Author Topic: The waiting game  (Read 1205 times)

Offline mysticatical

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The waiting game
« on: April 09, 2021, 06:12:54 AM »
So my full MS is out with several agents. I am writing another book in the meanwhile but I still feel in a strange limbo period. I pivot between liking the book I am querying and hating it. Between thinking it deserves a place in bookshops (when I know 80% of the 80 books I read every year are for me forgettable/are imperfect) vs thinking it doesn't (particularly when I feel enthralled in one of those rare, near-perfect books. I know part of the issue is I can see the seams, the references, know where I could've taken another route, have dissected it, and re-written it to the point where sometimes, I start wondering if it's really alive or more of a Frankenstein monster. Are these normal feelings? I feel anxious, a lot, imagining agents reading and feeling the same.

Offline jonny_555

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Re: The waiting game
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2021, 07:36:22 AM »
Congrats that the full is out!

The rest of the forum will probably have more experience with your situation (I'm still querying). Several big time agents (not authors) have posted articles stating that it's normal to HATE your own work, and more so once you go beyond the query stage. Some famous authors hate their published work and even feel embarrassed despite acclaim and success. I'm trying to find some links to share with you but I'm not finding them in my bookmarks for some reason (I saved them for when I feel this same way). One agent had a great article on this and she said it is very normal, and you mustn't let it get to you (easy to do, right?)

The best way to find every flaw in your manuscript is to to send it out to an agent on request, and then re-read it shortly after :)

This is one bookmark I have. When I find that other one I will share it too:
https://www.standoutbooks.com/hating-your-own-work/

The thing that causes me most anxiety, is when agents say they have to fall in love with your work as they will need to read it so many times. Gulp! I'm pretty sure they see the diamond in the rough though. Else why have editors and all that at publishers?
« Last Edit: April 12, 2021, 02:20:20 AM by jonny_555 »
Find the blessing in your curse

Offline jonny_555

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Re: The waiting game
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2021, 07:43:04 AM »
Found it under my FINANCE bookmark folder

 :stupid:

https://rachellegardner.com/i-hate-my-book/
Find the blessing in your curse

Offline mysticatical

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Re: The waiting game
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2021, 01:30:30 PM »
Congrats that the full is out!

The rest of the forum will probably have more experience with your situation (I'm still querying). Several big time agents (not authors) have posted articles that it is normal to HATE your own work, and more so once you go beyond the query stage. Some famous authors hate their published work and even feel embarrassed despite acclaim and success. I'm trying to find some links to share with you but not finding them in my bookmarks for some reason (I saved them for when I feel this same way). One agent had a great article on this and she said it is normal, and you mustn't let it get to you (easy to do, right?)

The best way to find every flaw in your manuscript is to to send it out to an agent on request, and then re-read it shortly after :)

This is one bookmark I have. When I find that other one I will share it too:
https://www.standoutbooks.com/hating-your-own-work/

The thing that causes me most anxiety, is when agents say they have to fall in love with your work as they will need to read it so many times. Gulp! I'm pretty sure they see the diamond in the rough though. Else why have editors and all that at publishers?

Thanks for sharing both!

That's the really rough bit, isn't it? I love so few books. But every book is in the bookshop, surely, because agents loved them/saw something in them. The chances of finding an agent who loves mine... So much is about talent and effort but then you go beyond a certain point and luck definitely plays a role.

Offline richardclin

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Re: The waiting game
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2021, 11:56:26 PM »

Don't get too down, Mysticatical. I know it's so anxiety-inducing waiting. And I definitely know about applying all the different agent feedback I've received so far and applying it until I don't recognize parts of my original MS. So you are not alone!


But no news in some ways is good news. Out of my eleven requests for fulls or partials, four have turned me down. This leaves me despairing at times that the other seven may end up in the same fashion. But as long as they are "alive," hope springs eternal. Meanwhile, I try to focus on other aspects of life, work on other projects, and keep querying. And I also do lots of research in case I end up self-publishing, which many outstanding authors in this QT community have done to their success and satisfaction.


