Blog

The Labor Pains of Agent-Hunting

We write the end and sit back with a satisfied smile. Deep contentment fills our soul. Our baby has come to full term. Our book is written and edited.

Now we're ready to give birth, to publish. We close our eyes and picture how our precious baby will look once it makes its appearance on the shelf at Barnes and Noble.

It will be the most beautiful baby ever--with a glossy cover and beautiful artwork. And it will smell heavenly, the way all babies do--like fresh cut paper and ink. Surely everyone will ooh and ahh over our baby and proclaim how much they love it.

All it takes is one squeezing painful cramp, and our dreams evaporate. We're faced with the harsh reality that we still need to go through labor, quite possibly a long, intense, and agonizing labor before we can hold that sweet-smelling baby in our hands.

Some of us may have false labor pains. We think it's time for our baby to make its appearance into the world of publishing. We send out our queries and if we're lucky we have a kind agent or editor take the time to tell us our baby is not quite ready, that we still need to give it time to grow.

Others of us may start labor in earnest. Our baby is ready for publication, but now we face the seemingly endless days, weeks, and months of painful rejections and all the waiting that goes between each one.

We begin to wonder if our baby will ever be born. During especially difficult times, we may scream out, "Why am I doing this to myself? What was I thinking? Why would any sane person willingly put themselves through this? Did I make a mistake?"

As much as we would like to avoid labor, we can't. The process of finding an agent and editor is excruciating. We don't get epidurals. We have to face the pain. If we're lucky, we might not have to wait too long. But more often than not, the process tests our endurance to the limits.

In today's flooded market, finding an agent or editor may indeed be the hardest experience we go through. But it's a labor that we can't give up on. It will birth our babies eventually, if we keep pushing, gritting our teeth, screaming and ranting a little, but ultimately holding onto the hope that it will end with the delivery of a dream-come-true.

How's your labor going? False labor pains? Short? Long? Never-ending? We all love a good labor story! Please share yours!

46 comments:

  1. I finally got an agent....after I'd already had 2 books come out! I found a publisher before I found an agent, which just goes to show how difficult the process is.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love that.. "We all love a good labor story!" Isn't that true with women though. LOL

    Um...I may have a problem cuz um I have started working on another baby while in the midst of labor with another. But that kinda got me thinking and bare with me here...

    Sometimes all it takes to get the labor going is some "baby making practice". Am I wrong? So possibly I am on the right track!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congratulations to you, Elizabeth.

    Jody, I am rewriting my baby, making it stronger each day. I'm not ready to push her out into the world, but I'm ver peaceful about the entire process at the moment. I'm determined not to rush the story, but to make it the best story that I can.

    ReplyDelete
  4. LOL! I don't have a false labour pains, I think I am in the second trimester. Can't wait to give birth. Ha, we all say that and then when the time comes we are a screamin! No, I am looking forward to it:)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hahaa! I love this. Hmmm, I'd say neverending, since my dream agent has had my chapters for over a year. LOL But it's not too painful. I took an epidural (aka, writing and editing my other manuscripts as I wait)
    I'm just hoping after all this labor I don't end up with a stillbirth. Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You clever girl, you! I love this analogy.

    Right now my temptation is to fear that when I've birthed my babies, no one will want to adopt them, pretty as they are. A birthing coach--agent--serves as a tremendous help in finding a home for them, but the final outcome is in God's hands, and He seems to relish taking His own time about things--LOL!

    I love your posts, Jody. They bring out the creativity in us...

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think I am still having morning sickness!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well, I'm waiting on one ms to see what my dream editor or someone she passes it on to recommends. And I'm working on another to try and send in a couple months. So I guess right now I'm infusing an easy labor on me, just letting it take its course while doing the best I can to complete it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I had a most difficult labor - two years of sending queries out and no baby. I decided to have a home birth!
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  10. I delivered all my babies natural... but right now I'd LOVE an epidural!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think I am a the point where I am considering adoption. :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I definitely had some false labor pains, but I'll be in real labor soon! :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Here's hoping my book labor pains are more "normal" than my natural children. (Emergency C-section after about 10 contractions, 3 days in ICU for Mom after 18 hours of labor and normal delivery, NICU for baby after another C-section.)

