my slush bunny. And what have I done in the meantime? I've queried one--count 'em, one--agent, and been all crushed when I got a rejection back within 24 hours. I've messed around with the Mages trilogy, but mostly just in the early chapters, making no structural changes in the later parts where the work is most needed. I've written one scene and most of another for The Mâvarin Revolutions, written and posted The Jace Letters, and, um, well, I've written for Wikipedia, which doesn't count for anything at all.
Y'know, if I want to be taken seriously as a writer and, more important, if I want to succeed and get the novels published, then I need to do much better than that. I need to be writing or revising some piece of fiction every night, as I was doing before I got sidetracked by school in 2002. I need to get over the fear of rejection, and send out lots of queries: send them, and then do my best to forget them. In short, I need to behave like a professional writer, even though I know I'm unlikely ever to make a living at it.
So I will. I can't point to much progress tonight, but I did type about 600 words of that Jor and Fayubi scene, and consider my options about how it ends. Friday night I typed up the previous bit of the same scene, and posted it on the fiction blog. I just forgot to mention it here. It's not much, but it's a step in the right direction.
Someone give me a shove, will you?