Scalzi did so with his latest blog pointing out that the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency is now accepting unsolicited manuscripts from SF/F writers. Even new, unpublished writers like me.
As set as I’m working on my novel right now, I have no doubt I can finish the manuscript and get it into workable shape as soon as I need it to. After all, Syp jokingly pointed out on Twitter this weekend that he finished a whole novel in a month.
I’m a quick study, so if it comes to getting that roughness out there, I can, too and then hit the ground running in editing/revision mode. Not to mention that I’m already significantly into the planning stages.
But what does this mean for me as a writer?
It means that my procrastination must come to an end, first off. This is where the work begins.
And secondly, it means that I can now prepare myself for my first professional rejection. My story “Foggy Memories” was rejected a while back for a short fiction audio podcast called Pseudopod for not being quite their kind of horror, but that’s not the same as a novel rejection from an agent. It stung, but “Foggy Memories” was not my baby.
Now, don’t misunderstand me: I don’t think I’m doomed to or out-and-out deserve rejection.
I do, however, understand the logistics and odds against me landing a high-profile agent on my first attempt. If I do get accepted, or at least a request, I’ll be ecstatic. If not, well, that’s why I have a “Rejections” file to keep me motivated.
I have enlisted my wife’s help for this submission project. I need these first 50 pages to be the highest quality, and she’s just the one to do it. Jennifer has a ruthless eye for copyediting, and I trust her judgment entirely on matters of grammar, narrative, and structure.
We’ll work collaboratively, I’m sure, but I really look forward to her brutal honesty and feedback.
Once my finals are graded and submitted, I’m finished with work until the second week of January. That means I’ll have a lot of time to actually put my shoulder to the wheel and get this book/submission done.
And so here I stand. On the precipice above a huge leap that, in the back of my mind, I was never sure if I would actually take. But I’m going to take it. Like I said when I started this series, I’m confident in my writing. If not this time, the next. If not the next, eventually.
So thank you, John Scalzi, for kicking me in the butt and making me see an opportunity when it presented itself.