It’s been over five years since I started on my first novel. As with any endeavor, I’ve done a ton of research on the various parts of the process from writing to publication. I’ve gotten workshop feedback, beta reader comments and query critiques.
I just attended a webinar on avoiding rookie mistakes in query writing — it was one of those things where I thought, “why not, maybe it’ll help.” If anything, the webinar reinforced that the only thing consistent in the materials I’ve covered in that time is the inconsistency of advice and information. Dig long enough and you’ll find advice that directly conflicts, leaving you scratching your head and clenching your teeth in frustration.
I can’t help but see that so much of what we pin our hopes on is merely produced ostensibly to help the writer, but is simply nothing more than a for-profit business designed to tap into our desires to “make it.”
Not that it’s overly surprising, but it’s safe to say that so much of the publishing industry is based strictly on human preference. I think we all know this is the case on some level, but it doesn’t keep us from looking for “insider info” or a leg up. Ultimately, we must bust our butts writing, synopsizing, querying, putting ourselves out there and failing more often than not and pray for that sweet, sweet nexus where what we produce catches the imagination of someone willing to go to bat for it.
In the end, we can shell out as much money as we want, but no one is going to write our books for us, no one is going to hold our hand and make sure our queries are perfect for each agent to whom we submit them.
Eh, so be it. I guess the key is not to be in a rush, to enjoy the ride and keep on keeping on. Maybe that’s the only consistent bit of advice worth paying attention to.