Wednesday, April 6, 2016

IWSG: Will I Regret This Book?

The ISWG is a blog hop where writers can share their fears and insecurities about the writing life. To learn more, check out their website here.

I have been very insecure about something lately. So, I wrote this book (heh). And I started querying it. But instantly, I just felt like it wasn't going to happen. At its heart, this book is a dystopian, though I truly believe it's different than a normal dystopian (even my cp's have said so!).
 
But still, dystopian. You hear the agents cringing from here, don't you? So I'm done querying. I have a handful of publishers I will be submitting directly to before long. In the meantime, I'm working on something new. And I'm loving it! I think this will be the best thing I've written so far, which yay for getting better with each book. 

It's very different from my dystopian. It's set in the early 1800's, and I'm calling it my steampunk/Great Gatsby baby. I fondly imagine this baby in a nice hardcover, having landed an agent and publishing deal (of course that's putting the cart before the horse, but that is my dream: and I daydream about my dream all the time). This imagining makes me wonder about my dystopian. On the sliiiim chance a publisher does accept it and it gets published: Is it good enough? 

Is this the book I want to debut with? I used to feel fiercely about this book. Now, with the arrival of steampunk/GG, my enthusiasm has waned. But I worked long and hard on my dystopian, and wrote it to the best of my ability. So is that good enough? If I were so lucky to be published with it, would my doubts go away? Or would I still feel like it's not quite worthy of being out there? I have troubled my cp's with this, and amazing gals that they are, they've reassured me it's good enough. But my neurotic writer-brain has issues (so.many.issues). 

And ack. This post definitely has me feeling super insecure now! But...good therapy? ;) Also, this is my first ISWG post-- I hope I did it 'right', lol!

67 comments:

  1. Hi Leandra! It will be awesome when your book baby is out in the world. I'm impatient so I didn't last long with the querying process, and luckily I found a small publisher to get me started. I've self-published my last 2 books and that has been a great fit for me. I believe that no matter which book comes out first, it won't be your best writing. With professional editing it can be good, but we learn a lot with each book we write. I suggest focusing on writing your second book (that seems to be where your passion is) while you continue exploring publishing your first book. I heard authors need four published books in order to start to have name recognition, and that number is probably a low estimate.

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    1. Thanks so much for the advice, Jennifer! It's always good to hear from those out there exploring real-world authordom. =)

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  2. You know, I think all trends eventually return--not quite the same, but return nonetheless. I've got a few books I'm holding onto until the time comes, and meanwhile, on to new and exciting adventures! Your new idea sounds epic.

    Crystal Collier

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    1. Thanks, Crystal! It feels epic, but I'm also in new ms love. ;)

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  3. I always wonder the same thing for every single book I submit. I think that's normal for a writer. And yay for your new project! It sounds really awesome.

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    1. That's good to know! And sorry we're all a bit neurotic... ;)

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  4. What Christine said. But you just have to go with it. Unless you want to put out short story first. You know, as a primer.

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    1. I do have one short story out! It was definitely a fun experience.

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  5. You have done the absolutely best thing you can while trudging through the road to publication by diving into a new project! It's so easy to get dragged down by publishing and immersing in the magic of writing is the very best antidote.

    I've just had my debut novel re-released after digging in and making lots of changes to it, because honestly, I don't think that first version was good enough. So, I get your doubts, and it's good you have your crit partners to be honest with you - listen to them! If they say it's good enough, it probably is.

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    1. Thanks, Nicki! They're pretty smart ladies. =) And good luck w/your re-release!

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  6. Keep working on both of them. You never know which one will click with and editor or agent.

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  7. Welcome to IWSG Leandra. Don't give up on your dystopian book, try a few more agents. And I love your dream (your book out in a nice hardcover with one of the Big 5, and your agent sending you the good news). Fingers crossed for you.

    Rachna Chhabria
    Co-host IWSG
    Rachna's Scriptorium

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    1. Thank you, friendly bunch! And dreams are the best. =)

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  8. It sounds like you are in a good place moving on to another project. You never know where the market will go and maybe your dystopian will have a chance in a few years. Beyond that, you finished a book! There are SO MANY people who say they want to write a book and never finish. Not even one. That's a huge accomplishment right there.

