Monday, September 15, 2014

Now what? A novel question

So I finished my novel.

Now what?

Several of my friends, no doubt weary of having heard about this phantasmic work for years now, have asked me what I do next. When will I publish the book? As if they somehow want physical proof that all that whining and crying and groaning and optimism quickly followed by deep depression was for an actual thing. 

As if.

I've invented some admittedly uninformed response that involves having people edit it and then looking for a literary agent.

From what I've read about the process (which isn't much) after spending anywhere from months to years to an eternity querying agents, I then have the opportunity to face another gauntlet of rejection as said agent attempts to sell said work to a publisher.   

It's probably better that I haven't done any adequate research on getting published -- I feel pretty defeated with the minimal amounts of information I have. I can't imagine how any responsible wannabe novelist who actually studies up on how to get published actually follows through on any of it.

It stands to reason that only the most blindly optimistic of people enter into this journey. Which doesn't seem to describe writers at all. 

Anyway. Now what? I'll tell you. 

I found a few people who generously offered to read the first draft when they could be reading the final version of actual published books or watching the movie/TV spinoffs anyway.

And now that I've re-read it, I fully understand the depth of their sacrifice.

I also picked up a copy of Writer's Digest yesterday. So that's something. I have to say I felt a little pretentious and a lot silly doing it. I felt like I needed to tell the cashier that it wasn't for me -- I was just buying it for a friend. "Of course," she would've said winking.

There's a list of "28 agents looking for new writers right now!" 

And then I scan the list and realize I really need to nail down the genre for my MS (that's manuscript -- it says so in the "industry lingo" breakout box). I can do this by process of elimination -- it's not a mystery, thriller, young adult, middle grade, romance or sci-fi. 

What's the genre for book about regular people dealing with upsetting, though not especially unusual situations?

What's that invisible literary agent? You say there isn't a genre for that because those books don't get published?

Hmm. How 'bout we just call it new adult? 

I guess I should also spend more time developing a social media presence so I can stalk reach out to potential agents and "tribe" members. Because shilling myself to strangers online while trying not to make eye contact with the pile of dishes in my sink and simultaneously blocking out the pained cries of my children who would prefer my phone be used for endless games of Peekaboo Barn or, better yet, not at all, sounds totally reasonable. 

As much as I love to hate on the writing process, I'm pretty sure this next phase of noveling will be a sinkhole of despair. 

You've been warned.

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