Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Moving on...sometimes it's a necessity

Tip of the Day: if moving on from a book is hard for you, try to visualize the end result. It might make it easier.

Two weeks ago I briefly mentioned that sometimes it’s okay to “give up” querying a book. Not as in give up on a book completely, but put a book down for now, move onto something else, and then maybe in the future come back to that book.

If you are serious about your writing, you owe it to your book to have it be the best it can possibly be when trying to query agents, and if during the querying process you learn it’s not the best it can be, I think you need to stop, make it better, and then get back to querying. But how can you determine when to stop?

Because there are several times during the writing and querying process when all of us want to give up and if everyone did that no published books would exist.

Here’s what I think.

  • If you just want to stop because you get a one or two rejection stings. Keep going. If it’s a hundred rejection stings, chances are you need to reevaluate your book.
  • Stop when you don’t know who to query anymore. Hold off, think about your book more, and then get back to searching for agents or editors.
  • When you get a rejection that resonance with you, you agree with it, and you realize you need more time to think about the book before being able to fix it.
  • When another project is pulling you more strongly. Now this happens a lot, so you have to be far enough along to make the judgment call on what is best to spend your time on. Querying agents isn’t that really labor intensive, so you should be able to do both. But if not giving up on your old book is keeping you from making your new book as best it can, then maybe it’s time to move on. Get the new book done, and then go back to the old book.

I don’t like saying give up on a book, because I don’t think you should ever give up on a book. Especially if you believe in it. But I think you have to be smart about the time you have available. Just like in your day job, you have to pick and choose what things to do first. And if you are seriously wanting to be a writer, you need to treat it like a career or business.

This is very subjective. We’ve all heard the stories of those that didn’t give up. Even our own Tina landed her agent with lucky number 87 for her book. But I do think there’s a point when you can determine when to at least set your book down. At least for a month, a year, or maybe even a few years.

Because your next book might be The One that launches your career, and if you don’t get that book done then you’ll never know.

--Emily, Miss Querylicious


Kate Fall said...

I like the way you word this "you have to pick and choose what to do first." That's a much more reasonable way of looking at things than "OMG did I do all that work for a book that will never, ever sell?!" Great advice, as always.

Lisa Schroeder said...

Great post. I've moved on a number of times, and still have books I wrote but never did anything with. The real writers just keep writing, and querying as long as it feels "right" to do so.

Christina Farley said...

This is a good post. Maybe I'll work up the guts to send out a novel again. You're motivating me!

DeenaML said...

This is so true. It's scary to think your novel might not be The One to get picked up, but you have to keep writing if you're a writer!