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  9. YAY!!! I'm so excited to see that you've joined the IWSG!! Welcome, my friend!

    Well, you already know my thoughts on this, but here's maybe one thing I haven't said yet. YES, CG is good enough. YES, it needs to be published. YES, you should debut with it. I struggled with these same thoughts, I really did. Here's one thing I've learned in these last few weeks—there's an amazing amount of confidence that comes when you know a publisher wants to publish your book (no matter the size of the company). When you have someone who BELIEVES in it, other than yourself and your cps, it's an amazing feeling. For me, I needed this right now. I needed to believe in myself, to find the joy in writing, to feel the arms of acceptance instead of the sting of rejection. If you feel like you need that too, then I say go for it. Try to get a smaller pub for CG. As for me, I needed to hold a book in my hands, and I knew I couldn't wait another year or two or however long it would take to land that agent and get that sweet book deal. I think you have to ask yourself, am I willing to wait?

    Sorry to write a book! We can chat more later, if you need to. You know I'm always here for you.:)

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    1. You are the bestest! =) Thanks for telling me this- and always being a source of encouragement.

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  10. Go ahead and submit to publishers. You'll find one who is still excited about dystopian stories. Submit the other one as well. Just think - they could both be accepted.

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  11. I was basically chased out of writing romance because of a similar thing to the dystopian backlash. In the late 90s/early 00s I wrote romantic comedy. That was my talent. That was what I enjoyed. Then came chick lit and BOOM...about two years later any book resembling chick lit was poison. My voice just comes across as chicklity even when I'm trying to be serious. My heroines are a little quirky and clumsy--kinda Meg Ryanish. Unfortunately, there's no market for that now, so I write younger. It's sad when something comes along and kills an entire type of writing permanently because it squashes good voices, I think.

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    1. I didn't know this, Stephanie. =/ That stinks! But I'm glad you were able to adapt. Kind of the name of the game, eh?

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  12. Leeandra, I queried the heck out of my books and after tons of rejections and depression and was ready to give it all up when someone suggested small publishers. I went that publisher route and landed 3 offers right away. Even though it's kinda a dream to see my books in Target or B&N that won't happen with my publisher, at least not yet. I say go for it and enjoy the ride. You can always query your next project with a little experience under your belt. (ps-I love dystopian and have 2 books out there)

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    1. That's awesome, Cathrina! It does seem like smaller publishers are still willing to give dystopian a chance- which is awesome!

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  13. You did this post all wrong.

    Just kidding :)

    Welcome to the group and just know that I (and probably everyone else here) share the same question about our work's quality. I don't know the answer. I wish there was one. Only do your best and keep working, keep writing.

    I'm already interested in your GG baby :) Is there a sub-genre under the Steam punk?

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    1. Ack, I knew it! Lol! Thanks for telling me. ;D It's good to know I'm not alone in the boat! And I don't know, good question.

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  14. Welcome, Leandra, to ISWG! I hope you get as much out of it as I do. 'm probably not the best person to give advice on this, because I have so many books I've trunked for similar reasons. Now that I've completed a book I'm really excited about, I know it was the right decision not to keep querying those. But only you know what the best thing is for you.

    So I don't have any advice, except that I love the sound of the GG baby!

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Jenni! And I'm so happy ppl think my baby's cute. ;)

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  15. Never give up on your dreams. Never! Ever! Keep writing and keep keeping on! Everything story you complete wants to be read or it would never have made you tell it!

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    1. That's a really good point, Elizabeth. Thank you!

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  16. What kind of feedback did you get from the agents on the dystopian? Was it all "This genre is so over!" or did they say different things? Also, how many queries did you send out? You may have quit too soon.

    I guess I'm in the "Don't give up" camp. Don't assume that no one wants dystopian; you may be very wrong. Trends change all the time. I'd query the life out of that thing, while writing the second book (which sounds awesome).

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    1. Um...21. So I guess I could send a few more. =) Thanks for the advice, Barbara!

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  17. I think if there's something different and interesting about your book, then someone who reads that will see it and want to publish it. And I don't think you'll be disappointed when that happens, no matter what book it is!

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  18. It's best to distract yourself with a new project. Don't give up on the first, though. :) It's tough to get out there, but worth it.

    Cool about the steampunk. Hurry up and finish so I can read it. :)

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    1. It seems the general consensus is to definitely not throw in the towel. =) And I will, lol!

