Well, I'm feeling pretty humbled and nonplussed about my "Kindred Spirits" novel manuscript. The critiques I've received so far have given me a lot to think about, and I realize I had higher hopes for the effect the book would have on people.
My current mindset is to give the manuscript another pass in a couple of months, when my schedule opens up again (right now it's packed tight). I think I will try to cut another 5,000-10,000 words, particularly some of the more random nasty bits and some of the Mormon explanation (but not all of either element, by any means). I may tweak the plot somewhat, add and
delete a few scenes.
Also, I'm planning an epilogue that shows where the characters end up about two years later. [SPOILER ALERT] Right now, my notes indicate Eric and Eliza making it to the temple--in fact, I'm setting the epilogue in the sealing room, as of now, with them getting sealed to each other and Manda and their baby. Kindra lives nearby with her lesbian partner. I'll weave in a little angst, but it's basically a happy ending. I just don't find myself wanting to go anywhere else with it, ending-wise.
If I haven't heard from my agent by then, I'll chalk it up as a passive rejection and then follow this game plan:
1) Send out queries to new agents
2) Seek a national publisher on my own
3) Seek a regional or LDS-related publisher
4) Spend $1,500.000 to print 100 copies and try to hand sell them over
the next few years
Anyway, it feels good to have a game plan in mind, and perhaps a year from now I'll have this whole damn novel experience out of my system and will have moved onto something more realistically doable as a career ambition!