Good luck to you, Mysticatical. I have a feeling that, with so many requests for fulls (I have more requests for partials than fulls), you are really grabbing agents' attention with your query letter. I will not be surprised at all when you are picked up!


RCL

So my full MS is out with several agents. I am writing another book in the meanwhile but I still feel in a strange limbo period. I pivot between liking the book I am querying and hating it. Between thinking it deserves a place in bookshops (when I know 80% of the 80 books I read every year are for me forgettable/are imperfect) vs thinking it doesn't (particularly when I feel enthralled in one of those rare, near-perfect books. I know part of the issue is I can see the seams, the references, know where I could've taken another route, have dissected it, and re-written it to the point where sometimes, I start wondering if it's really alive or more of a Frankenstein monster. Are these normal feelings? I feel anxious, a lot, imagining agents reading and feeling the same.

Offline mysticatical

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Re: The waiting game
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2021, 06:19:14 PM »

Don't get too down, Mysticatical. I know it's so anxiety-inducing waiting. And I definitely know about applying all the different agent feedback I've received so far and applying it until I don't recognize parts of my original MS. So you are not alone!


But no news in some ways is good news. Out of my eleven requests for fulls or partials, four have turned me down. This leaves me despairing at times that the other seven may end up in the same fashion. But as long as they are "alive," hope springs eternal. Meanwhile, I try to focus on other aspects of life, work on other projects, and keep querying. And I also do lots of research in case I end up self-publishing, which many outstanding authors in this QT community have done to their success and satisfaction.


Good luck to you, Mysticatical. I have a feeling that, with so many requests for fulls (I have more requests for partials than fulls), you are really grabbing agents' attention with your query letter. I will not be surprised at all when you are picked up!


RCL

So my full MS is out with several agents. I am writing another book in the meanwhile but I still feel in a strange limbo period. I pivot between liking the book I am querying and hating it. Between thinking it deserves a place in bookshops (when I know 80% of the 80 books I read every year are for me forgettable/are imperfect) vs thinking it doesn't (particularly when I feel enthralled in one of those rare, near-perfect books. I know part of the issue is I can see the seams, the references, know where I could've taken another route, have dissected it, and re-written it to the point where sometimes, I start wondering if it's really alive or more of a Frankenstein monster. Are these normal feelings? I feel anxious, a lot, imagining agents reading and feeling the same.

Thanks Richard! Wow, you have a lot of fulls/partials out too! I hope someone takes it, soon! :)

I just got another full MS rejection. She mentioned several times my 'beautiful prose' and said "I absolutely have no doubt another agent will connect with this project but I'm not the right agent for it." There was a hint of a suggestion I was perhaps being too subtle in delivering the story. Not sure if I can takeaway much from it. I am sure that's true, but I think an agent/editor who connects with it will end up helping create more anchorage. I am truly at the point where I don't know what needs doing to it myself.

Offline Viddiest

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Re: The waiting game
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2021, 07:42:35 PM »
Gosh, I am sorrry Mysticatical. That's very frustrating. Have you uploaded any of your pages here? I find that people here often hit the nail on the head. I am in the midst of revisions myself and will be uploading stuff for review here soon. Given we are in the same boat, I really feel your pain. Happy to take a look for you too if you wish and exchange a few pages. My consistent feedback has been to increase tension and not to reveal mystery too soon. Have you been able to identify anything consistent like that based on agent feedback?

Offline mysticatical

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Re: The waiting game
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2021, 09:21:44 AM »
Gosh, I am sorrry Mysticatical. That's very frustrating. Have you uploaded any of your pages here? I find that people here often hit the nail on the head. I am in the midst of revisions myself and will be uploading stuff for review here soon. Given we are in the same boat, I really feel your pain. Happy to take a look for you too if you wish and exchange a few pages. My consistent feedback has been to increase tension and not to reveal mystery too soon. Have you been able to identify anything consistent like that based on agent feedback?

