Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Holding Pattern

After a couple of weeks, it is safe to assume that the literary agent who never responded to your query is saying no in the way that is becoming standard operating procedure among literary agents.

Circling the publishing runway
After six months, with no reponse, I had no doubt that it was a no response means no sort of response, and I moved on. I moved on to the point of getting ready to publish the manuscript, which had been a work in progress for eight years of writing, revising and rewriting. The query process had run its course, the time period in which my historical novel is set didn't appeal to agents looking for specific eras (Elizabethan or Regency), and I was sure there was an audience out there for my prose.

The manuscript was halfway to being formatted for printing, and the graphic designer was putting together some artwork for the cover. Suddenly, I was back to circling the publishing runway. An agent asked to see the full manuscript after reading the first three chapters....six months ago.

If the opening chapters didn't dazzle back then, it's not likely that all of the chapters will suddenly sparkle in one agent's eye.

But maybe. What if. And all that other nonsense that keeps us dangling, just hoping to get an agent to bite.

The manuscript is in a holding pattern, with publication delayed until the agent can take a look. How long? If it took six months to tackle thirty pages, the whole novel will require a good ten months to a year. But I don't really want to wait that long. But it's the first book of a series, and if I can get my foot in the door with the first one, I stand a good chance.

Publication is postponed until the agent either offers or rejects. Or I get tired of the waiting, the uncertainty and the stress of the whole process, and tell the graphic designer to go ahead with the cover.

In the meantime, I'll work on something else to take my mind off the submission process. If I don't write another book or research the next installment, I'll be checking my e-mails countless times a day, like a pilot asking the tower if it's time to land or time to keep circling. We don't really have any time to waste like that, do we?

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