NaNo officially started last Thursday, but had a bit of a sticky weekend: shark week woes, two dinner parties, MOTHERFUCKING DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME1, and a 9am dentist appointment (regular cleaning) on the Monday. BUT I wiggled some time/spoons free (a big thank you to Cutie, who is very accommodating during November weekends) and managed to keep my word-count at par. (In fact, by Sunday night I was ahead one day, which is great, because I often come out of a dentist cleaning with a bad headache, and I was worried about missing a day2.)

So the first week is going well. Our Heroes, Fletcher & Cooper, are currently stuck in a tree and about to fall into a civil war, because reasons.

But NaNo isn’t the only thing to happen this week, which means it’s time to have another installment of:

Part 2: It’s A Numbers Game, Baby

Yesterday I hit a milestone: 100 queries sent so far this year (50 each for Ashes and Creampuffs). Completely filled my queryometer3, which means it’s time to treat myself to not one but TWO spa treats.

It took me 44 weeks to complete my goal of 50 queries because there were a couple of months with no queries going out at all (such as for PitchWars or when I was stressed out in May). My usual weekly goal was 2 queries per manuscript per week, and I started the first week in January. It may not sound like a lot but bear in mind that each place I submitted to I had to first find; ascertain what genres they represented; research their calls for submissions; lurk their twitter for a crumb of something useful to put in an email as a common point of interest; often wait for submission windows. I might spend a decent amount of time deciding that yes, this agent sounds like a good one, only to find out WHOOPS they are not open to new queries at this time.

51 times I submitted fiction. My routine is to spend one day a week doing alllll my submissions, rather than spacing them and the research out. Usually Monday. Keeps me focused and lets me use the rest of the week for other tasks without needing to break my stride to send something out that’s just come back as a rejection. I prefer to hunker down, go through my spreadsheets and record rejections and which pieces were outstanding and then commence research. 3 acceptances so far out of that 51; including Still Life, which is currently up at GigaNotoSaurus (!!) and Nights Over Ganymede which is still not up at Stupefying Stories (no explanation).

Currently standing at 126 rejections, which means 25 outstanding subs, the bulk of which are agent queries. I should be able to hit my “stretch goal” of 150 for the calendar year (and have also restarted my count for my FFY4 at 26 since September 1st).

In December I’ll start submitting Blackout Odyssey (#PitMad is on December 6, so I aim to have my package together for then), and in January I start editing Embers and Ignition. Somewhere in there I will figure out what to do with Space Crazies and whether it’s worth the expense of getting it developmentally edited.

One of these pieces of spaghetti is bound to stick to a wall somewhere! Just gotta keep flingin’ them out there!

I wish I could report a bittersweet moment when I sent that last query out for Ashes. But maybe because it had so long been looming on the horizon, I didn’t feel much of anything besides a tired, sad, “oh well, that’s that, then”. Ashes is my baby, and it’s hard to put it into a drawer, admitting that it’s not going to sell. But I’ve heard from too many reputable sources that it’s too long for a debut novel and my professional editor couldn’t figure out how to cut it down, and I don’t know what else to do with it. If an opportunity arises, the package is ready to go. But I don’t know if it’s worth spending so much time and effort trying to find a home for it when I might have easier sells to focus on (Blackout Odyssey and Embers).

In the meantime, I have NaNo to worry about. Adventurers just don’t fall out of trees into civil wars by themselves, you know5. See you next week!

  1. Damn you, George Vernon HUDSOOOOON *shakes fist*
  2. I did NOT end up with a headache this time; I took an advil and drank a coffee as soon as I could after my appointment and then walked home in the rain. I don’t think the rain had anything to do with preventing me from getting a headache but who knows; data point of one.
  3. If you don’t know what a queryometer is, you can check mine out here.
  4. Feistner Fiscal Year. I don’t owe Pope Gregory squat.
  5. I should probably also figure out what the civil war is about and who’s fighting it. TO THE COFFEEMAKER!

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