Thursday, January 3, 2019

It's 2019: set your expectations optimistically low

Happy New Year, folks!

How are you feeling? Good? Bad? Indifferent? Ready for your bunker?

2018 was rough. So was 2017, and 2016 (that end bit there). But I'm cautiously optimistic about 2019. I'm turning 4-0 this year. That's right. True middle age. My favorite genre of music is now considered classic alternative rock. When I was a teen, it was just called alternative. Anyway, I can't say I'm going to turn 40 with dignity and grace, more like with margaritas and self-loathing, but it will be fun. I never feel my age until I talk to a 23-year-old and realize I sound just like my parents.

Anyhoo, I've started off this new year feeling mentally strong (thank science for anti-anxiety meds). I've been able to focus. My brain doesn't feel like the television is constantly on in the background, and my memory is sharper than it was before kids. Now that's something to toast.

Also, I'm putting the finishing revisions on a brand new adult hardboiled suspense that I plan to....yup, query in 2019.

I hate querying. In my defense, I don't think any writer likes it. It's a form of masochism. You write and write and write. Your brain is swarming with characters and plot and theme and tension. Is this book tense? Is it boring? You bleed on that laptop. You make others read your mess. You try to make it better. After 90,000 words, you then struggle to write a one-page query letter and synopsis. You freak out. What the hell is my book about?! Then you send it to a bunch of agents, hoping one of them will want to read it. Then you wait, refresh your email every ten seconds. Maybe you get some full requests. You definitely get a ton of rejections. You send it off. You wait and wait some more. It just sucks.

This isn't my first rodeo. I queried Grunge Gods and Graveyards in 2012 and 2013. It got picked up by a small press. In 2016, I queried School Lies. It was agented, went on a brief submission until that partnership fizzled. In the meantime, I've self-published. That typically alleviates the querying blues.

With each book, I become less naive. And more realistic. Just like with hitting a milestone birthday, one becomes more seasoned. With querying and rejection, comes wisdom.

Whenever I query a novel, I am hopeful because I believe in my work. I know I am a strong writer.  However this business is hard, and there are variables I cannot control. An agent's taste. The trends. The economy. So while I try to remain optimistic, I also try to keep my expectations real low.

When sitting on the ground, one can only go up.

Anyway, wish me luck.

What's on your agenda for 2019?


Brenda St John Brown said...

I'm here to tell you 40 is pretty fabulous! As is 50. Will keep you posted on 52, though. And good luck querying. I don't envy you that to be honest!

Karissa Laurel said...

I did 4-0 this year and survived. Welcome to the club-I raise my margarita glass to you.
I plan on releasing another book through our mutual small press this year, but I also plan to querry a new YA novel, hopefully by the end of the year. I feel your pain!

Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

Thanks, ladies!

Carrie Beckort said...

I might query for the first time this year... we can suffer through it together :) And the 40s aren't so bad. I'd say I've reached my healthiest mental state in my 40s. We really do get wiser as we get older so it's easier to let go of the petty crap - which is good because I need all that mental stamina to raise a teenage girl! Good luck in your query-quest!!

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