Monday, January 25, 2010

Selling - House or Manuscript?

What I'm reading: Rain Storm, by Barry Eisler

Thanks to Susan Wiggs for sharing this - what writer hasn't been there?



I'm now officially in the 'submission' phase with my mystery. I've queried a few agents, and have sent off a submissions package to a publisher that said they'd be willing to look at a partial. And yes, I made sure that I followed their submission guidelines, one of which was a 750 word (maximum) synopsis. Given that my shortest synopsis to that point was hitting the 1200 word mark, I had some tightening to do.

To reach that length (I don't think 'shorth' is a word), I had to evaluate which plot points were vital, what character motivation was important, all the while hoping a little of my voice trickled through. And to make sure all 3 POV characters were represented, and there was nothing where a reader would say, "Well, that was a stupid thing to do; why not just do XX?"

So now, it's a waiting game. They say allow 90 days. They also say, "Do NOT approach us in any form of communication before that time is up." Of course, they say it much more nicely, but it's clearly a "Don't call us, we'll call you" scenario.



And along with submitting comes the strong possibility of rejection. Having had traffic pick up on our house showings, I will be trying to tell myself that it's not a 'bad' book, just not what the agent is looking for.

Feedback from our Realtor from potential buyers is encouraging, but as of yet, there's no offer. For one buyer, couple, she loved it, but he didn't want a yard with any trees. For some, the floor plan (split) won't work; they need to be near their young children. For others, the color was too blue. (Still trying to figure out that one!). We've been told we're on the short list for several buyers, but again -- no offers. They're thinking about it. Until they're sure they've found the perfect house, they're not committing. And having watch a lot (probably too much) of HGTV shows featuring house hunting and house selling, I've seen what kind of details will turn a buyer on or off.

I know that those buyers are looking at a lot of houses. An agent is looking at a lot of query letters. And an editor is looking at a lot of manuscripts. Based on editorial comments on my last manuscript, which my former agent had shopped around, I have some confidence that my writing is acceptable. But just like each buyer found something different they didn't like about our house, each rejection came with a different reason for not being a perfect fit.

Eventually, someone will love our house, and someone will love my manuscript.

Tomorrow, my Tuesday guest is writer, educator, and environmentalist, Christine DePetrillo. Her topic: The Write Habitat.

Like this post? Please share.

22 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Perfect analogy, Terry. Your book is a perfect fit for someone...you just have to find the someone. And I've got my fingers crossed for you for both your house and your manuscript! I know you're sick of the house selling thing. It's no fun having strangers popping by at inopportune times.

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder
Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Elizabeth - and it's a real drag trying to avoid those 'inopportune' times! Really changes one's lifestyle.

Watery Tart said...

Shorth *snort* It SHOULD be a word. I've had a number of things I've had to get down to the right shorth.

Good luck to you with both the query/submission process AND the house.

Seems to me, queries OUGHT to be easier... as agents and publishers ought to be looking for more than just THE ONE, but somehow I think it is a much more flooded market...

Terry Odell said...

WT - my dad was a great one for making up words that fit the purpose. I guess it rubbed off. I get lots of red squiggly lines on my computer monitor when I'm writing.

Mason Canyon said...

Waiting is the hardest thing for me to do. I can't even image what it's like waiting to hear back on your book. But when you least expect it, someone will stop by that loves and wants the house and you'll also hear good news on your book. Keeping my fingers crossed it won't take 90 days for either one. :)

Carol Kilgore said...

Yes they will. And yes they will. Smile and think positive thoughts. When you've done all you can do, the rest is out of your control. I know ... it sucks.

Love snorth!

Terry Odell said...

Mason, Carol - yes, it's just like goal-setting. You have to deal with the things you can control and try not to stress over the others. Easier said than done sometimes!

The Old Silly said...

Best wishes for the submission process. Been there and done that, I'll tell ya ... the publishing industry moves with all the speed of a glacier in a global warming period. But you'll make it - just never give up. Ever.

I just LOVED that clip - so much so I'm going to share it with my readers on my blog. Too funny, and oh how we've all beeen there, hmm? lol

Marvin D Wilson

Katie Reus said...

We're trying to sell our house too so I feel your pain :( Your mss will find a home in the right place!

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Marvin - Glad I wasn't the only one who liked the clip. I'm sure your readers will like it too.

I think the pain of the submission process is only intensified when you've already done it and had moderate success, but are starting over. You don't pick up where you left off. It's back to square one.

Terry said...

Loved the video. OH do I hate it when people ask, "So how's the novel going?"

Selling houses is a pain and I dread selling novels. But at least with the novel, no agents or editors stop by unexpectedly to see it while your in the shower. Count my fingers crossed, on both counts, as well.

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, "other" Terry.

Jemi Fraser said...

That's a great analogy! It's a long process to publishing!

Chris said...

I'm always amazed that writing the query/synopsis is harder than writing the actual novel. How can that be?

Anyway, good luck, Terry. I just had a request today for a synopsis and manuscript myself, so I'm right there with ya.

Sheila Deeth said...

I like your article. My trouble is I find it much easier to believe the house will sell than the novel. I've had houses sell before after arduous waits. But no luck yet with the novels.

Wishing you much luck with both.

Terry Odell said...

Jemi, Chris, Sheila - good luck to all of you! Thanks for stopping by.

Maryann Miller said...

Good luck on the house and the book. Not sure which is harder to sell. I have enjoyed the way you have tied the two processes together over the last few months.

Deborah Schneider said...

The waiting it the worst part. I guess that's why they tell us to have several projects going at the same time. It gives us a distraction.
Good luck with the submission, and the house.

Terry Odell said...

Maryann - I agree; they're both tough if it's a 'first book' for whatever reason - new genre, new publisher, new anything. i can dream of the 'three book deal'.

Deborah - yeah, I think I used up most of my patience raising my kids.

Diane Craver said...

Good luck on your submission, Terry!

Jeff Green said...

Yes Terry. Someone will love your house eventually. Let's just consider how hard it is for buyers to decide on the whole house hunting process. It'll take time.

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Jeff - and yeah, we're going to be on the other side ourselves very soon, although in a different market. Right now where we are, something as trivial as paint color can send a buyer away.