Tag Archives: writing; queries; manuscripts

GUEST POST: On the verge of a first manuscript submission

Some thoughts from client R.L. Saunders…RL Saunders

My first presentable manuscript is going out on submission very soon. Finally. I’m telling you, my agent is so damn picky. It’s almost like she doesn’t want to send out manuscripts until she feels they’ll sell.

I hope this isn’t the end, of course. But just getting to this point feels like something. So, between anxiety-related physiological reactions, some unspeakable, I’m feeling really reflective about the whole weird journey that got us to this point.

What’s funny is that some parts of what I’m feeling, like the nervous waves of nausea, are basically the same as when I began querying. I checked my email every hour. Still do. I can’t stop. The habit will be further reinforced while I’m waiting for news about subs. (And those of you who have been there, or are there now, know that’s a fat lie. It’s more like every 45 seconds.)

There was a period during which I checked my inbox all through the night. Because prospective agents probably pull all-nighters reading enthralling queries, and will want to request fulls at 3 a.m. I know we live in the same time zone, but maybe she’s travelling, and she’s reading and responding to queries right now. No email at 3 a.m.? Time to check twitter, real quick, to see if she tweeted anything about international travel this week. Shit, nothing. I’ll give it some time. Like until 3:15.

As a premature querier, this went on for a long time. I had a story with decent voice but no real plot to speak of. Do you like the sound of my voice, prospective agent? ME, TOO! Here are tens of thousands of words of my ultra captivating voice for your reading pleasure! Prospective agent say what? Readers like some kind of narrative arc to follow?  Something to compel them to finish the page and possibly even turn it? FINE.

I’d always been a reader, but I started reading more through writer eyes. I paid closer attention to the stuff that made me pay attention, you know? I shaped up my manuscript some more, queried some more (still too soon) and found The One I wanted to work with!

Just two small problems, though. One, she wasn’t an agent yet. Two, she didn’t love my manuscript yet. Details.

Very, very long story short (oh my god, it’s such a long story that includes scrapping the first MS and a lot of twitter stalking), here we are, sending my baby out into the world. Maybe he’ll get slapped around a little before the right person finds him, and that might be good for him. But I know he’ll make it somewhere, someday. He’ll be okay and so will I. I have to believe that.

And if there’s one thing I’ve learned through this process, it’s that nothing’s ever for nothing. All I’ve done, including the moronic stuff—oh so much moronic stuff—has brought me to the place that’s right for me, at the time that’s right for me to be here.  Does that make any sense?

Several years ago, R.L. Saunders  quit her job as an English teacher, sold her house, dropped out of her Ph.D. program, and moved to an island. In Key West, she spent a couple of years teaching, then had a boatload of fun as associate editor and columnist for an island newspaper. Now she writes full-time under a palm tree, sipping rum from a coconut. Living real life in the middle of everybody else’s vacation is a constant challenge.


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