Giving Thanks for Failure

Some time ago in a fit of writerly ambition I setup a Twitter account and a Facebook page for this blog. I added HTML widgets to its margins so the world could adore me with a single click. I methodically Tweeted and posted each new blog. This is, after all, what you are supposed to do if you have aspirations of going from blog to book: build your platform. I had read the publishing blogs, and I knew a lovingly crafted manuscript was not enough. I had to talk unique visitors and followers and likes in those query letters I sent out to literary agents.

And now, many months in, it is time to admit my failure. It’s not like it’s a secret. The two likes I have garnered on the blog are there for everyone to see. (Not that I am ungrateful to husband and my friend Bertie, who sometimes appears in my blog as R. number one, for their unfailing support.) On Twitter I have fared slightly better. There I have three followers: a friend from my old L.A. writing group, a Cotswold local and wine bar stalwart, and, my favorite, somebody named Candelaria whose last tweet was “super experience with hooking up with chix.” In social networking terms I am a nerd. A loser. A geek. It’s like high school all over again.

When it comes to querying literary agents my stats are more voluminous. My rejections positively dwarf my social network admirers, weighing in at nineteen not counting the two queries I wasted on perfectly good agents last year before my rewrite. Still I think my manuscript for Cotswoldia: A field guide to the not so simple life is good enough to be published, even if my percentage odds are about the same as the number of my Twitter followers. I think this because I read a lot, and I have put in the work, and because other people, including a handful of those nineteen literary agents, have read it and told me so. And so I query on, working my way down my ever dwindling Excel list of agents looking for memoir. I suppose I should  remove the Facebook Like button from its prominent position on my blog seeing how it practically bleats “no platform” to potential agents with its measly proclamation “2.”  But I won’t, because on today of all days I am thankful  for them both.

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