A couple weeks ago, I suggested people query their first novel, even though it would probably get rejected. I said this because I think you can learn a lot from querying even a bad novel, and your reputation as an author will be none the worse for it.
Can I put my money where my blog is? Well, yes. Some of you may recall that I queried my first novel and that query got 52 out of 52 rejections.
So what did I learn?
1) I learned how to write a query letter. My first query really, really sucked. But by the end of that query round, I'd done a ridiculous amount of research and revision and actually got professional feedback that my final query did not suck (though the opening pages did).
And if you're thinking you don't have to write a query because you're self-publishing, think again. The back-cover copy you have to write for every book-selling site is essentially the same thing.
2) I can do this. The feedback I got -- a little from professionals but mostly from other aspiring authors -- was encouraging. It told me that, even though I wasn't there yet, I could be.
3) I WANT this. While my query was out, I spent a lot of time online trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, how to make it better, how to write, what my publishing options were. And at some point during all of that, I realized I really, REALLY wanted to be a part of this world.
4) If I want it, I have to keep writing. I can't learn by waiting for 52 rejections or for the responses of beta readers who might never get back to me. I can't learn if I'm spending all my time on promotion. The only sure way for me to learn is to write (and revise) something new.
Could I have learned these same things by self-publishing that
Have you written more than one novel? What did you do with your first one? What did you learn?