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  19. I love history :) The steampunk sounds great.

    You might just be panicking over the first and being nervous. Bet it's awesome.

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  20. Leandra, I share your insecurities. I have wanted to edit the already published works ... but since I can't, I've gone back to look at them and I'm still happy and proud that they are accessible to children. I am also happy for some of the rejections now -- there are some stories that really ought to sit in a box.

    I hope your dystopian gets picked up and you have a ball writing your steampunk/GG book. That's the best of both worlds and since you are dreaming, I'll dream with you. Think Printz :)

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    1. Having someone dream with you feels warm, like sitting around a fire with blankets and hot chocolate. Thanks, Vijaya! We all need ppl to help us dream. =) And boy, does it sound like us writers can never turn off the internal editor, heh!

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  21. Perhaps keep submitting to the best places periodically while you work on other stuff. If you hit it big, you'll have another chance to sell it to one of the medium places or to do an edit and possibly sell it to a big place.

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  22. It's great that you've joined the IWSG! I can relate to your experience with the agents. My book has a vampire so you can imagine the cringes I got! I ended up with a small press and it's been a great experience for me. I hope the same will be true for you. And the new book sounds like a fantastic idea so best of luck with that one!

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    1. I glad it was a good experience! It seems like lots of small presses are wonderful places to end up at.

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  23. Keep submitting and keep all your rejection letters. A friend of mine made a place mat out of hers and she now has an awesome contact. We all second guess our work. The ones who don't usually aren't very good. Hence IWSG. ha.

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  24. I think it's normal to have that panic moment of "Is this good enough?" We all go through it. Deep breaths.

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  25. Grunge Gods was not going to land me an agent. But it's a strong book, a solid debut, and I'm glad I didn't give up on it. Write your babies. Don't permanently trunk anything. You can always self-publish and let readers decide.

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    1. Me too! GG always features fondly in my memories. And on my bookshelf! =)

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  26. Your steampunk/GG sounds VERY cool. And congratulations on completing the dystopian. Finishing a manuscript is more than halfway to where you want to go, so keep submitting it! Yep, we all wonder if anything we write is good enough.

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    1. I wish that feeling would go away! *sigh* But from all the 'yep, know what you're talking about', it seems like it doesn't. Oh well, such is the writer life!

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  27. I have definitely been there. I wonder about every book I've written if I want to debut with it, especially if I'm in the process of writing a better one. I am thinking about looking at small presses for SMALL THINGS, too. Would love to commiserate with you on finding one. I'm not really sure where to look at the moment... I don't feel like there's a ton that would publish a semi-religious magical realist sci-fi YA novel...

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  28. I love this post Leandra. It strikes a cord of truth because so many of us creative, writerly type have felt this way, me included. It seems, to me anyway, that the better writer I become, the more insecure I feel. In the olden days I had so much more confidence. So, maybe how you feel is actually a good sign. :) Your new story sounds so cool!

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    1. Lol, so did I! I was so sure I'd get a big deal and be living in a mansion before you knew it. Ignorance is bliss. ;)

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  29. I always feel that way after I finish a book. The next book always seems like it'll have such better odds...

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    1. I hate knowing we all struggle w/this, but so nice to know I'm not in the boat alone. =)

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  30. Insecurity will pop up but I'm glad to see that you're still trucking.

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    1. Thanks, Sheena-kay! That's all we can do.

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  31. Don't worry. If your dystopian is picked up by a publisher, you will be required to revise it, and you can MAKE it be the best it can be. Your steampunk baby sounds fantastic, too! Good luck on both of them!

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    1. That is totally true, Dianne! And thank you!

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  32. I think you should keep putting the dystopian out there and not let insecurities get in your way. You'll never know what could happen with it if you don't keep trying. Good luck with it and with your new idea, too!

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  33. IT IS SO GOOD ENOUGH. I loved it. I kept talking about it to my mom for like a week after I finished it. :) Do not give up. Keep querying, and then go directly to mid-size pubs. And I can't WAIT to read your current WIP <3 As long as we keep growing and getting better with each story, that's the main thing!

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    1. This made me smile so big. Two people, states away, talking about my story. Love! And thank you, dear friend, don't know where I'd be in all this w/out you!

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