Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Writing Wednesday: Why I Don't Need an Agent (Yet)

I don't need an agent.

I don't.

No, I really don't.

I know what an agent can get me. I know that I can only send out my manuscript to a handful of publishing houses without one. I also know that even if I'm allowed to submit my stuff to a publisher, an agent's recommendation will carry more weight. I know that the agent will help me get a good contract, that I'll have a much better chance of making it as an author if I have one.

I know all of this. But I still don't need an agent.

Why? Because none of my books are ready. Not a single one. Because, even if I manage to write the best pitch letter EVER, the book it describes isn't good enough to be published.

Right now all my stuff sucks.

I don't need an editor, either. I don't need anyone to tell me my stuff sucks, mainly because I know it does already. I even know what's wrong with most of the plots/characters/etc. I just can't figure out whether fixing these problems is worth it. Will the novel, if repaired, be any more worth reading?

I don't know. I'm at that awful stage in so many things--painting, writing, piano playing--when I'm good enough to realize how completely awful I am. It's a hard peak to reach, but it's even harder to face when I've done so much work only to realize that most of it's a waste.

So I don't need an agent.

I need a good book to read, a good night's sleep, and a little perspective. Then I'll return to the computer and start editing (again), return to the piano to work on Pachebel's damn Canon in D, and return to my paints to try something new. I do realize this is all practice. I just wish I could see my practicing getting me somewhere.

Perhaps I need a little courage, too. Anybody got some extra courage they can spare?


  1. Say what?!

    I LOVE your novella. What's this nonsense about?

    It definitely takes courage and, unfortunately, it doesn't seem to get any easier even after you get positive feedback with the first release. Right before I put out a new book I have panic attacks and bite my fingers bloody.

    When I released the second book in the Spellbound series I agonized over whether I'd be letting readers down and whether the follow up was original and twisted enough to compete with the first book. The agony!

    Now I'm agonizing about the finale. Will it satisfy fans of the series? Will I let them down?

    And the next series might totally bomb. I have no sense of it. Some times I read the book and love it. Sometimes I think, no, no way. I've been editing the new one for over a year and I'm completely freaked to release it this winter.

    Keep the faith! Your voice should be heard.

  2. I am surprised at how you talk! You are so good at so many things.

    I do think "damn Cannon" takes more than just a piano...


  3. I think I once read a book entitled "Spellbound". An odd coincidence. About a wicked schoolteacher who would tie her second graders to their little chairs when they misspelled a word. I think there may have been vampires, too, but I may be mixing my memories.

  4. For courage you need none because you started what you need Shakes is balls. Try a little faith in your self.

  5. I have a spare set of ball, Shakespeare. Shall I send it?

    Actually, I've been in the stage of "everything sucks" for a while myself. But, I'm convinced, it's a matter of my perspective. My guess is that that may be true for you as well.

    Take the prescription for doing something else and rebuilding your perspective. Wait on the agent a bit longer and see if you can't see your own work with fresh and less critical eyes later.

  6. Nikki, I will likely get over this, but I don't have a problem being honest with my nerves when I get them. My voices have been relentless lately, probably because I am starting so many new things.

    Max, dude, you really need to learn to spell. I would certainly need more than a piano to put together a cannon, but Pachabel's "Canon in D" just takes a piano, at least my version of it does. Funny, too, but I've been playing an easier version for years, and I switched in July to an "intermediate version." The learning curve is rising, even if it doesn't seem as if it is. But as a vegetarian pacifist, I don't intend to ever make a real cannon.

    Yes, Walking Man, faith in myself is what I need... and I often have it, but sometimes it pools in my feet, leaving my brain bereft of the sense that I can somehow overcome all the obstacles and get where I truly want to go. Then again, sometimes I am not sure I truly want to go there...

    Stephanie, I'll accept any ball you would like to send my way. I am usually in the "everything sucks" mode, but most of the time I know what needs to be done. In this case, I'm not sure anything does. I'm thinking I need to write something new, and leave off the editing. Then again, I'd really like to revisit my mermaid novel, now that it's been 9 months of sitting on it. I think that's plenty, and I already have some plans for changes.

    You guys (and girls) are great, though, for encouraging me. I'll pick my wounded pride off the floor, fluff it up a little, vacuum off the cracker crumbs, and get back to work.

    1. Ok. So Pachibal''s "Canon". Got it.

    2. It's one of those dessert/desert sorts of things, Max.

      You know, those things English teachers love.

  7. Send me a chapter of anything...let me look.