A lot has happened to the MS since my last S.o.D. post back in April of 2012. This book has been an amazing learning tool for me. When I first completed it, I did a mild round of edits and immediately started sending it to agents thinking it was ready. BIG MISTAKE. And apparently incredibly common. Writers are always finishing their first novel, full of pride and euphoria, ready to take on the world and write the next one. But they’re never ready. Ever. Not even for the most accomplished authors. Everyone has to go through a round (or ten) of revisions, beta readers, critique partners, freelance editors, etc.
It’s been four years since I “completed” my manuscript, not understanding at the time what having a first draft even meant. It’s gone under the knife so many times by now that it’s a whole new book. I’ve had many betas and two rounds with an editor, which I’m not ashamed of (some agents think you should be; you should be able to edit your manuscript yourself. As a first time novel-writer, I say that’s huey. How else are you supposed to learn?) I’ve read countless books on writing and the industry, been to writers groups, gone to two writer’s conferences, and participated in two Boot Camps.
The manuscript has been edited down to about 70,000 words – which is still too high for a middle grade, technically – but I’m still working on revisions. It’s been difficult, with bouts of doubt and excited coastering me up and down. But this time, packed with knowledge and years of experience and learning, I know that the manuscript is incredibly close. I’ve had my first full request which is already noting something good. I will continue to query this book for a long time to come, trying to find the right agent for it won’t be easy. The market isn’t “ripe” for it. But I do know that people will enjoy it once it’s out, it’s a story that needs to be told. I’ll keep pushing on with it, but I have every intention of taking the knowledge I’ve gained to begin writing a new book.