What ELSE to do while querying agents
because that is exactly what I’ve been doing. Since I signed up for the Clarion write-a-thon, I’ve been kicking out an average of 1000 words a day on my new novel, MY DEAR WATSON. For the fundraiser, I have pledged to write 30,000 words in six weeks…well, now five weeks and 18,342 words. Like I said, a mofo.
If I keep up this rate I’ll be done well before the end of the fundraiser. Of course I will keep going, because frankly kicking out the jams like this feels amazing.
Why the change? Well, I’ve been querying my epic fantasy THE AFFLICTED, and I’d started working on the second book. I already had 40k written but I’d written those words in 2008 and well, I’m a much better writer now, to put it mildly. So I was looking at a massive restructure and rewrite. And at some point, while I was struggling to figure out how much backstory to put in the opening chapters, I came across several agent blogs, all of which said “UNAGENTED? DON’T WRITE THE SEQUEL.”
I did not react well.
But eventually I came to grips. Say I do not land an agent on this go-round. (I’m getting some encouraging nibbles, but no one is blowing up my celly just yet). When the dust clears, what am I left with? One unsaleable book I poured my heart into, and half an even-less-saleable sequel? Welcome to Depression City, Pop. ME. I don’t want to do that to myself.
Fortunately, I do not lack for novel ideas. I have several more novel ideas. So I picked the one I’m most excited about and ran with it. And either way I win. Because I’m already as in love with my WATSON characters; my mage Zel Baker, her hapless but lovable apprentice Merre Watson, and their mysterious friend “Boil” aka John Avery, as I’ve ever been with my concubine Sahrel and all her friends and foes in the Afflicted universe.
I know, I couldn’t believe it either, considering I’ve spent the better part of a decade wandering about in that other world, but it happened, and it happened fast. So fickle-hearted, we writers.
The bottom line is, if I sell THE AFFLICTED, I already have another novel to pitch. If I don’t sell THE AFFLICTED, I already have another novel to pitch.
It’s Win/Win/Win. So if you’re also looking for an agent right now, I strongly suggest you do the same. Start a new, totally unrelated project today! After all, the whole querying process is much less frightening when you know you’ve got another ace up your sleeve.