I learned a great deal from writing and querying my first novel, THE BEAR AND THE DARKNESS. Much of it was discouraging, as I got many form rejections and only had one request for a partial that was eventually rejected also. However, I also attended a Webinar hosted by Rachelle Gardner, and, thanks to that and to her, I gained much insight into how to compose a decent query letter. Thanks also to the Query Shark, Janet Reid. I have followed her blog for some time -- she is merciless if one drops the ball, but she tells it the way it is and I like that.
I submitted a ten-page sample of LAST STRAW early in its inception to Andy Meisenheimer of the Editorial Department for an introductory critique, and he was most encouraging and helpful. I have spent four years writing, rewriting, and editing this work. I believe it to be ready to query. In one of my past posts, when I was but a young man of only sixty-seven, I said I thought I might try to self-publish. I still may go that route, but not before trying to obtain representation from an experienced literary agent. It may be pure stubbornness on my part, but I want to be published the "old fashioned way" if I can. Having an agent on my side will not only help with the business side of the publishing process, but will also bear witness to the fact that someone who reads many books thinks mine is worth reading.
I have not forgotten THE BEAR AND THE DARKNESS. It is still the story for which I have the most passion, and it is a story that I believe should be told. Now that LAST STRAW is in the querying stage, I shall return to THE BEAR, rewrite it, and make it better. Four more years of life has given me that much more experience, and reading literally hundreds of blogs over those four years has taught me much about the writer's craft.