Hello, dears! I hope you’re all taking care of yourselves during this weird, weird week.
No Reading Round-up this month because I only had three stories I really wanted to include and I felt like that would leave it a little short. Expect an extra long Round-up in March, by which point I anticipate that I will have read many more books.
I haven’t been reading that much because I’ve been spending a lot of my spare time getting ready for Futurescapes, which is next week! So soon! So I’ve been reading through my critique group’s work and trying to get my ducks in a row there, and also spending a lot of time with the latter half of the novel I’ve submitted to the workshop. And if that wasn’t enough, I also participated in SFFpit yesterday, which took a lot of energy to prepare for. I’m happy to say I now have some pretty awesome pitches worked out for both my Futurescapes novel and the other novel I finished over the summer, screenshots below for the curious. I’m going to move into querying both of these in the next couple of months, which is intimidating. I’ve already been querying Codename: Zombie Book for a long time, of course, but I’ve only wracked up about 23 Rejections for that project, so I could potentially keep querying that as well. To be honest, I haven’t decided what to do with that project.
Queries take a lot out of me. For me to get five query letters out usually takes about half of a day. It’s a combination of factors, there — the research is a big part, making sure the agent is actually still accepting queries, putting together what they ask for specifically, etc. But the emotional weight of querying is brutal, and I haven’t found a way to address that. It leaves me wiped out for a couple of days. For some reason it’s not as awful with short stories, probably because a lot less preparation goes into each submission. You have a story, you send it off in its entirety, you include a few details about yourself. Most magazine submissions are fairly standardized, but querying is a different animal, and it’s a changing landscape. A lot of agents use submission forms now, for example, which require information on sales of past projects and other fun stuff. So even the query letter that I adjust each time is now potentially obsolete or not the end of the things I have to share about myself and my career. It feels much more personal somehow.
So I spend a lot of time sitting with that anxiety during query season, and it does damage my productivity in other areas. There are only so many hours in a day after all. But I remind myself that this is a necessary step of the whole song and dance. If I want my stuff to be published traditionally, it has to get on someone’s desk to be considered. Instead of getting mad at myself about feeling vulnerable, I do a lot of self-comfort. Which is not a bad tactic these days anyway.
I hope you all do something to comfort yourselves this weekend. Stay safe out there.