    For my current book-baby, I'm scheduling labor to start in a few weeks with a few editor and agent appointments. Only God knows how long that process will take.

    The good news is that each painful contraction brings me that much closer to the delivery.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Marybeth beat me to it, but it was the first thing I thought when I read your post. You have to work on a second baby while still trying to birth the first one.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I don't have a labor story to share...yet. But, I really enjoy reading about your journey, and those of your other readers. It's certainly a labor of love, isn't it?

    Be blessed today!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Your posts are so creative. I love reading this blog.

    The birthing of a book IS labor...such hard work. But the reward is worth it. I hope.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Two pregnancy posts in a row...are you trying to tell us something????? hmmm?????

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi, Jody! This is a great idea!

    I definitely had false labor, a series of mis-starts with querying too early. However, out of that experience came a lot of sound advice. Now I am actively preparing for the real day to come and trying to work on the next one at the same time.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I feel the pain and it's a slow bun that seems to peak at certain times of the day. I just keep my eyes on Jesus and take his peace (much like my real labor's) Of course I doubt anyone will offer me an epideral to get through this one. I'll count the hours when I'm through and where them like a badge. Don't authors love to cling to how much time passed before their dreams came true? I hope I find an agent to hold my hand soon. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  20. i like all the analogies! i can relate to birthing a baby...and it sounds very much the same. :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. It was a terribly long labor and now that I'm finally going to see my baby, I'm already thinking about the next!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Jody, you are the master of a good analogy. Love how you bring the points home to us through these great visuals. Right now I'm in the final trimester but after a few starts and stops, labor seems to be stalled. So, I'm just going to wait it out a while. Meantime, I'm going to start thinking about the next baby. (Wait a minute, I don't think that works so well as an analogy -- one baby at a time is good for real life, unless you're like you and preparing for twins!) At any rate, having gotten through most of the pregnancy, I am feeling a sense of accomplishment and positive anticipation.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Perhaps false labor pains. I'm still waiting in the doctor's office to be sure. :D

    Confession: I only sent my query to 6 agents (2 to test the waters more than believing I'd be picked up). I got a bite and now am in the office, feeling some sharp contrations, but still unsure.

    I'm okay with waiting. Gives me more time to make more babies. :D
    ~ Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  24. I made the mistake of sending my babies into the world too soon and suffered gut-twisting agony when they were rejected. I was sure my progeny were perfect and shed tears when others didn't share my opinion. Next time I venture forth, I'll make sure I'm showcasing my creations in the best light possible.

    ReplyDelete
  25. A limb juts out of my tummy now and then, but for the most part, I'm in that delightful eat-whatever-you-want phase where I'm not losing sleep!

    ReplyDelete
  26. "It will be the most beautiful baby ever--with a glossy cover and beautiful artwork. And it will smell heavenly, the way all babies do--like fresh cut paper and ink. Surely everyone will ooh and ahh over our baby and proclaim how much they love it." That is hysterical...and SO TRUE!

    I'm still in the first trimester, nauseated and tired, but enjoying the process anyway! Looking forward to the day that the baby will come out!

    ReplyDelete
  27. As they say, (and this old adage applies to everything), NO PAIN, NO GAIN.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Great post! Love the analogy. I'm still plugging away at my WIP, so no agent story from me.

    Lynnette Labelle
    http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  29. The painful part always leads to the biggest blessing & greatest joy right? :) I know I still have a LONG way to go. This could be a long "pregnancy," but patience is important and I know that.

