Thursday, 9 September 2010

Dead in the corner of my bedroom ... for real?

My novel Dead in the Corner of my Bedroom has been through hell and back five times. And it looks like it's going to live up to its title. It looks like it is actually going to sit, dead, in the corner of my bedroom. This book went through five full revisions over the course of five years. 1.5 years worth of querying, and a pink crocodile full of chewed rejections.
At the moment it is in the hands of an Australian agent, who contacted me recently to say they are behind on their reading. But I tell you, if this one doesn't bite, I'm seriously considering shelving it. Am I nuts for considering this? Should I keep pushing till I burst?
An author friend of mine, Susanne Lakin, who has a novel coming out in October with Zondervan, called Someone to Blame, has read my novel. She emailed me not too long ago to tell me not to give up, because she thinks it would really sell. She said to keep pushing, that someone out there will fall in love with it as much as she did. Well, this made me smile so hard, I still can't feel my lips. But is she right? Is she really right? And how will I ever know, if it sits, dead, in the corner of my bedroom ... ?

(Addition after some comments came through: Yes, I've had it professionally edited. Yes, I am writing something else ;o)


  1. No, don't kill it off yet. You've invested so much, and the market is changing all the time so there's gotta be a place for it somewhere!

  2. No, because what if the next one loves it? You might be just that close.
    And congratulations - I see you hit 300 followers, too!

  3. Plenty of author's who know more than I do say that as you querry, write something else! Have you considered self-publishing? The Creative Penn Podcast has tips a-plenty on the subject. Either way, most of the promotion falls to you.

  4. Hm. What would I do? Perhaps I woudld invest in a professional editor to go over some chapters just to see if there is anything I am missing. It's hard to say - you don't want to flog a dead horse but at the same time you don't want to give up on it! So yes, I would probably pay out for some professional advice, act on that, and then send it again. Hope that helps in some way, and congrats on the followers. :)

  5. @Will- already half way through next book :o)

    @Jayne- already professionally edited :o) Thanks re the followers!

  6. I wouldn't kill it off. But, like Jayne said, I would hire an editor for a look-see. And even if that turned out negative, I'd keep the MS on a shelf. The market keeps changing.

    Congrats on reaching 300 Followers!

  7. Oh man this is tough because I couple of days ago I would have said never give up on that one project you love ... but then recently I got some feedback that was a big wake up call. There is nothing wrong with writing something else, getting published first, and then publishing that story that you really love.

    I'm not saying give up, I would never say that, but if you do someday decide to go that way there is nothing wrong with it.

  8. Don't you dare! It's not dead if you believe in it.

  9. I imagine it's tough not to be discouraged and not to doubt, but I don't think I'd give up, either. I'm just stubborn that way! And keep writing other stuff. Don't pin all your dreams on one MS. If you've got one story in you, you've got more!

  10. I'm wondering if you did course corrections along the way with the marketing materials. A number of folks on the interwebs suggest redoing or tweaking the query each time your small batch tests (5 agents at a time) garner no requests. And would you ever consider tightening the title a little? _Dead in my Bedroom Corner_ might be an alternative. I personally get tripped up by two prepositional phrases in a row.

  11. I would say push never know unless you try with all your might, and you know its just as much putting all your hard work into the novel but only half the work into getting it published- wont cut it, if you put your hard earned time into it, then you should work equally as hard if not harder to get it published. keep going, I'll woot for you.

  12. ugh! This one hurts!!! I went through this w/my very first book and then decided to put it away after like my 15th full MS rejection. I kept getting the "market" reason...

    Perhaps another book will get the ball rolling for you--? That's my strategy. But it's never *dead*. You've always got it when the time is right~

  13. Don't shred, but shelving never hurts. Write another one, maybe even several more, and come back to this one later. Who knows, one of the agents may bite, or you might get famous with another book, and then everyone will want this memoir regardless of editing.

  14. Please don't give up, just think of the satisfaction you will have after completion.....


  15. I am in a similar place with my book. Not that I have submitted it so much but I just lost faith in it. It's a heartbreaking decision to take. But you know, it doesn't have to be forever. You can return to it later. Just put it away mentally, distance yourself from it. Sometimes, I feel, when we invest so much in one thing, it can become overpowering in our lives, obsessive, pulling us down. I don't know. Obviously, I have no idea. I can just commiserate.

  16. Don't bury it, but rather put the MS to sleep for a little while. If the Australian agent is the prince that brings it out of sleep, then yay. If not, let her sleep a while longer. Finish what you've got going on, then awaken her with fresh eyes. But whatever you do, do NOT shred. Having almost finished your chap book, I believe the writing is solid and you're just holding off for the perfect agent.