Thanks! I'm not sure how much it would help though. I just got through another rejection from the agent who reached out to me having never seen the sample. From her email:

" ... the premise and story itself are beautiful, and great comps, but I didn’t fall in love with this in a way I have to champion it. It’s also a question of what I can offer editorially for you, and while reading I didn't have an editorial vision for (my novel) ...'


Offline richardclin

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Re: The waiting game
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2021, 08:25:34 PM »
Dear Mysticatical,


I'm sorry to hear about the rejection (actually, I prefer to call them "declines"). I just received one as well. I'm collecting declines like a young kid collecting baseball cards, comic books, or Barbie dolls these days...    :wink:


Each decline also comes with a note on all the aspects they loved then segues into how they might not be the best champion for it and finally concludes with their conviction that I will be picked up soon by another agent. So you are definitely not alone (in fact, we are the majority) and many others who have succeeded in securing an agent have gone through much more than we have at this point. And still others have gone on to secure an agent and yet not have their book(s) sold after a year or two. So it is an arduous road. I'm glad we are all here together to bolster one another when spirits flag and the clouds roll in.


And, again, I have been encouraged by a few authors here who still graciously hang out to provide advice even after they have elected to self-publish and found significant satisfaction and success that route. We are blessed to have many roads before us so please don't despair as we all explore each one together.


As with Viddiest, I would be fine to review your pages as well if you feel it might help.


Meanwhile, hang in there and chin up, Mysticatical! You have every right to be proud of yourself as a wonderful writer and human being.


RCL

Offline Viddiest

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Re: The waiting game
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2021, 09:34:26 PM »
Such lovely words, Richard. Thank you for your positivity.

Mysticatical, hang in there. Many of us know what you are going through and can empathize.

The best advice I can offer is to give your ms back to beta readers (new and old) and get their views on what's not working. Maybe even share all the agent feedback so they can look for weak areas.
It sounds like you have the writing down pat. Check your book for narrative tension, and quiz your beta readers on characterization and voice. I find that I can take a lot more criticism from my beta readers because I know they have my back.

Fingers crossed for good news soon!

Offline mysticatical

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Re: The waiting game
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2021, 09:49:27 PM »
Such lovely words, Richard. Thank you for your positivity.

Mysticatical, hang in there. Many of us know what you are going through and can empathize.

The best advice I can offer is to give your ms back to beta readers (new and old) and get their views on what's not working. Maybe even share all the agent feedback so they can look for weak areas.
It sounds like you have the writing down pat. Check your book for narrative tension, and quiz your beta readers on characterization and voice. I find that I can take a lot more criticism from my beta readers because I know they have my back.

Fingers crossed for good news soon!

Thanks Viddiest!

I get this advice, but I struggle with it a bit because a lot of the agents who have commented that the ultimate issue was they didn't connect with it, not that there were things that needed to be changed. I don't think we have to cut up our work and put it back together every time we receive advice from agents. In doing so we might miss an opportunity to work with someone who really gets what we are setting out to do, and who could turn something raw into something orderly. I had an R&R earlier this year which was helpful, and I edited based on early feedback from beta readers, but other than that I've been holding quite firm about my book as I know not every decision for it is a good one. My beta readers have been very open to reading things along the way. Two quite firmly said: 'Don't let your voice become drowned out by different voices.' I realise it's a difficult tipping point, knowing when to stop tweaking. I don't think my book is perfect but I think it's in a place where the right agent will connect with it/see the diamond in the rough and have an editorial vision for it. Too much editing based off feedback can result in a Frankenstein monster that ceases to feel alive.

Offline mysticatical

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Re: The waiting game
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2021, 09:56:26 PM »
Dear Mysticatical,


I'm sorry to hear about the rejection (actually, I prefer to call them "declines"). I just received one as well. I'm collecting declines like a young kid collecting baseball cards, comic books, or Barbie dolls these days...    :wink:


Each decline also comes with a note on all the aspects they loved then segues into how they might not be the best champion for it and finally concludes with their conviction that I will be picked up soon by another agent. So you are definitely not alone (in fact, we are the majority) and many others who have succeeded in securing an agent have gone through much more than we have at this point. And still others have gone on to secure an agent and yet not have their book(s) sold after a year or two. So it is an arduous road. I'm glad we are all here together to bolster one another when spirits flag and the clouds roll in.


