Once I finished the first draft of my novel, I sent it off to my best friend to have it edited. Not only is Nikki an awesome writer, but she also has a PhD in English. Actually, I think she is ABD (all but degree–she’s working on her dissertation) and I think it’s actually in TESOL. If you want to get technical. But the point I’m trying to make here is that she is WAY more than qualified to be editing my tiny novel.
Not every writer is so lucky. She is amazing, and I am thankful for her every. single. day. She blogs over at The Same Rainbow’s End. You should all check her out.
Right now I’m just waiting around for her to be finished editing so that I can make some changes to content. I really want to enter the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. But my novel is really nowhere near ready to submit, and the deadline is the 27th. Since entering the contest isn’t really the same thing as querying an agent, I’ve decided to submit anyway. Nikki has said she’ll have the draft back to my by tomorrow, so I’m going to get all I can get done this weekend and go ahead and submit.
One of my the people in my local writer’s group mentioned that he was going to enter the contest. He said he’d been drafting and editing his novel for three years. THREE YEARS. Immediately I felt inadequate (we writers are so very thin skinned). My first thought was, Do I need to spend that long drafting? And then I thought, My novel probably sucks compared to his! After a while I told myself, What an asshole. Three years. Humph.
It feels weird not writing. I’ve been working on it for so long that I don’t know what to do with myself. There is all this nervous energy that I need to expend…which is probably why I’ve been reading a ridiculous amount of How Not to Suck at Writing type books.
One of the things I read last night in How to Land (and keep) a Literary Agent is that we writers query too few agents. The book suggests that we need to query as many as 50 agents, even 100 if we feel like it. I was amazed that some writers only query a few agents and then end up frustrated when they’re turned down by all of them. When I was shopping my non-fic manuscript, I think I queried at least 60, maybe more. One of the things my mother has always said is, “The worst they can say is no.”
I live and die by that rule.
The author of How to Land (and Keep) a Literary Agent, Noah Lukeman, has been an agent (and writer, and lots and lots of other things) for years. He knows his shit. I don’t remember how much this book cost for my Kindle, but it was well worth the money. This book goes through all the ins and outs of the business, and one day (if I ever gain representation) I will be going back to this book for extra info about how to handle each step of the agent/author relationship.
Next on my reading list is a book about outlining a novel. I’m going to try this with my next book, which I’ve already begun outlining. I hate the idea of outlining, but I think that it will help to form a more cohesive plot line. With my last novel I made TONS of notes to myself. I made notes everywhere–on my iPad and phone, on my computer, on sticky notes, on notebooks, on random pieces of paper, on my hand. Once, I even made a note to myself on a diaper. I think that all those notes were helpful, but they would have been more helpful if I’d kept them all in one place and off of my child’s rear end.
Just a thought.