A couple of weeks ago, I talked about stepping out of my comfort zone. I think the theme is still with me this week. Right now I’m gathering the courage to do something out of my comfort zone. Just thinking about it is enough to send butterflies circling around in my stomach.
Currently, I’m editing a single title urban fantasy called “Rising Dawn.” On many levels, this manuscript was a stretch for me. If you’ve read my work, you know I normally write dark, paranormal, erotic romance. This work in progress is the exact opposite — a light, funny urban fantasy. It was a stretch for me, but a healthy one. I think I’ve grown as a writer because of it.
Now the time is fast approaching when I’ll start querying agents. I’ve written single title length manuscripts before, I’ve even queried agents before, but none of it resulted in representation or a sale. This time I want it to be different. This time around, I want that sale so bad I can taste it. I obsess about it. I crave it.
I’ve managed to build up this whole submission process in my mind so that it’s now a life-or-death situation for me. (Go ahead, you can laugh. It’s silly to think this, I know.) I feel like I *must* get an agent this year, and I *must* make that sale to New York next year. Otherwise, I’m a failure. The dream is dead. Where does this come from? To be honest, I’m not quite sure. No automatic “get out of rejection free” card after you’ve written so many manuscripts. As an author, if I’m not ready for the public, then I don’t want my work published. As hard as it is receiving form rejections from agents and editors, it’s even harder getting bad reviews from readers and critics. If my work isn’t up to snuff, then I should go back to the drawing board.
The thing is, I’ve already gone back to the drawing board — twice. This is my third time submitting a polished manuscript to New York and I feel that this should be “the one.” I’ve paid my dues, so its my time, right?
Maybe, maybe not. It’s tough in a situation like this to have perspective, but I’m trying. I love this book and love its characters. I’m close to the manuscript because I’ve spent so much time on it. The thought of someone not liking my baby hurts and hurts bad. It freezes me with fear and fills me with doubt. The thought of going back and starting all over with another story terrifies me to the core. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to go through this a fourth time. Or a fifth. Or a… *gulp* Tenth.
I’m trying to push through my negative vibes and gather the courage to start querying. I’ve done all of my research, made a short and long list of agents, prepared my query letter, polished it within an inch of its life, and I’m ready to go… kind of.
I put together my first email on Monday. I double checked the email address and ran the spell checker, but… I just couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t hit the send button on the email. There’s so much at stake here! Six months of blood, sweat and tears went into this manuscript. I don’t want to fail… but if I never hit “send,” then I’ve already failed, haven’t I?
So, I’m asking all of you writers and readers out for some tips on taming the butterflies. Can you help a girl gather the courage to hit “send?”
And in the meantime, here’s the blurb of my urban fantasy. Enjoy!
Dawn, a twenty-three year old coffee barista, makes a New Years resolution to stop sitting at home and start becoming social again. After five years away from the dating scene, she goes into one of trendiest clubs in Atlanta in search of love and ends up battling a powerful necromancer for her soul. The whole incident leaves her battered and confused, and she starts to look for answers. With the help of a fedora-wearing vigilante, a cocky club owner, and a Voodoo practicing hair dresser, she starts to find them. Together these three introduce her to an underground world where zombies rule and everyone has a hidden agenda.
As the necromancer’s motives become known, Dawn discovers and develops some unique supernatural abilities. Strong emotions drive her magic, and in this cold, passionless underworld she becomes more powerful with each passing day. Being on an emotional roller coaster can be draining however, especially when most of her feelings are wrapped up in a man with a mysterious past and who has an affinity for Indiana Jones-style hats. When her enemies set a trap, Dawn is forced to confront some of her insecurities. In doing so she learns that in order to live life to its fullest, one must be prepared to die — or at least change the color of your hair.