And, again, I have been encouraged by a few authors here who still graciously hang out to provide advice even after they have elected to self-publish and found significant satisfaction and success that route. We are blessed to have many roads before us so please don't despair as we all explore each one together.


As with Viddiest, I would be fine to review your pages as well if you feel it might help.


Meanwhile, hang in there and chin up, Mysticatical! You have every right to be proud of yourself as a wonderful writer and human being.


RCL

Thanks for being so nice! This forum is a lovely part of the internet!

'Decline' is so much kinder. Oddly I haven't been upset about any of these declines, I'm fairly used to it as a non-fiction writer, just hating the waiting game! I feel oddly impatient, like I read a few dream success stories where people received offers the day after sending a full MS, and even if I know that's not the norm, it sometimes feels like that. I'm trying to figure out whether to keep pushing this book or focus on book 2, which is inevitably stronger. Book 1 in the meanwhile is still out with 5 agents, 2 of which are dream agents.

That's absolutely true. It can take forever. I also know two people who queried for a year before getting an agent. Meanwhile, a friend got a full MS request and then got an offer 6 months later. None of those did drastic edits based off feedback. I think revision to some degree is good but you have to, at some point, have a threshold in your mind. All those books got chosen because the author kept believing in the thing they had found and shaped, even if they knew they needed an agent and editor to help better care it out.

Offline Viddiest

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Re: The waiting game
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2021, 10:41:12 PM »
Quote
Thanks Viddiest!

I get this advice, but I struggle with it a bit because a lot of the agents who have commented that the ultimate issue was they didn't connect with it, not that there were things that needed to be changed. I don't think we have to cut up our work and put it back together every time we receive advice from agents. In doing so we might miss an opportunity to work with someone who really gets what we are setting out to do, and who could turn something raw into something orderly. I had an R&R earlier this year which was helpful, and I edited based on early feedback from beta readers, but other than that I've been holding quite firm about my book as I know not every decision for it is a good one. My beta readers have been very open to reading things along the way. Two quite firmly said: 'Don't let your voice become drowned out by different voices.' I realise it's a difficult tipping point, knowing when to stop tweaking. I don't think my book is perfect but I think it's in a place where the right agent will connect with it/see the diamond in the rough and have an editorial vision for it. Too much editing based off feedback can result in a Frankenstein monster that ceases to feel alive.

Sounds like you have great beta readers and I completely agree that you should trust your work and instinct. You cannot make a patchwork quilt of a novel to please all your readers. You have to be true to your vision of the book. All the best.

Offline mysticatical

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Re: The waiting game
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2021, 11:37:27 AM »
Quote
Thanks Viddiest!

I get this advice, but I struggle with it a bit because a lot of the agents who have commented that the ultimate issue was they didn't connect with it, not that there were things that needed to be changed. I don't think we have to cut up our work and put it back together every time we receive advice from agents. In doing so we might miss an opportunity to work with someone who really gets what we are setting out to do, and who could turn something raw into something orderly. I had an R&R earlier this year which was helpful, and I edited based on early feedback from beta readers, but other than that I've been holding quite firm about my book as I know not every decision for it is a good one. My beta readers have been very open to reading things along the way. Two quite firmly said: 'Don't let your voice become drowned out by different voices.' I realise it's a difficult tipping point, knowing when to stop tweaking. I don't think my book is perfect but I think it's in a place where the right agent will connect with it/see the diamond in the rough and have an editorial vision for it. Too much editing based off feedback can result in a Frankenstein monster that ceases to feel alive.

Sounds like you have great beta readers and I completely agree that you should trust your work and instinct. You cannot make a patchwork quilt of a novel to please all your readers. You have to be true to your vision of the book. All the best.

I think it is easier said than done if you are a people pleaser, isn't it?! Will try :-)

Offline Viddiest

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Re: The waiting game
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2021, 07:10:56 PM »
How are you going Mysticatical? Any news?