At my writer's group last week, we decided that we were each going to challenge ourselves this month: one woman is going to do the NaNoWriMo challenge, and two of us are going to (gulp) actually try to query real agents.
I know I did this once before and had modest success (a request for a partial and full manuscript)--but I haven't heard anything from them since and I'm also realizing how unusual that experience is.
So, over the last couple of days I've been polishing my query letter, my one-page synopsis, and the first chapter of my novel. And today--just now, actually--I sent the first of those letters off into the great abyss.
To be honest, it's terrifying. You'd think the process would be more hopeful. After all, what if one of those agents loves me? But right now, I can't find hope anywhere. Not in my cold fingers. Not in my tight stomach. And certainly not in my head--which, while it knows I've written the best story I can (for now), is pretty sure that the story isn't good enough.
But I still have to try.
It's been a long time since I tried to do something that I could potentially fail at. Usually I'm pretty good about hedging my bets. Still, I think it's good for me to stretch a little. And I did (do) enjoy the process of writing the story. I've learned a lot. (I'm also learning a little about how my students must feel when they turn a paper in.)
I'm almost positive one of those emails will be a swift "no" (I was trying to change some formatting and gmail read that as "send" before I was finished with the email so I had to send a very unprofessional apology). The others will probably be no as well. (And, for the record, I'm not looking for sympathy here. Just stating a fact. Publishing is notoriously competitive).
If something good happens, I'm sure you'll hear about it.
If you don't hear anything more from me here for months and months, you'll know how to interpret my silence.
If I feel anything at all right now, it's a little bit of relief. I've taken that first hurdle and survived. Now I just have to wait.