I'm working on two projects. In the right corner, weighing in at 50,000 words, is book two, which I'm polishing and sending to literary agents. In the left corner is book three, which is halfway through the first draft.
There's a good reason for this.
When I finished my second book, I thought, great! It's through. Now to send out to a couple of agents and let them fight over it. When the dust settles - and that may take at least a week - I'll sit back while my agent teases publishers. Why, in a few months, I'll sip champagne at a cocktail party and laugh about my book's success!
I waited a couple of months, spent another month polishing it, and gave it to my wife to tear apart. The manuscript is covered in scribbles, cross-outs, and notes. When she'd polished it enough that I felt comfortable with sending it out, I did - to exactly one agent.
Six weeks later, I still hadn't heard back.
Fine, I thought, that's simple enough, and sent out several more queries. A week later, most had been rejected via form letter.
If you're a first time writer and looking to get published, here's something I wish someone had told me before I started: it is not easy. You will be rejected. Many times. By everyone.
Agents get many, many queries. It's inevitable that yours will be rejected. And rejection isn't fun.
Which is one of the reasons why I'm writing a new book as I query agents: because every time I get rejected, I tell myself that this next book will knock them off their feet.