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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Post-contest musings

It’s amazing how the advent of Twitter and Facebook has created a community where aspiring writers are able to support and promote each other.

I’m currently participating in #AgentMatch, hosted by the dynamic Samantha Fountain @FountainWriter.  During this event I’ve made a number of new Twitter friends, traded manuscripts with one whose book I was dying to read, and have watched as other enormously deserving writers’ queries have received requests from agents…

…And listened to the deafening silence on my entry in regard to requests. It’s always a humbling thing, having poured so much creative energy into my manuscript and having revised the query at least fifty times. I went into this with a calm heart, because I believe in this manuscript, and I know that eventually it will see the light of day through an agent’s notice or a small press’s vote of confidence.  But it’s still a little stinging to the ego when your work is passed over.

Those of us who haven’t seen any action on our entries (most of us fantasy and sci-fi authors—drat the market, anyway!) have banded together, and have been reminded why we do what we do by the positive support offered from our peers.

We love to write.

We each have a dream to share our work with others. For me, it’s a desire to give somebody else the joy I experience as a reader, of becoming immersed in a world that exists only in imagination, to live vicariously through the characters and as a result dream up fantasies of their own. Maybe even be inspired to write, as I was.

I wondered aloud in the Twitter-verse about what writers did before social media to support each other. I can imagine lots of lonely nights in front of a typewriter or a legal pad, scribbling away, with no way to reach out immediately to other authors and say, “Do you ever just feel like giving up?” “Do you have any tips on how to polish up this chapter?”

It’s no wonder there’s a stereotype (still relevant, if references to wine are any indication in the Twitter writing community!) of the lonely scribe, drinking at their desk as they peruse their latest draft. It’s still a solitary business, creating worlds on paper. Non-writing spouses don’t always understand the creative need; children know Mom or Dad love their computer a lot and are grumpy if writing time is interrupted. Those of us who have supportive friends and loved ones are very lucky, but at the end of the day, it’s still just us.

And only another writer, one who feels the spur of the muse, can truly understand the drive, the joy, and the disappointment.

So, as I revise this query for the bazillionth time in preparation for a new round, I am grateful for the support and friendship of other authors. We can do this.


  1. It wasn't just SFF that's been having a tough time. I haven't had any interest on my adult contemporary, but I haven't been pimping it and I haven't been too fussed by it. Mildly disappointed, sure, but I'm buried between thrillers and romances.

    Literary stuff is always a hard sell, and now I know that next time there's a contest like this, I'll go with one of the shinier genres, or pitch this one differently. I've learned so much from this whole AgentMatch process, and it's been invaluable. I realize it's not over yet and Samantha has a big announcement on the way (exciting!). Continued good luck to you with your book. There's a place for all of us!

  2. I read this post in between re-writing my query letter for the 51st time and queasily pushing the refresh button on Sfountain's site. Thanks so much for writing this! It's hard to know how to best balance the creative highs and rejection lows that come with writing, and I have noticed on Twitter that even those who already have one (or more!) requests are still hoping for more and increasingly disappointed as they wait. Contentment truly does come from within, not from external validation, but dang it, it'd be nice to sell a book too! :) Keep fighting the good fight and know there are people out there who NEED to read your story and it's your responsibility to weather all the disappointment it will take to get it into their hands. Thanks for sharing.