May I first wish you a happy, healthy and productive 2015!
Well, when last I wrote to you, I had two agents who had asked for my manuscript. What I have learned from this step in the submission process is that when the agent receives your manuscript, it goes on a pile and you wait until he or she has time to pull your story from the stack and read it. I finally queried both agents to let them know that I was still waiting for a response. Both answered that they were very busy and would get back to me. I'm still waiting...
In the meantime, when I was on a trip in November, I stumbled across a panel of writers speaking about their experience finding an agent and being published as a first time author. You bet I was there - front and center. They were a mix of fiction, non-fiction and poetry writers. I felt much better listening to them because they all had had the same experiences that I have undergone - a never ending list of agent queries (hundreds) and an almost equal amount of "Thanks, but not for me." They spoke of entering contests to receive recognition and in the end, most had not been published for well over five years. But their best advice was not to sit and wait for an agent to swoon at your submission, but to start writing something new. In some cases, it was not their first piece that was published, but their second or third. Another point I found interesting was that they all resisted self-publishing. A message there?
I'm glad that I had done exactly what they said. I have just finished the draft of my second manuscript and I'm in the process of rewriting and energizing it, as I like to call it. In addition, I have begun two addition novels, one a sequel to the first that I've submitted and a totally different story based in Paris. They both have to be fleshed out. So, as you can see, I have much to keep me busy.
As I wish you a wonderful 2015, I want you to keep reading and most of all, keep writing, no matter how many negative responses you receive. Our writing grows in emotion the more we write, our word usage changes, we become less inhibited the more we write and our characters become more robust and 3-dimensional. I know this from my own experience.
I write because I love the process... I love creating characters and I love that they take me on an unexpected journey.