So.  Looking for an agent is exhausting.

Of course I knew it would be hard – everyone says so – but I had always assumed the hard part was writing queries and waiting months to hear back only to be rejected.  So I prepared for that.  Silly me, I never thought about how hard it was to decide who to query in the first place…

I don’t know any agents, nor do I know anyone who knows any agents (I don’t think?  I mean, please DM me if I’m wrong and/or clueless here.)  So I’m starting from scratch.  Which is a phrase that I think refers to what you want to do to your own eyeballs after staring at agent pages for entirely too long.

Quirk is speculative fiction, which is the kinda generic genre that encompasses sci-fi/fantasy/other.  (Quirk, being about villains in modern day, is “other”.)  There are a grand total of 29 agents who specifically list speculative fiction as something they look for in Publisher’s Marketplace, so that does help narrow it down considerably.  That’s assuming I’m right and I shouldn’t actually be looking in urban fantasy or something.  There aren’t a ton of similar books to compare it to that I’ve found (I’ve had to try though – some agents request a list of books your book can be compared to.  More on that another time.)

So you find an agent, and you look at their Manuscript Wish List and see if your book might kinda sorta fit  with their interests.  And you check their twitter and see if this is a person that you think you’d work with well.  And you check if they belong to the guild, make sure they’re not listed as being fraudulent or having a bad reputation, and see what books they’ve sold recently to which publishers.

And then when you decide to go ahead and query – you discover they’re currently overwhelmed and just stopped accepting them for now.

This must be a sign that it’s time to shut down the laptop and take a walk…

I’m looking for beta readers.

Yes, I know I said that I was done writing the book – and I am! – and that I had finished all the polishing – and I have! – but the thing is, as someone I can’t be bothered to look up said, books are never finished, only abandoned.

I know I’m at the agent-getting part of this process, and I really am working on it (more later on that), but in the meantime, it would be helpful to me if I had some feedback.

There are two main reasons for this.

First, if (when) I get rejected a zillion times, I may end up starting from scratch or rewriting this book.  In that case, the more information on what may have gone wrong, the better.  I’d really like to have that information even if I disagree with it right now – I may love that maritime reference right now, but after say, 30 rejections, maybe I’ll go through the feedback, see that everyone else hated it and say “Hm.  Maybe this should go.”

Second, if I get encouraging feedback, it will help me know that, even after a zillion rejections, SOMEONE had a nice time reading my book.  That seems worthwhile as well.

Also, there’s a good chance someone could find that typo or worse, plot hole, that really messes with the book…and I could fix it before sending it out.  That could be downright lifesaving as far as I’m concerned.

Of course, the problem with beta readers is finding the right ones.  I’ve read that you want at least two – both people that you trust.  One who will tell you that you’re wonderful and they’re so proud of you.  And another who says, hmm, maybe fix that?

That sounds really good.  But, (surely unlike any other writer) I have very thin skin, really.  I assume.  Which is why, of the people that I trust, none of them apparently want to be the one who says bad things.  Either I’m the best writer in the world (well I mean, obviously) or perhaps I have too nice of friends.

I recognize that I am wishing for something I may quickly regret.  Maybe I won’t be able to take criticism well at all.

I’m going to ask for it anyway though.  Because I could just be blinded and unable to see that all I write is trash.  (Yup, that escalated quickly.)

I’ve finished my book.  And now, the work begins.

Or so I’m told.  I am officially entering the realm of “I know nothing about anything”, so who knows?  Perhaps I will be one of those blessed writers who find the business side of things exciting and enjoyable.

I doubt it though.  Not that I’m a pessimist, but everything does tend to go wrong.  I’ve heard scary words like “networking” and “contacts”, and as a being who is not adept at connecting with other beings…that doesn’t seem to bode well.

But I’m game, mostly because I apparently have to be?  I thought a good start would be to blog some.  Get me used to talking with the outside world more, even if that “outside world” is probably imaginary and the “talking” is just more writing.  To myself.

I don’t mind that.  I don’t mind writing more, certainly, and I don’t mind writing to myself at all.  And if people started to read this writing I would not mind that either, I don’t think.

Ok I lied, that would be scary.  My heart rate just shot up 24% from thinking about it.  And I just spent entirely too long looking at that number and wondering if I should change it to a more sensible 25%, or a more quirky 23%, because if PEOPLE ARE LOOKING it has to be right…right?


I’m a mess, but probably every writer is a mess, I hope.

And that seems like a start, at any rate.