“My name is Thomas Marshall, I am a previously unpublished 21 year old, I attend the University of Southern California, and I hope to start a career in writing with my approximately 65,000 word YA novel, Millennial Fish.”
This is the opening line of a query for the novel that I’m trying to get published.
This blog is my attempt to catalogue my experiences editing (and editing, and editing) and trying to sell my debut novel. There are hundreds of books and blogs about the writing process, but this blog takes place after all of that; editing, revising, and querying literary agencies and publishers, all in an attempt to go from writer to author. This blog will be full of personal experiences as I walk through this process with you (the internet), as well as tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.
I started writing the book the summer after my freshman year of college (back in 2015). It took month of pre-writng; defining characters, outlining the plot, and writing snippets. But when I sat down to write the book, it took me three weeks, non stop. I’d get up at 8, make a pot of coffee, eat a little, and then write until the coffee ran out, then I’d make another fresh pot and write until dinner, then I’d write again until midnight and sleep until the next day of writing. I modeled this writing method after the near-mythological way Kerouac was said to have written On The Road. After these short three week came the long haul. Editing, revising, showing it to friends, and editing some more. After the summer of 2016 I shopped a finished version of the manuscript around to several small publishing houses and literary agencies. Aside from dozens of copy-paste ‘thank you but no’ responses, I got a few promising gems of praise.
“One of the difficulties for us in reviewing submissions is that we make our editorial decisions by what can loosely be called a consensus process. So, when we are considering books closely, all of our editors need to weigh in. With regards to Millennial Fish, unfortunately we have reached a split decision which means we won’t be pursuing the novel for publication. I’m sorry not to have better news, and I truly do hope you find the right home as I do honestly think you did a great job of capturing Alex’s voice, and I particularly liked the complicated relationship he has with Ken throughout…I thought you did a remarkable job with Ken’s character and spent the entire novel afraid of what might happen–you handled this part of the story with impressive nuance and deft, while keeping everything very believable. The road trip is also a great part of the novel as well.”
So this is where I am now, back to editing and revising. After which, hopefully in the next few months, I’ll be at a point where I’m sending out queries again, and seeing who bites.