Tuesday, February 07, 2006

My Nail Biting Woes

I've noticed my fingernails are dangerously short right now. Granted, as a nailbiter who has tried many vain attempts to quit, I typically have short fingernails. The rule is if I can see any white of a fingernail above the nailbed, it must be bitten off. And fingernail clippers won't do. If you bite your nails, you'd understand. Nails are considerably smoother when trimmed via teeth. If you clip them, there is a sharper edge that needs to be gnawed down. Easier just to bite.

But right now, they are shorter than usual, to the point where they actually hurt when I type. And the reason for this? Well, starting January 2, I began sending out queries to agents for my novel. I've sent out somewhere around thirty total so far, but close to ten rejections received. Form letters, you know. The kind that say, "Thanks for thinking of us, but frankly, we're too busy." But, I can't help but think this is a kind way of saying, "Thanks for thinking of us, but who in the world are you kidding? You think someone would actually want to read this drivel?"

I've also had a few requests to read partials (first three chapters), so I have reason to believe perhaps they really are just form letter rejections. But on top of this, last week I sent out a couple of short stories to several publications for consideration. So now, I find myself checking my e-mail every few minutes. Hence, the nail biting.

What makes it worse is the inordinate amount of junk e-mail I receive. It seems every other time I check my e-mail, there is a new message. And for a brief half-second, my heart thuds a little more loudly in my chest, and I think, "Is this another rejection? Or maybe it is a request for a full? Or maybe..." It's just another advertisement for Viagra.

This leads to several minutes of gnawing until I recover from the close encounter with fame...or failure. Yesterday I bit the nail from my left-hand index finger so far down, it started to bleed. Just a tiny bit, though. I'm okay, really.

This is the lot in the life of a would-be author. The wait. The rejections. The false hopes. The despair. And then the acceptance of having to wait. I have much more waiting ahead of me. Even if the partials pan out, then I send out full manuscripts. Then you wait again. If an agent is so inclined to want to represent you, then you wait for edits. Make edits. Then more waiting as they begin the submission process to editors. Wait, wait, wait. Finally, the editor accepts your book, you sign a contract for an amount significantly less than the millions you always imagined an author makes, and then you wait. It takes a year or more before your book sees the light of day.

I'm worried about my fingers in all of this, as you can imagine a nail biter such as myself would be. Fortunately, nails grow. And I'm given fresh meat to chew on. In the meantime, I'm already tired of waiting. Just reject me already and get it over with. (I don't really mean that. I mean, if I really wanted you to reject I wouldn't have sent my queries and short stories. It was just a weak moment. So if you happen to be an agent or editor reading my work and you see this blog, pretend I didn't just say, "Just reject me already and get it over with.")

No comments: