Finding Your Way

Updated: Mar 20, 2021

I’ve been struggling to write this for a couple weeks now and honestly, I’m not sure where this may be going. I’ve been in a really weird place, I’m not sure how to describe what it is I’m really feeling, but I don’t know how. The closest I can come is contemplative. It would probably help if I explained why.

It was two weeks ago roughly, around February 4th. I was really sick, the lucky recipient of strep and flu. Since I knew I’d be out of work for the week, I went back to sending out query letters.

One of the letters was to a publisher. I’ve been really quiet about this since then because I didn’t want to make a fuss before I knew what was what. I’d spent over a week prior, with help from some fabulous people, refining my letters and working to make my series more appealing.

So, in the midst of feeling like I was carrying the plague, I hit send. After that, I took the meds the Doctor prescribed, laid down, and turned on Incredibles 2. Once the movie was over, I got up and noticed I had a new email.

It took a minute to register and honestly, I couldn’t believe it. The publisher responded. They wanted a full manuscript. It didn’t feel real and while part of me was excited, part of me felt numb. I mean this was everything I had been working toward.

As I’ve had time to think about it, I realize that for me reality was beginning to set in. My identity was changing or is in the process of changing. I’m suddenly stepping into the unknown.

For years I’ve spent countless hours working on El’Anthar. I’ve told story after story, sometimes using the D&D groups I was apart of as a litmus test to see if it was a tale worth telling down the road. Many of these were simply ideas or characters used to draw inspiration from to expand the world.

Still that comfort zone I knew was gone. I mean, it’s okay be writing something, to create and craft. What happens though when is becomes something more?

I think that’s what’s had me spooked. I’m not even sure if that’s the right word. Maybe another way to put it would be to say that I’m a little fish, in a tank full of sharks. I’m fighting to find my place in this world of publishers and agents. Of people who are established.

Sending letters, sitting at Subway editing, writing and maintaining a blog is one thing. Suddenly having people pay attention is another. There’s an expectancy that I don’t think I had considered. I’m not even sure if that’s an accurate assessment. It’s hard trying to narrow it all down. I think a good way to put it is like this:

For years you’ve been traveling in one direction. The road might get rough, but you know where you’re going. Then you enter a junction, with ramps leading to somewhere else. It was easy in the beginning, because there was only way to go. Now, however, according to the signs your journey is almost at an end. We just have to pick the right off ramp to get there.

With me waiting to hear back from the publisher about a yes or no, things feel so strange. I knew who I was and where I was going. With one part of the journey potentially at its end, now I have to find new road.

It’s really scary to think about. I mean is the publisher right for me? Will I find the right agent? Will they only care about money? Or will they care about me as a person and what I believe I can bring to the table?

I know it’s all business, that’s all it’s ever been. In the past few weeks, as I’ve sent out letters, that message has been very clear. It’s reinforced my desire to help other authors once I get in a position to where I can. I don’t want to be in a shark tank where, when an offer comes along, everyone is tearing each other apart to get at the scraps.

It’s why I’ve started taking a hard look at social media and what I’m doing with it. I don’t want to be in a popularity contest, high school is long behind me. I want to network, to lock arms with like minded people and step toward success together. It’s really the only way in my mind. If someone were to tell me I have to step on someone to get where I needed to, I would honestly tell them to piss off.

So, with social media some of the changes I have planned are book reviews for authors I interact with. I’ll be honest, my time is limited, and I have a long list ahead of me. In the next year I hope to transition to where I have one job (writing) so that I can devote the necessary time to this. I mean I can read 300 pages in less than a day. Heck, I read a 19-book series in under two weeks. My only fears about the reviews is that I plan to be honest, but not hurtful. That doesn’t help anyone.

I’m going to also be focusing on more posts like this. Valkyrie was a test run and I do plan on finishing it. But as an unpublished author, as I feel like right now, posting rough draft books may not be the way to go, yet. I’ve had more feedback from just being candid about life and where I’m going.

I think it’s because we’re all looking for something or someone to honest and real. I do my best at that, though there is a lot I’d like to be more transparent about, I’m just not ready. I’m still feeling odd, like there’s more to say, but I just don’t know how to express it.

In any case, to clarify some things, I am still waiting to hear back from the publisher. I know it’s not guarantee. In the meantime, I’ll still be sending letters out to agents, though my list is getting smaller. I’ve noticed YA is the trend lately and I’m pretty sure I don’t fit in that category lol. Regardless, my agent is out there. Everything happens in its own season.


Matt Brown

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