With Thanksgiving behind us, it can only mean one thing: weeks and weeks of eating all varieties of pie.
Lovely, wonderful, oh-so-tasty pie.
For the less pie-minded members of the world, it also means we’re nearing the end of 2017 and have officially entered that period of time which the ancient ones long ago dubbed “Ye Ol’ Season When Measurable Process is Least Likely To Be Made“1. They were presumably talking about activities relevant to their day–pottery, wall paintings, or foosball tournaments–but their primitive wisdom still rings true for a handful of modern endeavors… things like beach volleyball, yard sales, and–most relevant to this site–publishing.
Even as aspiring authors the world over are using the holiday vacation to whip their manuscripts into shape, a large number of literary agencies are hunkering down for the winter; drinking spiked egg nog2, eating copious quantities of ice cream3, and shutting their inboxes4 to unsolicited queries. With things at a temporary impasse on that front, this felt like as good a time as any to bring you all up to speed on what I’ve been up to over the past few months.
Following an inconclusive response to my initial (and exclusive) query for See These Bones–and by inconclusive, I mean the agent in question never responded5–I did another pass on the manuscript, tweaked my query letter, and got down to the serious business of emailing random individuals on the internet in the hopes that they would want to be my friend6. To date, I’ve sent out twelve queries, including that first query, and gotten three rejections (not including the first one, since that particular agent, again, fled screaming in terror to a country that presumably lacks email or basic sanitation).
Twelve is not a large number, when it comes to queries, and three rejections falls just short of being a trend, so I’m staying optimistic for the most part. I have a short list of additional agents who I’ll query once the new year hits and we move into that period of time the ancient ones dub “Ye Ol’ Season When Money is Scarce Because Christmas Is So Damn Expensive”. Regardless, I don’t expect to have anything in the way of news (positive or negative) until sometime after the holidays. With any luck, I’ll at least get a partial request or two.
On the writing front, I’ve done very little beyond the aforementioned query letters and manuscript editing. I did manage a few thousand words for my new short story7 but haven’t so much as looked at it since early October. The plot itself is entirely mapped out in my head, but the voice and style–both of which are wildly different from anything I’ve done before–are proving a bit more difficult to pin down. With my own holiday vacation looming, I’m hoping to make some progress on that front. The completed story should end up being roughly twenty thousand words in total… basically a solid week or two of writing, provided I can get into a good groove.
I’ve also been dipping my toes back into poetry a little bit, something which always seems to happen this time of year8. After almost twenty years of procrastination, I’ve submitted several of my poems to two different literary journals for consideration. The poetry submission process is a thousand times easier than querying for a book, but the potential wait time is, if anything, even longer; I should know if any of my poems have been selected sometime in the next 4-6 months. Anything that does get published will eventually make its way back to this site whenever the rights revert9.
On the site front, not a whole lot has changed, as I’m sure most of you already noticed. I cleaned up some of the canned text on my two series, wrote one last blog post that you’ll see sometime in December, and pondered how exactly online advertisers were managing to use my site’s contact form to spam me without ever incrementing page views10. I also updated the dates on when I expect any of my books to make it out into the world. As productive as 2017 was from a writing perspective, it was equally unproductive from a publishing/self-publishing one.
2018 will be a different story… I hope. But whatever does happen, at least we’ll still have pie.
Sweet, delicious, decadent pie.
- The ancient ones sucked at naming things. Also, I’m pretty sure there was originally a forsooth or verily in there somewhere.
- I’m assuming.
- I’m hoping.
- But hopefully not their hearts.
- He may also have abandoned Twitter, changed his legal identity (and his face), and fled to countries without extradition treaties with the USA
- And… you know, represent and sell my book.
- Set in the same world as See These Bones.
- I’d blame the ice and snow, but… I live in southern California.
- Most literary magazines request exclusive rights for a certain amount of time (as well as credit for initial publication) before the content is posted elsewhere.
- The obvious answer: sorcery!