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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Masochism at its Finest

12 years ago I remember submitting 187 query letters. That was painful. The amount didn't hurt, only getting used to the silence. At the time I didn't really know that the silence is normal in this industry. 

Last night I began to consider something. I've been listening to a lot of audiobooks lately, and a single audio publisher kept coming up. So I began to do a little research. I found that this company publishes almost everything I like. I found that they tend to choose stories that they enjoy. And I found that they're willing to work with authors that have tried to put their work out there already. They seem like a really good company. And that's why this is such a hard decision. 

This is the stack of returned mail from that campaign 12 years ago. I've had it on my bookshelf ever since. Actually it was on top of my bookshelf out of my line of sight, for a good reason. I didn't think about it until I pulled it down, but even looking at the stack of envelopes brings me pain. At the same time I'm still considering inviting that pain back. I want to do it again. I want to try again with the experience that I now have. I've written more. I've read more. I've grown up. And more importantly I understand more. I know to expect a lot of silence. I know to expect rejection. And I know when not to get overly excited when the first glimmer of interest is shown. Temperance is a wonderful teacher in that regard. Of course I can say this now, but back then I felt like a small slug of metal being hammered into a shape that I didn't want to be. And with all that comes back to me, like a weight on my chest, I still want to try again. 

I miss my characters. I miss getting to know them and their adventures. I miss knowing what they think and how they would react to anything I would throw in front of them. I want them back. And I see this as a way to rekindle my connection to them. 

So yes, I will try again. I will be more selective this time around in my queries, but I will try. 

This weekend I will be writing the first query. The first step is to follow the signs on the road laid out by an agent. When every marker and correct maneuver has been made, I see myself getting to the end of that road. From there it'll require more hard work. More rewrites. And I know at least a little more pain. But as I said, I'm willing to try again. 

Bring on the pain. 


Virgil Allen Moore

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