After years and years, I'm almost done. My husband has been gently shoving me towards the next move: finding an agent. This is the tricky part. Find someone who thinks your story is as good as you say it is. Find someone willing to slog through the pre-edited mess and see the potential, but in order to find that person, you have to advertise what you're selling with a teaser--a query letter. This will inevitably bring countless rejections, and I will inevitably have to tell myself exactly what I've been saying to myself throughout my job search: It only takes one. Then those interested will request a manuscript and those who like that enough to peddle it to the publishers will do the hustling on my behalf. This doesn't faze some people, but for some reason I find it very daunting.
In the back of my mind I hear that what I have isn't good, people won't pay to read it, the voices of the characters are totally off. I know I need to ignore that and press on. I've read so many so-called best selling books that aren't all that great, but they had a great marketing machine, and somehow people were convinced that these stories were better than they actually were. While I still want to write a good book, I know that I need effective marketing.
My husband talked to a friend who is also working on a book. A few years ago I connected with another writer who was writing a story on West Point. He emailed a bunch of graduates to get them to read what he already had and make corrections. I'm not lying when I tell you that it stunk. It was awful, and yet I admired the guy for trying and for believing that he had something worth publishing. I helped him with many things so I figured when he got somewhere, he would put in a good word for me. He claimed to know an author and then as soon as I asked for the guy's contact information, I got the back pedal. "Oh no, you don't want to talk to that guy." I wrote a scathing email message in response and promptly added him to my block list.
The most recent offer to connect was through a friend of my husband's, who apparently has his own book in the works. "He's going to send his agent's contact info," my husband said, which elicited a shrug from me. My instincts told me something was off.
Today I received a link to the agent's website. In my mind, I was thinking "Oh, it's probably some hack." I was hoping something would prove me wrong, but no, I was right, it really was some hack. In addition to being a veteran, the guy has a string of advanced degrees listed after his name, which might as well have been red flags. In addition to that, he's got information about himself, probably in an effort to seem "real, but when you write:
Remember - I don't take life too seriously, soooo don't expect this over-educated academic pundent to continously prove his literary skills, because I've been there and done that and I just won't anymore.
I mean is it considered arrogant to write "pundit" instead of that non-existent word listed? I'm also going to admit that the confederate pride and the wearing of a cap with a confederate flag on it didn't win points. I get it. Some people are proud of that, but is your professional website really the appropriate venue to show your rebel pride? If I wasn't turned off before (I was), this was the thing to push me over.
So this just confirms that I probably need to take the hard road, hustle and hope that someone out there believes what I have is good enough to sell.