On Writing and Publishing

I am a writer (aren’t we all?). I am not recognized, not published, not represented, not … you got it. I am “not.” But I do love writing (don’t we all?). I started three (!) novels and never finished them. Why? My novels bored me. I became extremely impatient. I wanted to finish my first novel within one month, my second – within three months. Finally I became more reasonable and gave myself six months to finish my third novel. As you can guess, I never finished any of them.

However, I wrote a query letter, describing an electrifying and powerful plot of my third novel, and emailed it to twenty agents. The fact that the novel was unfinished, unwritten and unedited was conveniently omitted. Three days later a very respectable agent asked me for the first chapter. That’s when it hit me. What was I thinking when I sent the query out? Obviously, I was not thinking. I was dreaming.

I feverishly edited my first chapter and emailed it to the agent. Then I panicked. What if the agent liked it and wanted a full (nonexistent) manuscript? What if I blew my only chance of becoming a published writer? You are not going to believe me but I really, really hoped that the agent wouldn’t like my first chapter. Thankfully, she didn‘t.

After this agent searching debacle, I decided to revamp my approach to writing novels. Instead of attempting to write an epic book, I wrote a short story. When it was edited numerous times and polished, and edited some more, I sent it to twenty-five literary magazines. Today I received my twentieth rejection. I am disappointed. I am sad. But I am still hopeful. Five magazines have not rejected me. Yet.

I think that one day I might post here one of my favorite excerpts from the short story I’ve written. Maybe not one but two excerpts. Maybe you will even like it.

5 thoughts on “On Writing and Publishing

  1. mauthor

    I’m also a unpublished writer and i’m just wandering what made your query letter appealing to the agent that wanted to read your first chapter? could you post that query letter? I too have written a novel and so far haven’t seen a positive respond to my query letter. Also, Do you know what/whether magazine accepts stories that has less than 40,000 (or in other word novella)? Thanks for blogging on your experience and hope that succeed in your writing endeavor.

    Reply
    1. aloysa

      I am still puzzled why that particular agent responded to my query. Don’t forget that she was the only one who was interested. There was also only one rejection, and all the rest did not even bother to respond with a form letter. Let me think about your request to see my query. Let me collect my courage and post it… Perhaps… LOL. Every literary magazine has specific word count requirements. Check out http://www.duotrope.com. It is an excellent website that helped me to select from gazillion of literary magazines.

      Reply
    2. aloysa

      I agree with you. You have to start somewhere, right? Congratulations to you! You have at least one publishing credit. So what that it is an unpaid publication? I’d be happy to get my story placed in a good and reputable unpaid publication! Then at least I could say that my story was published in “Some” literary magazine. Thank you for supporting me! We all need encouragement and support. Publishing industry is an indifferent and cruel world. Good Luck to us all!

      Reply
  2. systematicweasel

    Interesting thoughts here. I’ve never been published by a major or paying publication, but I did have a poem placed in my local College Arts Journal (free publication). I think it’s nice to just put something out there, whether on a blog or in a free arts magazine. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    -Weasel

    Reply
  3. Tricia

    I love the hopeful, the glass half full attitude. “Five magazines have not rejected me. Yet.”

    In this business, it’s important to keep positive.

    Reply

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