Sunday, November 15, 2009


I don't know if it's like this for everybody, but as soon as I email my manuscript to my agent, as soon as I hit Send, everything changes. Up until that point, I fantasize about the book release, the cover, an editor who loves it, a publishing house that's backing in. Maybe even a mini tour funded by someone other than myself. Some national buzz and great reviews. Walk past bookstores to see copies displayed in window. An invitation to guest on MPR and WPR. Already wondering if I should do it when the invitation comes, because I'm not good at that kind of thing. Maybe it would be best to decline. And yet... And now I'm already thinking about the questions they will ask, and formulating replies.

Then I hit Send.

In that instant my brain does a 180.

Nobody is going to buy my book. I'm already imagining editors looking at the manuscript with a WTF expression on their faces. I'm imagining emails from my agent with attached rejection letters, her enthusiasm dwindling with each response. Now I'm mentally trying to find a job. Would Burger King hire me? A bar? The casino? A waitress at Wayne's Diner? Or would I be better off to start another book, a different book? What are people buying now? I've had my head buried in this failure for two years and I haven't paid attention.

Oh, reply from my agent.

Reprieve. It looks like the manuscript won't be submitted until January because of the holidays. And now I'm once again imagining the book tour, and the lovely cover, and the glowing reviews.

Where would writers be without their delusions? Would we write at all? It makes me wonder if optimism is just delusion dressed in pretty clothes.


  1. My comment ran too long so I posted it on my blog nobody reads. Which seems perfect, since it's about my novel that it looks like nobody will read.

    Shorter version: It's like this with queries, too. The minute I send one out, I'm a mess of conflict. I'm going to be the next [insert name here]. or I'm never going to get an agent, for any number of reasons.

    Despite your bad experience with self-publishing, I'm still thinking of the Kindle route. I want to write -- hell, I do write, whether I want to or not.

    So I think the answer to your question is yes, we writers will write, with or without our delusions. Because when we're writing, we're in that world, not this one. The delusions are not operative there.

    In a Platonic sense, the worlds we create are more real than this one! (Am I getting too weird?)

    I'm not sure I want to spend the time and tender feelings running the publishing gauntlet, only to end up with a $5000 advance split with an agent and Uncle Sam and 8 percent of 90 days' worth of bad placement.

    If that's among the best outcomes of the query game, why not just go straight to Kindle?

    It's truly hard to know what to do in this environment.

  2. Likari, loved what you said about being in that world, not this one. I tend to forget that one of the triggers for me was escapism. I really think I started writing to escape the situation I was in at that time. Not saying that why you write, but you touched on the escape aspect of it.

    I haven't blogged about this yet, but I'm much more impressed with Smashwords than Kindle. After 6 weeks, the description for PI still isn't on the Kindle site. Any change you want to make to your listing is almost impossible. Like turning a barge around in a drainage ditch. It can take weeks and weeks to make changes. Smashwords in immediate. I'll try to post the pros and cons at some point.


    kindle: 2
    Smashwords: 0



  3. Have you read this post?

    It's about how manipulating the pricing on the Kindle works for some.

  4. That didn't work for me. I listed it at 1.99 for quite a while. Or maybe it was .99. and then everytime you change the price, you remove it from Amazon and it has to go through approval which can take 5 days. Once it goes live, you start over and have to once again wait 6 -8 weeks for the description to show up. I can't deal with the annoyance. I think it would work fairly well if you never changed a single thing, but could still take 2 months for all the info to appear.


  5. well. The ultimate -- or even a reasonably functional -- platform hasn't been built yet for independent writers.

  6. You had me at Monkey With A Turkey.... ;-)

    I'm the same way sharing work with crit partners (or anyone, if I'm being honest here). The second I hit send, I know I've lost that person as a friend/peer because they will realize I'm horrible and might infect them.

  7. Optimism is just delusion dressed in pretty clothes.... We all like to dress up and go out once in a while.

    Actually, I'm very wary of writers who don't have these thoughts. The I'm-just-writing-for-me people make me wrinkle my forehead. Writing is communication. What sense is there communicating with yourself? I can understanding recording for yourself, but fiction? That seems like a touch of madness. Or dreaminess. The wish to do it, but the fear of taking the step and letting people read what you've done.

  8. Likari, so true. It's still thousands of Kool-aid stands with no cultural authority. I've really witnessed that on the Kindle message board, which is really the only place to get the word out about Kindle books.

  9. Heather, LOL!

    And yes, I rarely send my material to anybody other than an agent or editor, but when I do it's the same thing, just a smaller version of that mental state. Right now I need to send out my ms for possible endorsements, and I can't make myself do it. I want to cling to the delusion as long as possible.

  10. jason -- yes! thanks for saying that! :D I'm suspicious too, and I have to wonder if the people who say they are just writing for themselves are at a completely different level of insecurity. I'm impatient with that attitude if it's about fear of rejection. Yes it hurts, but put on the big girl tights and admit that you really want to be read. don't lie and say it's just for you. and the statement I'm just writing for me is always delivered with an air of superiority. I think that's what bugs me the most. On the other hand, I also realize that I am seeking approval and validation through writing, so maybe those only for me people aren't as messed up as I want to think they are. :D

  11. I'm a completely delusional writer. :)

    Good luck, Anne! 2010 could be a cool year. ;)