The Vernacular of an Aspiring Novelist Part II

* This blog post was originally published last year on my main blog. Oh, if only I could take this naive girl by hand...and look how against Self-publishing I was. Pure laziness. And poverty.

 

 Coffee. Whiskey. Whatever.

Coffee. Whiskey. Whatever.

Welp. I wish I could be writing this under more exciting circumstances, but, alas, such is not the case. 

As it stands, I have sent out about twelve queries, receiving a combo of personalized and form rejection letters for my troubles. I did update my query letter, after perusing this site and learning a lot from its contents.  For shits and giggles, here is my new and vastly improved query letter.

Dear __(Here is where a name that will haunt me in my dreams until I see a response from them goes___ ,

            No one in my family is human, but who is these days? On day one, Tirigan and I are safe at home with our mother and father. On day two, my twin brother and I realize we have been lied to our entire lives and we are suddenly completely alone. In the span on one day, everything we know is ripped away from us and Tirigan and I are forced to enter a world we didn’t even know existed, in order to bring our family back together.

            Family. Power. Friendship. Destruction…

            Basically insert any powerfully dramatic word of your choice and it will fit our story in some way. All of it begins on day one.

                In The Elementals: Awakenings Part I (96, 180 words), you’ll find three unique species, two vastly different worlds, and a set of twins that have to navigate an entirely new life with very little information to go on.

          After discovering that their mother is not Anunnaki (the nearly immortal alien race that lives on Earth after humans are exterminated by an astrological event), Tirigan and his twin sister Charlie must confront what that revelation means for them. Calla, their mother, belongs to a powerful species that has the ability to control the elements of the Earth. It is how her people survived the asteroid’s fallout. They learn this after their mother is taken by an unknown group of people, and their father rips them away from their home in an attempt to protect them from being discovered. Charlie and Tirigan aren’t supposed to exist. According to their parents, Elementals and Anunnaki do not know of each other’s existence.

        In the hopes of finding their mother, Charlie and Tirigan travel to Mitéra, the Elemental’s land, where their father cannot follow. The twins then seek out the help of their mother’s childhood friend, Kor, who not only accepts them as his own, but helps educate Charlie and Tirigan on the Elemental power their mother kept from them. They form new relationships with the members of Kor’s family, while desperately trying to keep the dangerous truth of their identity a secret. It is in this house, with this family, that Charlie and Tirigan begin to realize the extent of their mother’s deceit, and the scale of the power that they possess as half-Anunnaki, half-Elementals.

          Written mainly from Charlie’s perspective, this story is broken into two timelines. Charlie, confident and witty, speaks of the present, while Tirigan, heedful and logical, occasionally informs the reader of the twin’s future. At the end of The Elementals: Awakenings Part II, their timelines coalesce, and their story continues.

           This character- driven, Young Adult Fantasy novel is the result of my own desire to see more progressive and diverse characters in Young Adult fiction. I am currently a stay-at-home mother to two amazing children. It is important to me, not only as a mother, but as a human being, for there to be equal and incidental representation of all different types of people. As with most things that require education, it is better to bury the lesson in a great story. That is my intention with this series. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

A Glutton for punishment

 

    This query letter has received less form rejections and more personalized rejections. Failure to the tune of, "Just not a good fit for me right now, please continue shopping it around." Basically, if it's not a form rejection (the letter that is mass produced and sent out to all queriers who fail to incite any sort of interest in their manuscript), I receive the- "Its not you, its me" form of literary rejection.

I can live with this. 

      So far, everyone who has read or begun to read the first book, has found it somewhere on the scale of, entertaining and well-written to I need the next book immediately. These are good stats.

 Fun and semi-embarrassing fact, I am currently taking a novel writing class. The students within said class have all enjoyed the book so far, some even going out of their way to tell me that they don't particularly enjoy the genre, but that they are really looking forward to reading my chapters every week. The teacher of the class doesn't even understand why I am in his class. This is the kind of shit I live for. However, all of that flattery is largely meaningless (aside from the soon to be necessary door-frame extensions in my house). All this amazing feedback feels good, it gives me tingles in my special places (that's right, I've got more than one special place), but it does nothing to get my book on the shelves. I can wax poetic about wanting to support the dying institution of traditional publishing and write sonnets on what it means to have your book picked up by one of the big five, but, honestly? I am less concerned with the possible notoriety traditional publishers can bring to debut authors and more concerned with the amount of work self-publishing requires. 

  Let's not pretend that I am some go-getter who gets up at the crack of dawn to get the proverbial (i.e. disgusting) worm, before I hook myself up to an IV of black coffee and duct tape my hands to my laptop. That's not me. I get out of bed only when necessary, whether its for my children, my bladder, or my desire not to fall into a pit of depression. I don't eat worms, generally. I put milk in my coffee and I typically have only one a day, (Tazo makes a great black tea with enough caffeine to get me through the day) and if I ever duct tape my hands to my laptop, it will probably be the result of an internet porn edging kink. 

I work hard when I can, but I don't have the discipline, nor the self-marketing know-how (or desire) to handle self-publishing. Maybe it's a door I will knock lightly on (while quietly sobbing) if I never get an agent to bite, but for now, that door is barricaded shut. 

So, onward I go. I have six queries out right now that I have yet to hear back about. When at least four of those come back, hopefully with a request for a partial (when an agent asks for you to send them part of your manuscript) or a full (the same, but they want to read the whole thing), I will send out another ten or so. They say don't give up until you've queries at least a hundred agents.  

Let's hope it doesn't come to that.