I know it's a bit late.
I actually love New Year's resolutions. They work for me, usually. I have a bit of a thing about finishing what I start - doing what I say I'm going to do. It's kind of how I wrote ten books. I used to write a song every month too. Every month. For a couple of years.
Anyway, this year, it didn't work.
My resolution? I was going to get one of my books traditionally published - or at least, get an agent.
There were a couple of problems with this that I should have foreseen.
Problem number one: most of my books are already published.
I had heard/read a lot of people saying you can't query a self-published book. I hadn't believed them. I should have - they were right.
In my defence, I tend to work logically with ideas rather than just believing what people say (especially people in Facebook writers' groups). Logically, a book can be trad published if it has already been self-published -- books sometimes are, if they are VERY successful. And how would an agent ever know my book had been self-published? They are pretty obscure, I can assure you! I can unpublish them at the drop of a hat should any agent show a sniff of interest. Some publishers even SAY they'll consider self-published books. (Honest).
Be organised, they said.
Ah! Problem number two: I'm not.
I looked into the whole querying thing -- the spreadsheet, Query Tracker and all that. The research. All those very well-presented people in photographs on websites with their unfathomable wish lists and their unimaginable experience and qualifications. I flung out a few batches of queries. The more I looked into it the more sure I became that you have to choose. Self publish and you can't change your mind. No traditional publishing for you.
My latest book wasn't published at all, and my WIP was almost finished. That's two.
I polished up my query letter and had another go. There's a spreadsheet of successful queries someone's put together. It's mind-blowing. But I can't help thinking, OK, those WERE successful, you know, in the past. Who's to say what will be successful next week? Those agents can't want to read the same letter over and over again, can they?
You can see where this is going, can't you?
I did PitMad. It was GREAT FUN. Honestly. So much warmth and positivity. So much frenzied retweeting. So much brain going numb. What are the STAKES??
I got an agent like and a fake agent like.
The fake agent was hilarious -- she only had one author on her website and they hadn't actually written a whole book yet. She told me my sample was terrible and that I should show not tell.
The real agent was lovely - a bit absent minded, but very polite. I felt sorry for her. In fact, this is what I have decided. I feel sorry for all the agents. They have to wade through all the ridiculous unsaleable madness that writers churn out. I exchanged a few emails with this agent in the states who was a real person doing a job and I felt sorry for her because my book was nothing like what she was looking for. She was and is looking for something she can sell. Preferably something she can sell easily - something she can look at and know will make money without a doubt.
My book is not that.
I don't think any of my books will ever be that.
My book is too weird and quirky - too complicated, too challenging, too short, too off trend, too not-one-thing-or-another. It's too a-whole-range-of-things-I-can't-possibly-imagine. It might even be terrible, for all I know.
But I loved writing it and I love reading it, and I know at least a few other people who liked reading it too.
Of course I got a rejection. In fact I was surprised she bothered replying at all -- bless her.
I said there were a couple of problems with my New Year's resolution, but actually there are four.
Problem number three: I hate querying.
I hate researching agents.
I hate writing queries/synopsis.
I hate investing all that time in something that in all likelihood will result in absolutely nothing.
I hate waiting.
I mean, I'm 50.
Problem number four: I can't resolve to do something that's in someone else's power.
So I've made a new New Year's resolution - like I said: it's a bit late.
I'm going to self-publish my book (and my other book).
I'm going to promote them a bit on social media.
I'm going to sell a few, maybe.
I'm going to write another book. I mean, that's inevitable.