Annie McMahon has been asking me for an OMG! story ever since I ran a post with that theme, so this post is for Annie. Not the OMG! story I hoped to write, but my story nonetheless.
At the time, I didn't think that was such a bad thing, since Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series was a big part of my inspiration for writing it. If you've never read the series, many of her books top 800 pages without breaking a sweat. Why should mine be any different?
Speaking of Diana, I went to a book signing of hers in September of last year where she told the large crowd about how she became a novelist. She started writing, sent a few chapters to another writer she met on the Compuserve Writers' Forum who recommended she sent it to his agent. She did, calling it a "rather long historical novel". The manuscript was not even finished, but that didn't keep said agent from offering her representation and selling it to a publisher in a 3-book deal something like 3 days later.
So, here's me, at the time, coming to the end of writing my most awesome tome, thinking I just needed to follow in her footsteps. No problem!
So, here's me, a year later, realizing what an absolute fairy tale that was.
I bought Jeff Herman's Guide to Agents and Publishers, crafted a query letter ("I've just completed writing my first novel and am excited to share it with you!"), and promptly queried 30+ agents. Fail.
I did some research and learned my word count was an issue and the genre I chose was a problem (is it women's fiction, chick lit, romance, paranormal, fantasy, what???). So I cut the novel in two, did some revisions and sent it out once more. Failed again.
So I joined Authonomy, Compuserve Writers' Forum, started a blog and entered writing contests to get feedback and connect with other writers. Some people praised my work ("SO FRAKING AMAZING!!") and some people cut me down ("the writing is Meh"), while others offered helpful, specific feedback. I revised again. And again. More queries. More fail.
I checked out books from the library on writing. I changed the genre to Young Adult, worked with some crit partners, did a full revision, cut out all the yummy sex scenes, joined WriteOnCon, joined Twitter, joined Wattpad and queried again.
Fail. Fail. FAIL.
So one year after typing the last words to my brilliant manuscript (which, I'll be honest, I still think is damn good despite all the evidence to the contrary), this is where I stand. Loving my book, my characters and the story; hating the process, the emotional rollercoaster and the subjective nature of publishing.
OMG! This sucks. That's the OMG! story I have to share. Stay tuned as I plan to share other "OMG! This sucks" stories I've been reading on other blogs.
I may have lost the fairy tale but I have gained some editing skills and a supportive writing community.
Win! *hugs to you*