  17. All you need is ONE agent to fall in love with the potential of your book. Just ONE.

    Keep writing, keep growing and keep sending out that book if you still love it and believe in it. All you need is ONE (now I have that song, All you need is love ... going through my head)

  18. That's a tough choice to make! I abandoned my second novel after four years. It had never made it to the query stage, however - the story was just never "right". I think if you're working on another project, what's the harm in trying to get Dead published?

    But if you feel that it's not your best work, that's when you might want to shelve it (at least for the time-being).

  19. Matthew (and man I've got to check him out he is always leaving good comments on people's blogs) makes a lot of sense...You can still love this project, but move another one into the number one position. Put this one on the one query at a time in one out...Maybe it isn't the right time for it. Jerry Spinelli sat on EGGS for like 7 years or something...

  20. I agree - the timing may not be right, and revising time and again won't fix that. I say query until you feel you can't take it - until you hit, say, 100 queries or so. Then set it aside.

  21. Don't resign it to the trunk just yet. I'm with Talli, it may be that the time isn't right for it yet. The main thing is that you are working on something new. I know, one day, I'll have a copy of your book in my little hands. :)

  22. Most definitely don't give up on it. Think of it this way - publisher's can say no a thousand times, but all it takes is a single yes from someone. Then all the waiting will have been totally worth it.

    I wish you the best of luck, the only shelving your story should be doing is on the "bestsellers" section in the book store :)

  23. IF it were me... and it isn't. If the agent who has it now gives you a no - I'd shelve it for a while. Continue on your other projects until you can't wait to read it again. Then you'll be able to look at it with fresh eyes and maybe give it the minor tweaking it needs.
    Best of Luck to you!

  24. After so many hits to the gut by rejection after rejection,

    after so much time spent throwing bottle after bottle into the sea,

    hoping the message inside will be answered -- of course you are tempted to toss in the towel.

    But the heart knows :

    you give up on your dream and something precious dies within you.

    you stop knocking, and you insure the door will never open.

    if you do not believe in your book enough to press on, why should an agent believe in it?

    And you have persevered this long because there is worth in your book. You know it. The rejection and the long wait in the darkness just has bruised you.

    Keep on. I believe in you. Your other friends believe in you. And your dream believes in you as well.

  25. hi miss jessica! you just gotta keep on believing in youself and dont ever give up. but while youre waiting just keep on doing more writing cause your sooo good a writer.
    ...hugs from lenny

  26. Please don't kill it...think of all your time, blood n' tears that went into this! Keep pushing through, dig deeper, and soon this will bloom.
    I really want to read it!!! Yes, she is right! xXx

  27. Here's the thing. I shelved a novel that I queried for 8 months. I queried another one. It finally got a bite and a sale. I really believe it's all about TIMING.

    Maybe it's just not the right TIME for this novel. Maybe you'll find an agent/publisher with something else, and then you'll be able to come back to it. Just something to consider.

  28. I don't think you should give up, but it may be time to set it aside FOR NOW. My first novel is waiting patiently for me to sell something ELSE because it is just complex enough (and long enough) that as a first novel I wasn't getting much. It probably needs another round of editing, since I have 8 months new learning since the last edit, but I really GET that it isn't my sexiest sell, so I am putting effort into one of my other books and making a big push THERE first.

    I figure once you are published, the agents and editors will read with a more open mind (assuming book #1 sells)--and when they see you are writing not A BOOK, but BOOKS, there is more willingness to invest in your CAREER.

  29. There's nothing wrong with shelving it, writing your next book, selling the second book and then selling the first. There's nothing wrong with trying to sell it and writing your next.

    I don't think there are any fast rules but I think what ever you decide will be the right decision.


  30. It's taken me ages, but I'm finally visiting from the BBQ -- count me as a new follower!

    As for this post, I am definitely feeling your pain. If it helps, I posted about the statistics of rejection here . The numbers show that sometimes it takes more than we expect to get there.

    Right now, I would advocating shelving it for the time being. Not dead, but resting. Your next project will be even better and give you the chance to bring the first one into the world.

  31. It's definitely got the title going for it! I want to know WHAT is Dead in the Corner of Your Bedroom.

    Don't give up on it, even if you have to put it aside for another project. All things in their own time ...

    Best of luck and fingers crossed that you'll get your break and also land a place for this book!

  32. Awwwww, you poor dear! I'm not sure what to tell you, but don't quit until you're absolutely sure you've done your very BEST. And once you are, then you can move on in peace.

  33. Whether or not you shelve it should depend on what you want to achieve with it... And how apt it is to achieving that goal.
    If you are uncertain of the latter point, perhaps you could get advice from a professional you trust and respect (one who has read your MS of course)?

    Sorry I can't say anything more constructive... The professional writing game is alien to me, and I know very little about your book.


  34. I am listening to the first chapter of your book on a podcast on Its great, don't give up. I am really bummed I cannot hear the rest!!!

    1. LOL. You can! It's now published under the title String Bridge!


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