A lot has been happening with my novel since my last update. I hired an editor to look it over because I really wanted to have an impartial person look it over. While I trust the friends who have read it and offered their feedback, I felt it was good to get the perspective of someone who had no ties to me. After mailing it off, I wanted ever-so-patiently for her to get back to me with her thoughts. When the email arrived, it said only, “I’ve finished reading/commenting on your novel. Can you meet tomorrow at 11:45?” That was all. No indication of her thoughts in any way. Did she love it? Did she hate it? Was she going to tell me I need to change a hundred things? A thousand thing? Reconsider writing and think about learning a musical instrument instead? I had no idea. The 18 hours that followed were hell.
When she showed up at my office for the meeting, she could not have been nicer and was excited by what I’d written. She really enjoyed it and was quite complimentary. I had specifically asked her to be hypercritical and mark everything she thought I needed to address, and I must say she did just that. There is hardly a page without a comment, which is exactly what I was hoping to see. Most of her comments involved sections she thought could use stronger or more precise word choices (and she was right on all of them). There were only a couple of places she felt I needed to address bigger problems, and I agreed with her on those as well. What a difference a new set of eyes can make!
I have also begun the hunt for an agent. I’ve sent queries out to almost a dozen agents who specialize in fantasy novel and/or novels with LGBT protagonists. I have gotten three rejections so far! I find them a badge of honor. JK Rowling was rejected 9 time with Harry Potter before she got it accepted. While I don’t think I have the next Harry Potter series, I am honest enough with myself to know I will have to work to find the right agent and the right publisher to get this book in print. (I know I can always self-publish it, but it’s a lot harder to get it into brick-and-mortar stores if you self-publish. I’m not saying I won’t consider it, but I want to try the traditional route first.)
The time it’s taking to find an agent is allowing me the opportunity to fine tune it to make it the best I can. I’ve directed enough plays to know it’s possible to over-tinker, so I’m trying to not do that, but I feel like this work is going to pay off. I want my first novel to be as good as I can make it. I’ve read a lot of advice from authors who say their first novel wasn’t nearly as good as they thought it was when they went back and read it much later, and I’m sure I’ll do the same. But I still want it to be as good as I can make it with my current, evolving skill set.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to read it soon. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.