Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Write A New Book

"It's ALWAYS a better choice to write a new book than it is to keep pounding your head against the submissions wall with a book that's just not happening. The next book you write could be THE book, the one that isn't a fight to get representation for at all." 
~ Diana Peterfreund
 

This is a hard-learned lesson. So many of our published and soon-to-be published blog friends tell stories of the MANY manuscripts they shelved before writing THE ONE: Beth Revis, Elana J., T. Anne, Carrie Harris . . . 

We read about how to know when it's time to move on, how long to query or how many rejections to receive before giving up, how to tell if its the query or the MS that's failing to get us requests. It's not an easy call.

I have not given up on my MS. I am still querying bravely (although not always cheerfully) and hoping for good things. My bff Robyn says they're coming, and I believe her (except when I don't or can't). But my ever-so-patient-and-supportive CP Valerie is right when she advises me to pour my heart and energy into THE NEXT project.

And that is what I'm doing! "No object is served in waiting until next week or even until tomorrow."

How do you know when it's time to move on?

36 comments:

Jessica Bell said...

You know, it's funny, that this can sometimes have an odd psychological effect. LOL. The first time I ever did this (start something new while waiting on submissions) I convinced myself that my second book was better and that I should just withdraw my first one form all places I'd submitted because it was crap. LOL How's that for writer's paranioa/insecurity?

Tamika: said...

Our stories are so personal and rooted in us that sometimes we can't see when to step back.

the important thing is to keep moving forward to new projects once we feel comfortable to start querying.

Tabitha Bird said...

I have been wondering this very thing. I think you know when you know. Personally I am finding it hard to care about the next story so much when the last one hasn't found it's home. I know I need to write the next book, but in some ways it's like thinking about having another baby when you have just had one. Ya know?

Laura Pauling said...

It's such a hard decision to know when to pull out from querying. So hard. But if we truly believe in our work, we'll continue. I think we get doubts when we see areas it still needs work. or where our writing still needs work. And then there's the low self confidence that comes from receiving too many Rs. We have to be able to tell the difference b/t the two.

Old Kitty said...

I wish you all the best with your new novel - but I think it'll be a shame to give up on the current one - I think if you really believe in it, then it has value and maybe it's time will come by other means and maybe not soon but eventually!! Awwww I'm very sentimental about my wip that may or may not be getting anywhere!! I think it's because I still love it so much!!!

Only you know when it's time or if you want to move on I think! Take care
x

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've recently started querying one book and am busying editing another one. I love the new book so much, I'm having problems actually sending queries out. That would take time from my new love. But since I don't want to end up querying two books at the same time (too confusing), I forced myself to take this week off (since I just finished the second draft of my wip) and research agents. Maybe send out a few more queries. Then it's back to doing what I love most . . . revisions.

And when those rejections come, I can easily shrug them off because I'm in love with my new project and have given my other book distance. :D

Angela Felsted said...

Good for you! There's nothing, absolutely nothing to energize a writer like a new project.

storyqueen said...

I move on when I truly get tired of working on something....and when it doesn't sell. I mean, what else am I supposed to do?

Plus, I have more ideas than I know what to do with, so I always look forward to starting something new.

Don't worry how full the novel drawer gets because everything you write is something you can learn from.

Start it up!

Shelley

Theresa Milstein said...

I've struggled with the same question. In this e-climate/poor economy, it's harder to land an agent and publishing contract than ever.

All we can do is keep trying. When it feels like it's not going anywhere, I give up. I fear it's usually too soon. Elana Johnson tried more than 180 times, but she received many requests for fulls - 50. I don't think I've ever sent more than 50 queries on any particular book. Probably a lot less.

Good luck!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I have intended to publish a second poetry book this year but decided to wait until my long awaited holiday is over, I fly out neext Thursday so whin the next few weeks I will begin to look through the mountains of poems I have,

Yvonne.

Robyn Campbell said...

The thing here is that you are getting requests. After agents read your sample pages, you ARE getting requests for fulls. That's the thang, bff. I personally know Beth due to the many crit sessions we've had. She's crit partner extraordinaire.She's taught me some stuff. The stories she queried never got any responses from agents. And the one before Universe was good. Really good. But nary a request to see a full or partial. You are getting requests. FOR FULLS!

I definitely agree with your crit partner. But we all need to start the next one while we wait on our agenting success. Ive started the next two novels and I'm in the picture book marathon. Which btw, I wrote a funny, super fantastic first draft yesterday.

It ISN'T time to move on yet. How many queries have you sent? I know for a fact that Beth sent out 50-60 before getting Merilee for her agent. Take heart, bff. I'm with ya. :) (((squeezes)))

Amanda said...

I knew it was time to move on with my first novel when I realized that I was garnering very few requests and and the ones I'd sent had crashed and burned. So, I moved on. Then, while querying that novel, I moved on again. I felt pro-active, continuing with a new story proved that I wasn't willing to give up.

