Time and Persistence: An Agent’s Advice
"When's your book coming out?"
I get this question a lot these days. Sometimes I feel like the answer is going to be, "Never!" Although lately the more appropriate response is, "As soon as I write the damn thing!"
You see, the first book I wrote, Straightville, U.S.A., will probably not be the first book you read. All roads into Straightville have been temporarily closed. My agent shopped it around to some terrific editors who provided solid, supportive and constructive feedback on the book. Unfortunately, none of them took the plunge and bought the project. Some are open to seeing a revision, and when I combine all the feedback we’ve gotten, it provides a pretty strong framework for a new direction. I am energized to revise and make the book into more than it is currently.
All this came about while I was headfirst into the world of my second book, Blades of Grass. If you followed my posts about National Novel Writing Month last year, you are probably aware of the trials and tribulations this second project has tossed my way. I ended up scrapping the 50K+ manuscript I churned out last November and, in February, started from scratch. Steve, agent extraordinaire, really likes what I’m doing with it and suggests I finish it so we can begin shopping it around, then move back into Straightville territory.
“A different novel is a good place to start,” he said. “This is what it is all about. Sometimes it just takes time and persistence.”
So that is what I’m doing: plugging away at my second book in hopes of having a solid manuscript ready to go this spring. It is not an easy process, trying to write swiftly but solidly. At least I have a much firmer grasp on it than I did during my ill-fated NaNoWriMo attempt.
In the end, my second book will probably be my first. And I’m okay with that. Writers, have any of you experienced this in your career? Did the first book you wrote not become the first one to hit the shelves?
4 thoughts on “Time and Persistence: An Agent’s Advice”
You need to talk to Amy (A.S.) King about this. Ask her how many books she wrote before she sold one. It's a great story.
Oh, I just found that tidbit on her website. "It took me 15 years and over seven novels to get published." Well…I guess the pressure's off!