“Success is measured by effort”

I’ve been taking my daughter to gymnastics since September, and this week was the first time I have noticed this sign. While it might be new, I would bet that it isn’t, and I find it to be quite the coincidence that it caught my eye this week. Because, after taking some time off from querying to reevaluate and make changes, we decided it’s time to start again.

I think this is the first time part of me doesn’t want to query. The times before I felt excited and overly optimistic. Like every writer who queries for the first time, we didn’t realize how hard the publishing business was. Yes, you read about it when doing all the research, but like most people with most things in life you just don’t think it’ll happen to you. My manuscript is great–I won’t have any problems finding an agent…

Also, like most first-timers we weren’t really ready to query. To clarify, it’s not that we knew our query, and manuscript, wasn’t ready and we sent it out anyway. We genuinely thought we were ready. We edited and revised. And edited and revised. We didn’t send out our first draft. Or second,  or third, or tenth… We sincerely thought we had done all we could, and it wasn’t until later we found out we hadn’t. It’s like when you’re a teenager and everyone tells you how young you are, and how you don’t really know everything like you think you do. You brush those people off, thinking they don’t really know what they are talking about. It isn’t until 10, 15 years later you discover you really were clueless and you still had plenty to learn about the world. Hindsight is always 20/20.

As of now we’ve revised our query multiple times. We’re quite proud of it. And the manuscript? We’ve edited and revised, removed and added, tweaked the thing to death. It is a 100 times better than the first time we queried. We are also proud of this. We want to share our story with the world. We want readers to meet our characters and love them as much as we do. We want to get our story out there. Yet, I find that I am very reluctant about querying. What if it still doesn’t catch an agent’s eye? What if no one is interested?  We could play the “what if” game all day, but we will never know if we don’t try. And if it turns out that we can’t find an agent who likes it then we will move on. However, we can’t take the next step until we’ve made a complete effort. And, deep down I hope that because this time I am hesitant, rather than eager, it means we are ready.

At the end of the day we have to remember we’ve put in a 110%, and if “success is measured by effort” we already are a success.