I went to New York to meet literary agents to represent my first novel, The Girl in the Road. I came back empty-handed—despite wonderful connections with wonderful people, I didn’t choose one. I decided to revise the novel on my own, incorporating the conflicting feedback I got from several agents, making the novel even better, and then resubmit.

Crazy? Maybe.

I wanted badly to commit.

But I’m recommitting to the book itself, for now. She’s worth it.

I can at least say that this whole process has been really reassuring. Sometimes it feels like enough to be told that you haven’t wasted five years writing a novel. It’s mind-blowing to be told things like the book was “beautifully realized,” “constantly surprising,” and that I “write like Margaret Atwood.” (The last from the agency that, um, represents Margaret Atwood.)

In other words, the process gave me the confidence to defer. My position can only get better. Even if I have to wait. Meanwhile, I’m really, really excited to go back to it now—the novel can only become more perfectly itself, and I am her midwife.

7 Comments on “Midwifery.”

  1. Stefani Nellen says:

    I think you just became my real-life hero.
    So often, I’ve been distracted by issues of (writing) success and lack thereof, strategy, fear-that-no-one-will-want-it…All of it stifling and unproductive.
    Thanks for reminding me of what’s really important.
    “She’s worth it” — that says it all.

    • Steffi, I hear you. In the end, you have talent to burn and you know it—so don’t settle for less than you want. Another thing I learned in this process—the publishing world is FALLIBLE. They think they know what works and what doesn’t. They don’t. So you have to push for your own interests. (Or call me, and I can! : ))

  2. […] I go back to work on my novel The Girl in the Road. As per the wisdom I received from prospective agents, I’ll be adding topography and plot, […]

  3. […] is the first day, but likely not the last, that I’ll be writing events of the novel on the same calendar day that they happen. I like it when the circles of the universe line up like […]

  4. […] Finish The Girl in the Road and send it back to the agents who made […]

  5. […] After fourteen months of searching and four offers of representation, I’m so happy to finally introduce my agent, Sam Stoloff of the Frances Goldin Literary Agency. I could not be more thrilled. Our first project is my debut novel, The Girl in the Road.  […]

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