Carolyn V. said...

When I learn something new that I haven't incorporated into my book. That's when I move on and write a better novel. (Hopefully better!) =)

Jennifer said...

I have no idea when it's time to move on. I guess you have to go with your gut instinct. But I wish you the best, and hope you get the call soon!

Shari said...

I'm still trying to figure that one out. Good luck on your new project. How fun!

Patti said...

I really believe in the advice that while you query and wait you should keep writing, because that gives you hope for something else.

Candyland said...

I don't know how to move on. I revised and queried for TWO YEARS with over a hundred rejections before I got even close. I think if you believe in a story or characters, you keep working until you get it right, not give up.

KLo said...

Life is like a wheel ... it always comes around to the same place again.

I have one completed WiP and, while trying to convince someone in the publishing industry it is "THE ONE", am hard at work on WiP #2 (with ideas percolating for WiPs #3 and #4).

It's kind of like that saying about too many eggs in one basket ;)

Heather said...

That's such a tough call, especially in this tough market. I've been there, a week ago in fact. Then I went to a fabulous conference and met both agents and editors of big houses that were interested in my work! Sometimes I think it's just a matter of changing your approach and finding the right people. Hang in there!

Carol Riggs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol Riggs said...

Oh heck, I just start querying and move on, no matter what. One done? Start another one. I'm on novel #15 or so, and I can SO tell you that the first 10 were definitely PRACTICE. Maybe I just need more practice than others out there; I'm always amazed at writers (like JK Rowling) who get their first book published. ;o)

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, this is a great post. I think for me, I just knew deep down in the depths of my soul that my first book wasn't the one.

I knew, but I queried anyway, because I loved it and I was sure someone else would too.

Um, no.

With my second query attempt, I just felt deep down inside myself in that place that you can't identify, that this book was good enough. I hoped.

I got rejected so many times. I started to lose hope. But then I'd get another request. Feedback on my pages. More.

It's just a feeling. A feeling of "next time, next time, next time," because that deep place inside yourself won't let you give up.

Vague, I know.

Colene Murphy said...

Everyones different. I wouldn't give up until you feel you should. Not what anyone says!! But you don't seem like you are so good for you!!

Stephanie Thornton said...

I don't think there's a right answer- just to keep going until you don't want to any more.

I need to know I've exhausted all my options before I can give up. However, I've been working on my new book since November so I've felt like I still have something going for me, no matter what happens with Book #1.

Charmaine Clancy said...

I move on before I've even finished my manuscript, it's a fickle relationship, a new, sexier idea has entered my head and I can't wait to get to that.
I'm also stubborn though, and I think each time my MS came back with reasons why it won't be published, I'd rework it a little, send it out and forget about it (easy for me, I have a lousy memory).

Enjoy the process - it's all part of the journey :-)

Melissa said...

When I start querying I am going to start the shiny new idea I've been postponing for a long time - just so I don't feel like all my hopes and dreams reside in the same story!

Bethany Mattingly said...

I don't know when it's time to move on yet, but I'm hoping I'll know once I start to query. Good luck with your new project!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Moving on doesn't necessarily mean giving up. It just means shifting your attention somewhere else for a while. I worked on one manuscript for many years until I finally sold it, but in the meantime I was writing other novels.

You'll get there. I know you will.

Myne Whitman said...

It's so hard sometimes and even painful but I agree with this. Hopefully there are people around, like here on blogs, to help and encourage.

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm a bit of a query coward. I've only sent out a few. I got some great advice - and I'm working on implementing it before I try again. Not ready to throw in the towel yet!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Good for you for keep trying!

I'm not sure when the "cut off" is. I'm still looking for that for myself.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Shannon -

I can relate to your dilemma. My genre isn't popular right now. I've written 2 books and part of a third, but they're part of the same trilogy.

I think I'm ready to try something new.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Meredith said...

I don't know how I know I'm ready to move on--I just am. Sometimes that manuscript just doesn't work for you anymore.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I finally got sick of thinking about the other book. I had a new one that I knew was better, that I was ready to send out into the world, so I stopped querying the other. So yeah, keep writing!

Jen Chandler said...

Wise words. I've been working on the same trilogy for 10 years (sad but true) and everytime I put it away to work on something else, I'm driven back to it. Perhaps I just need to hole myself away and spit it out and move on...

Good luck with your new story!

Ishta Mercurio said...

This is such a hard one. Because just as we know the first book is so rarely THE BOOK, and that the next book we write could be IT, we also know that maybe that one more agent or editor we query with this project could be the one who says YES.

I think my middle way is to keep on querying, but do it while working on the next book. But the whole time, I'm bound by insecurity: is this book THE BOOK? Or is it that one over there that I'm not working on right now?

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