Querying is “good for you.”

I’m in the process of finding The Children of Lehom a home with a publisher, and it can be disheartening at times. The only consistent feedback I’ve had so far is that dystopian literature is hard to sell at the moment. There’s tons of it out there, and the market is saturated. My novel isn’t straight-up dystopian, though, because it has a strong romantic subplot and is also sci-fi light.

That said, the process of finding the book a home, with all of its mandatory trials and tribulations, is also valuable.

Wait, what?

Yes, I said that the process has a purpose. I came across the following blog post, and it resonated strongly with me:

https://writeitsideways.com/5-reasons-querying-is-good-for-you/

I won’t repeat everything here, but the author asserts that querying builds character, connects one to a larger community of writers, and functions somewhat as an initiation.

This advice is important because when a writer recognizes the value of working through a process, he/she opens up him/her self to the rewards that come from genuine growth. Just like writing is a process in itself, so is the work that comes after 🙂

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Balancing work and life…

As I query literary agents, I’m also writing the sequel to The Children of Lehom, thinking of ways to improve the first novel, working at my full time job, planning the next academic publication, and still spending time with my husband and dog. It can get overwhelming (to say the least!).

I came across Laura Vanderkam by accident. She quotes Ovid, who says, “dripping water hollows the stone.” This concept is true…at least when we let it be true. Small successes and achievements are enough because incrementally, they add up. We will see our efforts manifest if we have the patience and endurance to persist to that stage.

I’ll confess that patience isn’t necessarily my strong suit. Endurance I’m pretty good at. But patience? Sometimes 🙂  As anyone who’s queried knows, patience is required at this stage of publishing.

I’m not turning into a self-help-guru shill. Promise! I do, however, think it’s perfectly okay to glean bits of wisdom from people who have achieved a form of work/life balance.

https://gretchenrubin.com/2018/05/laura-vanderkam-off-the-clock/ legzira_beach

Fear of rejection does not really protect you.

There’s a campus-wide “growth mindset” initiative taking place at my day job. I think it’s a good process, but it’s also scary. When we are “fixed mindset,” we don’t take risks because we want to protect ourselves from rejection (and failure). Conversely, people with growth mindset accept that rejection may happen; they also learn and improve from it. They harness their fears and use them to motivate them on the path to success.

This post isn’t really about pop psychology or self-improvement. Instead, it’s my way of saying that I’ve decided to try querying literary agents for The Children of Lehom instead of self publishing right off the bat. At first, I was afraid of the query process because of the HUGE chance of rejection by multiple agents. Getting an agent is hard. However, I couldn’t let this fear stand in my way. Sometimes fear does protect us from doing stupid things. Other times, it hinder our success.

Let the querying begin.

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Photo credit: Egor Vysotsky

Sequel beginning in the land of ice and fire…

In my last post, I mentioned that I was editing in a tropical location. I’m back this week, and I only have three chapters left to edit. I’ll send it to my copy editor as soon as they’re finished 🙂

That’s good news because as soon as I email it off, I’ll be able to continue working on my sequel to The Children of Lehom. I’m itching to. At the present moment, I’m beginning the second book in Iceland. I’m not going to say more just in case I need to change things later. Note that I said the sequel begins in the land of ice and fire, but that doesn’t mean the whole book takes place there.

Iceland has a very different type of beauty than a tropical island; however, beautiful it still is. Below are pictures of black sand beaches near Vik.

Haunting, no?

 

Edits from paradise.

It’s no coincidence that The Children of Lehom is set on a tropical island. I love white sand beaches, turquoise water, and balmy temperatures, so it seemed natural to use this as inspiration for my novel’s setting.  What I didn’t do, however, is use a specific island as a reference for my fictional one. I wanted as much flexibility as possible when creating my post-apocalyptic world.

I now find myself editing from a tropical location. My husband and I had planned a vacation long before I decided to submit my novel to Kindle Scout, so it’s quite serendipitous that I can edit from here 🙂

I’ll leave today’s blog post with a picture.

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Well, Kindle Scout didn’t happen.

So, I’m updating to say that Kindle Press decided not to publish my book. They did provide some wonderful feedback, though, and I can easily incorporate these suggestions into my book in the next month. In the meantime, I’m going to consider whether or not to query literary agents. Whatever happens, I will be providing people who nominated me with free copies of the newly-edited ebook. I’ve included a link on my website where people can sign up for my newsletter. In an upcoming letter, I’ll give details about the free book.

I’m reminded of the Killers song, “Mr. Brightside.” Although this song is about infidelity, it is upbeat and, for some reason, makes me feel happy. I gave the Kindle Scout venue a try right before the platform closed its doors, so perhaps it’s for the best.

The meaning of “on tenterhooks.”

Per the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, “when someone is in a state of uneasiness or suspense, you might say that person is on tenterhooks.” A little down the page, they continue: “A tenterhook is defined as ‘a sharp hooked nail used especially for fastening cloth on a tenter.’ Oh, okay. Glad that’s settled. Hey wait … what’s a tenter? Well that’s a frame on which cloth is stretched to dry evenly, often to prevent it from shrinking.”

I didn’t just decide to define random phrases today on this blog entry. I’d say that this phrase accurately defines how I feel now that my Kindle Scout campaign has ended. I received an email today, and Scout said they’d contact me in a “few business days” with a decision. Ack…we’re coming upon a weekend!

On a positive note, though, I’m going on a relaxing vacation tomorrow, which will definitely help quell the “tenter-hooky” suspense I’m feeling.

If you want to read more about this expression, here’s the link:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/on-tenterhooks-origin-meaning-phrase

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