    ReplyDelete
  30. The painful part always leads to the biggest blessing & greatest joy right? :) I know I still have a LONG way to go. This could be a long "pregnancy," but patience is important and I know that.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi Jody! Just wanted to stop by and say hey and see how you're doing. I love how you compare writing a book like pregnancy. Great analogy!

    Hope you're having a great week!
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'm in the, "I'm going to be pregnant forever!" mode. And having gone through that in real life, this is exactly, and I mean exactly, how I feel.

    ReplyDelete
  33. lol. love your analogy. I went through my false labor stage. Now I'm in the "I need bed rest" stage from all the heavy lifting of my editing pen. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Is it possible to delay labor? Because I refuse to engage in the whole birthing process until AFTER the conference. My three babies are remaining safely tucked away inside my "belly". After the conference, I will face the constractions head-on and hope they don't last too terribly long. I will for sure pray I don't end up like some of those poor women who labor for 32 hours, only to end up getting a c-section. Oh those poor women!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Are you sure I can't have an epidural?

    ReplyDelete
  36. Ha! I had a "Labor Pains" post too! :) http://coreyschwartz.blogspot.com/2008/12/hop-plop-life-of-picture-book-part-iii.html

    ReplyDelete
  37. You are so creative with metaphor. My labor pains? I got the author's copy of my book yesterday. Quite happy. A couple of mistakes in the text, so some of the first edition will reflect those, but only few for a 200 pg book. Pretty exciting. wb

    ReplyDelete
  38. "But it's a labor that we can't give up on."

    Neither is the other even when I begged for just a couple of minutes to get it together to rest. No relief for the weary. But truly the success to accomplish this goal is to listen, learn, comply to the requests, and keep moving forward regardless of what the doctor says. That baby will come out somehow. May not be just as we want, but how often does that work out anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Love this post, Jody. Funny but sad and true. I think right now a literary agent must be one of the most secure jobs on the planet! LOL

    I'm definitely in labor. Well, I hope it's not false labor. If I'm sent back home at this point, I'm not going to be happy. (hee hee)

    Actually, an agent accepted my query so I'm in wait mode. Between contractions. Again. Hoping she says "Push!" so I don't have to do those silly dog-pant breaths any more.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Jody,
    As always, your wisdom is timely and the imagry is priceless! I am having terrible labor pains!! But, I know that this is something I must do in order for my "baby" to be born. No pain, no gain, right? At least, that's what I try to tell myself. The pains subsided now that I'm concentrating on moving, but they will start back up, full force and more painful than ever, as soon as I'm able to get back to work!

    Cheers,
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hi Jody -

    Sigh. I got sent home from the hospital (conference) to do more work.

    Blessings,
    Susan

    ReplyDelete
  42. What do you do when you've been pregnant eleven years, your babies, all ten, finally mature enough join the world? Quit your day job? Did it. Crazy, I know. I'm at a point where my family and writing deserve my best, not my leftovers.

    I've had lots of agent requests this summer, all but two (so far) ending in rejection. Waiting on that perfect match...

    ReplyDelete
  43. I allowed myself to picture the cover art of my first novel. There was a horse with a young boy in front and a girl behind him with dark, long, flowing hair. They were riding in the desert towards the mountains.
    The image got me excited thinking about it and actually aided me in many attempts at the market.

    ReplyDelete
  44. *Sigh*. I feel like I may be in perpetual labor...of course I will eventually birth baby after baby! But maybe my babies will only ever live on my hard drive. Perhaps they will never be set on a shelf in a bookstore...
    but I keep laboring.

    Neat post!

    ReplyDelete
  45. I've had four babies and am pregnant with number five. I'm looking for someone to help raise them - I hate being a single parent.;-)

    (I'm following you now, btw. Stop over at my place if you get the chance.)

    ReplyDelete
  46. This is sooooo good. I'm nervous about the labor pains!

    ReplyDelete

© All the articles in this blog are copyrighted and may not be used without prior written consent from the author. You may quote without permission if you give proper credit and links. Thank you!