I'm staring at the 2010 edition of Writer's Market and trying to not to freak out.   It's an 1,176-page monstrosity filled with publishing and literary agency info.

A year ago, I started writing Creep. Now I'm going to be looking for an agent to represent the damned thing. I know this is part of the process, but I'm thisclose to fainting from fear. In a few weeks the rejections will start pouring in.  Can I handle that?

Writing the book suddenly seems like the easy part.   The fun part.  This next step is almost too horrible to contemplate.  Because I'll be asking perfect strangers what they think of my work.  And yeah, I've done that before in my writing classes and with my writing groups, but those folks were obligated to help me improve.  Their criticism was supposed to be constructive.  And they really couldn't be too mean lest they risk my wrath in return. Unlike agents, who have no stake in my success or failure at all, and will either love my work or hate it.  No in between.  No gray areas.   Just Yes or NoYou Rock or You Suck.   Send Me The Manuscript or Fuck Off Forever.

Okay, I know they won't really tell me to fuck off, but trust me, when someone doesn't like what you write, it feels like they've said exactly that, no matter how honey-coated the rejection.

I'm trying to take a deep breath but it hurts.

So it begins...