I am currently in the process of selling my house. At the end of the month it will be sold and a nice family will get to enjoy all the amenities we updated. I try not to be bitter about that. It's just life, but it was still money spent I don't get to enjoy like the new water heater. ::grumble:: For six months I got a LOAD of encouraging comments ranging from kind to the truly irritating. For example: "don't worry about it, things will pick up in the spring" or my least favorite, "You only need one person to fall in love with it."
That last statement makes my hackles rise. It elicits the same grating irritation as twenty grey haired, mean faced, uptight, old style school teachers running their fingernails across a chalkboard. It's just NOT the thing to say to a writer trying to sell her house.
I've been in the writing game for some four going on five years. I've written a phenomenal 460,000 words in 6 books. Each one better than the last. Each one still unpublished. Some are funny, others suspenseful, and one is a sappy romance. I worked hard on all of them. Editing and revising, crying and laughing. Frankly, I spent just as much time on the query letters as the novels themselves and have garnered a lot of agent attention. Which brings me to the part I hate.
I know first hand that agents are busy and all that blah blah blah. I've been there and done that in reading and responding to submissions at an agency. It takes time, but I also have had writer friends who were picked up and sold wicked fast. Turn around time in the 3-5 months range. I'm never that lucky. My submissions sit on the darkest corner of the agent's laptop and gather dust. I've been there for so long I constructed a letter that is sitting in my "drafts" folder in Yahoo Mail concerning agents with long wait times. It goes like this:
Dear Agent Whom I was hoping would be Awesome,
Thank you for considering my writing and requesting a submission last year. I understand that you are busy and I appreciate your time and efforts. However, if you could give my book a quick look and get back to me... well, I might die of shock. But perchance that I survive massive cardiac arrest, I would love to hear back from you.
Yours Faithfully Waiting,
You may think I jest, but I'm not. My oldest submission is 2 years and four months, followed by two agents tied for second at one year and eight months. Third and fourth are neck to neck with respectively thirteen and eleven months. The honorable mentions slide in at eight months and counting. Anything newer than six months don't make the roster.
I hate waiting.
I hated waiting on the sale of my house. I still can't believe it's real mainly because I have been "in waiting" for so many years that I have forgotten what it feels like to actually hear the word YES. As in YES, I would love to represent your work. YES, I think your writing is worthy of being printed. YES, I would love to buy your home. And YES, after 40 showings on your house someone FINALLY likes it enough to buy it (and bid low enough on it that we are going to lose money on it).
I think I just shed an involuntary tear.
It took 40 showings to sell my house. 40 times cleaning up after my dog, my boys, and myself, shoving them into the car and disappearing for an hour at a time. It's was a 40 showing horror trip with a dog that gets carsick and little boys that have homework and soccer games and practices and science fair projects. 40 showings to get my hopes up. 40 crashes when they don't want it. Sounds depressing? This is nothing.
Over four and a half years and six books I have sent out 246 queries, received 169 rejections and 23 no replies that mean no thanks. I am waiting on 10 agents to get back to me, which leaves 44 queries I have floating around in Undecided Land. Whenever I hear the famous saying that it only takes one agent, only one "yes"... I. WANT. TO. STRANGLE. SOMEONE.
And yet, life goes on.