by Tess Adair
Somehow, I had myself convinced I was going to write about something else today. I’ve been reading a bit about Bernie and Hillary, and about the Millennial obsession with/interest in the former. I thought I’d write about the crossroad stage our generation is at right now, about the crossroads the country is at.
But then I kind of had this abstract epiphany.
In point of fact, I was reading an opinion piece about younger feminists and older feminists. I recommend it--“Feminists of a certain age…” by Shasta Willson. (I saw it on Facebook, so I’m not sure where else it’s available.) And it made a few points that seemed to resonate with a different part of my life.
Here’s the part that hit me:
“For we feminists of a certain age, the only way to survive in male-dominated fields was to out-play the boys at their own game. When you fight like hell just to be on the team, you don’t try to change the rules of the game. Clinton is old school. She knows how to play the game. She’s very, very good at it. Unfortunately for her, the old rules are starting to look a lot like cheating to a generation that has been stripped of opportunity.”
When I read that, I was no longer reading about politics alone. I was reading about the world--about the future and the past--how the world once worked and how it soon would.
I was reading about my life.
I was very young when I started to think I might want to be a writer. By my 12th birthday, I knew I wanted to get a book published. By my 18th, I knew the course I was expected to take to make that happen. And by my 23rd, the book was written.
I never really questioned whether I would follow the usual path--query agents endlessly until I get one, let them haggle with publishers, let the publishers handle promoting the book, and wait to see what happened from there.
But somehow, reading this, I understood something--the old rules weren’t written for me.
If anything, they were written to keep me out.
And things have changed. By the time my novel was finished, self-publishing was on its way to viability. Sure, it’s still not the most mainstream way to do it, and certainly not the most time-tested, but there is a way to do it, and a way to do it successfully.
I know a little about it. I know I need to know more.
So I’m going to query exactly 50 more agents, and then I’m moving on from the old game.
I’m going to make a list of everything I don’t know, and I’m going to find out where to learn. I already know how to write, and by now I know how to put together cover pages and copyright pages, and how to use various self-publishing platforms. What I need to know is how to find my audience and reach them.
And I need to send out my final 50 queries. I need to say my last goodbye to the old game.