I posted a summary of 2020 and goals for 2021 at the end of December. We are one-third of the way through the year, and it seems like a great time to do an update of meeting my goals.
Polishing a story to submission: By now I should have four new stories done to stay on target for thirteen by the end of the year. I have five!
Submitting stories: I have submitted fifteen pieces thus far in 2021, which is two more than my time-tracked goal!
Rejections: I have received exactly the amount of rejections if they were to come in like submission. However, I happen to have two acceptances this year. So I'm quite happy with this!
I got trapped in a quagmire with Author Mentor Match and my novel. After mentee selections were announced (and I was not one), I realized I was using mentorship programs and revising as a way to procrastinate sending out my novel to agents and pursuing publication. After talking at lengh with a critique partner and attending Flights of Foundry, I got myself organized and started querying agents.
My goal had been to query five agents per month (starting after the AMM announcement) with a partial/full request rate of 10%. However, the implementation of that goal didn't end up working for me. (Also, it would mean I should have queried fifteen agents at this point and another five by the end of next week.) Instead, only about two weeks ago, I put together my list and queried sixteen agents since. My plan is to keep about a dozen queries out at any given time until my list is complete or everyone closes. I try to send out a new query every time a rejection comes in. However, the 8-day of query out mark was rough with four rejections coming in within about 24-hours of each other and I did not have more querying in me. I will try to get more out this weekend to get back up to a dozen queries out.
Still hoping for that 10% request rate, I received a partial request within my first eight queries. I've modified the goal that it should be a 10% request rate amongst rejections/assumed pass due to time passing. (Therefore, as of this moment I have three more rejections before I need to consider reworking my query package - ie general query letter, first pages, synopsis, etc.)
This is somehow a first third of the year and only two week update with also the immediacy of what I'm doing right now reported. To date I have queried sixteen agents, recieved one partial request, and six rejection including on the partial request. This marks me as on-target for my novel goals.
While that novel is in the querying trenches, I need to make some decisions about the novel-in-two-parts, the one-in-progress, and new novels.
What I accomplished in 2020
I completed my novel, Slipping, at the tail end of 2019. I spent the first three months of 2020 trying to get people to read it for feedback. I chased friends who I thought would be good because they read so much and so fast. What I needed were other authors. I found them via Facebook beta reader and critique partner groups and writerly Discord servers. Twitter can also be a source to find readers. The (current) first chapter has had a dozen folx read it. Many have given feedback over the entirety of the story, including sensitivity readers. Over the course of 2020, I moved the beginning of the novel and revised, revised, revised. Going into 2021, I'm still revising.
I submitted Slipping to Pitch Wars 2020. I was not selected.
I completed writing another novel in two parts. That one has gone through my alpha reader, two beta readers, and is with a critique partner. Going into 2021, I'm still revising.
I consider short work 50 words to 45k words.
I've penned loads of short stories over 2020. Four were polished up for submission throughout the last month of the year. I submitted those four to six potential publications. Five of those submissions are still pending and I received one rejection. It was my first rejection on short work in decades!
I am submitting Slipping to Author Mentor Match in January. We submit the first 50 pages, which makes partial requests unlikely. I hope to get at least one, if not four, full requests and, of course, selected as a mentee.
However, my current critique partner, found through Pitch Wars, is providing excellent feedback on my current manuscript. If I am not selected for author mentor match, I believe she and I can get it query ready.
Whether or not I am selected as a mentee for Round 8 of AMM, I plan to query my most polished version of Slipping.
I will query five agents monthly or so, with a goal for 10% request rate, until I get an agent for Slipping.
I will continue to edit and polish the second novel, and I have a third novel-in-progress I will finish writing.
Write /polish 13 short pieces, and submit my polished short pieces 39 times for 39 rejections. The goal here is to accrue rejections. I win if I make my goal, and I win if I don't since that likely means I've gotten acceptances.
Image from Adobe Stock.