Sep 9, 2012
When it's time to move on
We learn from every experience. Good or bad. And if you're lucky enough to be a writer (or a quilter!), you can use everything eventually.
Some of you may have noticed that my agent has changed recently. Unlike the first time I signed, I haven't posted a huge hullabaloo of yahoo. For many writers, switching agents is viewed a bit like getting a divorce. The second signing is like the second wedding - the bride wearing a business suit instead of a white gown, only family present. However, this analogy doesn't quite hold true because in this case, the business suit is actually more applicable. The agent-author relationship IS a business one. It isn't until death-do-you-part. Break-ups happen all the time.
But why, you ask, did you and your former agent end your relationship?
One word: incompatibility. Our working styles, our expectations, our method of communicating, didn't mesh. Fortunately, we both figured it out at the same time. And we parted with lots of cyber hugs, promises to stay in touch when good things happen, and best wishes...because she is a great agent and a wonderful person. I am a very lucky girl to have worked with her.
And I am beyond thrilled to have Andrea Somberg at my back. She is uber-experienced, has the reputation of being one of the nicest agents in the business, and her clients cannot say enough good things about her. I am a very lucky girl to be working with her.
This experience has made me think of several emails I've received recently from writers who aren't getting any query love for their current MS. They've peddled it for months. They've rewritten it forty-zillion times. They enter contests, plead for betas, read writing books. And still: nothing. I love this book so much! they write to me. How do I know when it's time to give it up?
The publishing journey is such an individual path, it's different for every person. I gave up querying a novel after only three months. It took only eight months for me to figure out it wasn't working with my previous agent. While I just said that nothing is ever wasted, the one exception to that principle is: TIME.
So in order to help those of you pondering the great "rewrite-or-move-on" question, here are several very general signals that indicate it might be time to move on:
1. If your request rate is really low - like 1-3 percent.
2. The market is saturated with concepts like yours.
3. When entering contests, commentors are more critical than admiring.
4. This is your very first ever completed MS.
5. You just want to "get it out there!" The intricacies of all those editing expectations are more frustrating than freeing.*
6. You really believe you've made your MS the best it can be.*
*If #5 and #6 are true for you, self-publishing may be the way to go.
What time-to-move-on signals have you experienced that I missed? Share them in the comments!
Have a great week.