Discouragement… or Fear?
I know I haven’t posted since we got home from the hospital. Part of it is that we’ve been busy. Christopher took up a lot of time – just being a cuddle bug, etc. School started for the girls. School started for Matt. School started for me. Doc appointments. Everything else.
I got a phone call a week and a half ago asking me to teach another class on a different campus [the college I teach for has several throughout the area]. I took it – a bit grudgingly because the campus is FAR [though not as far as the others]. Turns out, it actually takes me LESS time to get to that campus than it does the main campus because it’s highway the whole way instead of through town. It’s farther but the time difference is negligible at worst [though that may change with inclement weather – we’ll see]. That’s good. I know the guy who does the scheduling on that campus and have for years. He’s already promised to get me on the schedule for spring. I LOVE it there and would gladly teach four classes out there and none on the main campus if I could .
So… discouragement. I’m feeling discouraged even though I know I shouldn’t at this point. I have two friends and one other person I’m connected to with books either out, coming out, or in negotiations. Karen posted yesterday that the book she ghost-wrote and submitted six weeks ago to their FIRST CHOICE publisher is on to contract negotiations. That is insanely fast. Kristen posted this week that she started her blog less than a year ago and her Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast is coming out in December. Also insanely fast. And in color! Angela, my fabu webmistress lady, is the daughter of Joyce Ann Rose who has her first book signing today [I think it’s today – it may have been yesterday]. Erin posted a week or so ago that she’s working on her third book and wants to have it done by November so it can be out in May. Her last book did very well for the market it’s in. She didn’t even laugh at me [at least not in the email!] when I offered to help her beta or brainstorm or whatever . Have I mentioned I love Erin?! I am so happy for her and so proud of her!
All that to say… I am feeling a bit discouraged. I know I shouldn’t be because I’ve sent out THREE queries, all to agents I was fairly certain would reject them and they did – in a timely manner. I haven’t sent ANY to my top choice agents because once I do, if they reject me, I’m done. As long as I don’t send them, they can’t reject me. But if I don’t send them, they can’t accept me either… I know this but I’m in one of those ‘what makes me think I can do this’ phases. I hate it. I know this is something I’m good at. I’ve had two friends read Unbreak Her Heart this week and they both enjoyed it very much. The one thing that one of them had an issue with is one thing I knew I might end up changing if an agent/publisher said I needed to – it’ll be a pitb to do but I can do it [first to third person – oy!].
So why am I discouraged? I’m not really sure. I want this so badly and it’s scary to put yourself out there. Maybe I’m not discouraged. Maybe I’m paralyzed by fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of not just rejection but mean rejection [not just a chintzy form letter but ‘You stink! What makes you think you can write?!’ coming from an industry respected agent – not that I have any indication that any of them would do such a thing of course]. Even… fear of success?
Maybe, deep down, I believe the record player that’s been stuck in my head for years – the one that says I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough and no, people really don’t like me. [Anyone catch the reference? ] I’ve been working for years to change the refrain in my head, Matt’s been working for years to change it, but it’s still there and I still believe it.
Knowing what I’m fighting against is half the battle, though, right? What is it about writing it all down that makes it seem so silly? I’m so very happy for Karen and Kristen and Erin – and Ang’s mom even though I don’t know her.
So I’m going to wallow in some Andy’s for a bit later today, brush myself off and ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’. My goal for the weekend is to get query packets together for the agents I want the most and then take them with me to my Bible study group on Monday night and hope I have the courage to ask the ladies there to pray with me over them. That they would go to the right people on the right day while he or she is in the right mood to be receptive.
So new plan for the weekend: Write Jeremiah 29:11 on my mirror in big letters. Clean the kids’ rooms [sadly that part doesn’t change :p]. Go swimming with the neighbors. Finish research the CBA agents. Rework [again!] my first ‘hook’ sentence so I can get the packets together. Email the equeries. Print the rest and get them all in appropriately addressed envelopes. That’s the plan anyway . I’ll let you know how it goes, especially since there’s a book I’m dying to read waiting for me at the library! Look for a new feature – What I’ve Read Wednesday – starting this week!
Carol, I don’t know if this helps, but I tend to be paralyzed by fear, at exactly the same place where you are — 95% of the way to the finish line. I think it really helped to be a ghostwriter, because I could much more readily believe in the project of someone else. It’s funny: Just before 2010, I set for myself a goal of writing a book within the year. At that time, I had no way to anticipate that I’d be asked to join the project that I’m now seeing into reality. So, goal achieved? Or not? IDK.
It did help, though, having someone from the publisher tell say that I ghost-wrote well enough to do it full-time. That was pretty amazing to me, because I, too, tend to vacillate between being pleased with myself, and completely doubting my abilities. 🙂 I’m actually really pleased about potentially ghostwriting more books… there are a few more potential projects on the horizon.
That said, I do think it is puzzling why you won’t submit your ms to the agents whom you anticipate meeting later this fall, your preferred agent(s). You said you don’t want to meet them if they’ve already rejected you. But, who’s to say that they might not change their mind upon meeting you? You send the query (or the ms, or whatever), they reject it, you meet them, they change their mind. It could happen! It seems to me that sending the query/ms would be a good idea no matter, because it gives you an “in” — “Nice to meet, in the flesh, the man who rejected my ms a couple of months ago!” or something like that…
Go you on the ghost writing! And yes – I’d say you’ve written a book [though Jan and I would love to have you join us for Nanowrimo – I’d bet a couple of your kiddos could do it for school if you wanted]. I’ve had several people I know would be harsh critics [no names here] say they love it which helps a lot.
There’s about 15 CBA agents who do 95% of the Christian market [you are in the other 5% at the moment]. Of those, several are not taking unsolicited queries, cutting the number to about 8 [another one who was probably #2 on my list just announced this week that she’s not taking anymore until she announces otherwise]. Of those, I plan on having sit downs with 2 or 3 in November at the conference. The sit down will include them reading the first 25 pages or so [I forget the exact number but something like that] of the book. I guess my thinking is that I don’t want them to pick it up for the conference and say ‘oh, I rejected this like two months ago’ and go into it with that preconceived notion.
So my plan is to query the other 5 or 6 by the beginning of September because most of them say up to 60 days or so to hear back from them. My top choice is Steve Laube in Phoenix [though the only thing that makes him stand out from some of the others is that he’s in Phoenix 😉 – that gets him a bonus]. He says two months. So, if I send them out in early September, I will have heard back from them by the time the conference rolls around and then when I sit down with Les Stobbe [Kristen’s agent] I can say ‘I was rejected by Steve Laube!’ – something which many well-known authors can also say ;).
And now back to cleaning because we’re supposed to head to the pool soon ;). Thanks for your support, Karen – it means a lot :).