Groundhog Day

It’s almost time for the annual Groundhog Day foolishness in which some unsuspecting woodchuck is yanked from his warm bed and forced to look for his shadow on frozen ground, thereby foretelling of six more weeks of winter… or not.

For crying out loud. It’s early February. Of course there’s going to be six more weeks of winter. I mean, really, what do you expect? Flowers to magically burst into bloom, leaves to suddenly sprout on trees, Bermuda grass to overnight morph from tan to green?

To aspiring authors, such as myself, Groundhog Day has another meaning à la the wonderful Bill Murray/Andie MacDowell movie of the same name in which Murray awakes morning after morning to find himself stuck in the same day.

First-time novelists searching for a big-time literary agent suffer a similar fate, as day after day they receive rejection note after rejection note from the agents to which they’ve dispatched query letters.

Here’s an example of the overwhelming odds we’re up against. There’s a two-person agency in Denver, Colorado, that received 38,000 query letters last year. Do the math. That’s over 100 every day of the week: weekends, holidays and so-called vacation days. From those 38,000 letters (and only 55 subsequently-requested manuscripts), six new clients were taken on–one for every 6,333 queries.

As one published novelist told me, “You [as a writer] need an infinite capacity for rejection.”

You also have to be cognizant of the oft-quoted definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over [i.e., sending out dozens of query letters] and expecting different results.”

Well, I think I’ll go open my emails now and collect my daily allotment of “No thanks, not for us.”

I may be a pessimist, but at least my bubble is still centered.

Photo: Bill Murray and pet
In the movie “Groundhog Day” Bill Murray finds himself living the worst day of his life over and over and…

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