Tag Archives: publisher

Query Status: Eternal State of Waiting

Audrey’s Promise (Contemporary Romance)

Queries Sent: 10 (and 2 contest entries) to mostly agencies

Rejections: 5 (all form letters)

Partial Requests: 1 (Synopsis sent to agent, and since rejected)

Full Requests: 2 (both from Publishers, still pending)

I’m doing it the smart way. I send out 3-4 at a time and wait for responses. If I need to tweak my query letter or pitch, I do (with the help of great friends!) and submit to 4 or 5 more. If I don’t get nibbles, then I know I need to revamp the letter again. Querytracker.net is a great place to help me keep track of all this. As well as the ones I want to query, but need to wait or do more research. Meanwhile, I keep entering contests online. We’ll see where this goes!

Checking My Goals and Cringe

I checked on my goals that I created earlier this year, knowing the progress wasn’t going to be pretty. Then why did I do it? Several reasons came to mind.

Self-punishment addict? 

Clicked on the file by mistake?

Needed to change them entirely to make myself feel less of a failure?

Reinvigorate my motivation?

Maybe a little bit of all the above. Over the last 3 weeks, I’ve hardly reached any word count goals per day or per week. Blogging has fallen off the radar. I threw the calorie-counting out the window. And my exercise goals? Ha!

But I need to cut myself some slack. I’ve been sick. A LOT. 2012 has started off much the same as 2011 ended.  And will probably remain so as long as my son remains in preschool, thereby bringing home every ailment known to toddlers. And giving it to both his exhausted mother and over-worked father. It’s hard to go to the gym carrying an entire box of tissues and toting along my coughing, pink-eye infested son into their daycare while I hack out a lung in the middle of Zumba. Hardly health-conscious. Or attractive. (Not that women go to the gym to look attractive WHILE they’re there. Unless you’re in college.)

Which means I haven’t had much time to write. Or plot. Or think about writing. Or blog. But I’ve been able to read a bit. So here’s what I’ve been reading over the last several weeks (other than books and medication directions):

As We Were Saying…

Babbles from Scott Eagan

I Make Stuff Up from Kim Packard

Short Stories from CA Szarek

A Lucid Reality

Miss Snark’s First Victim

The Artist’s Road

The Creative Penn

Janet Reid Literary Agent

Jeff Goins

And a ga-gillion other writer/publisher/agent websites. I can’t list them all here, or you’d be stuck on my blog for hours (*wink*). Not that you’d want to go anywhere else.

Writer’s Goals for New Year

New Year’s Resolutions can be double-edged swords, if you let them. The typical resolutions to lose weight, earn more, quit smoking, drinking, or whatever other vice (Diet Coke for me) seems daunting and casts negative air over what resolutions are supposed to be about.

Improvement. By either pledging to do something positive or remove something negative from your life.

Resolutions aren’t a reset, but a re-check. Make sure your headed in the right direction.

For many people, 2011 was uncharacteristically harsh. Judging by the Facebook and Twitter posts I’ve seen recently, most are happy to close the door on last year and usher in 2012 with the promise of something better. At least more hopeful.

I learned a lot from 2011. Mostly learned a lot about myself, my limitations, discovered new strengths, and new ‘areas of improvement.’ I met new people that have become invaluable to my writing endeavors- my ‘specialized supporters.’

Most importantly, I think I discovered how to let go of this illusion of control that I tried desperately to keep a grip on last year.

Things happen despite my best abilities to prevent them, other things don’t happen no matter how hard I tried to make them flourish. And other sideswipers come out of no where to make life even more chaotic.

This illusion of control stems from my ever-consistent behavior to internalize everything. And God love my husband and family for helping me to let that go.

So this year, my resolutions are aggressive, but much more forgiving if I lose track along the way. Just as I know my family and friends are. Supportive. Always trying to help me be my best, and forgiving when I lose track.

In addition to a few personal goals regarding family, and overall health and wellness (no New Year’s resolutions would be complete without them), here are my targets:

~Reduce my Diet Coke intake to 1/week (gradual, to prevent nasty withdrawals).

~Gym twice a week.

~Blog twice a week.

~Submit to other blogs I partake in at least once a month.

~Read 1 Book/month.

And for the daunting writing goals:

~Finish rough draft of WIP (Audrey’s Promise) by March. Specifically, write 5K words /week.

~Finish Audrey’s Promise revisions by November. Meaning, 15 pages/week.

~Finish my previous manuscript’s revisions (Rip It) by May. 20 pages/week.

~Submit either of these manuscripts to Golden Heart contest in December.

~Query Rip It to agencies/publishers starting in June. Specifically, 4 queries a week.

~Finally, plot my next novel (middle grade) by December.

These goals are evenly spaced out over the year, so I’m constantly busy with writing, but not overloaded. I think that’s my husband’s Project Management job rubbing off on me. Leave it to him to create a timeline spreadsheet for me, to help track my goals every week down to the individual word and page count. Goal tracking on steroids!

As always, love more, laugh more, and keep writing forward.

Thick Skin For Hire

Every writer, particularly published authors, know that the publishing industry requires a thick skin for anyone who dares enter their dominion.

I thought I had a fairly thick skin before I even started querying my first manuscript.

*insert cackle laughter here*

Now, I know I don’t have nearly as thick of skin as I should, but I definitely have grown a few dragon scales to protect my vulnerable side over the last two years.

I think joining a kick-as* critique group has definitely helped. Also following editors and agents blogs/twitter/facebook and reading their responses to people’s queries also has helped.

I received my first round of major revision suggestions from my critique partners this past weekend and have let their thoughts percolate in my brain. I’m so glad I’ve grown thicker skin. Because now, I actually want that kind of advice. I need to know where they got lost in the story, what didn’t work for them, and realize its not that I suck and should give up writing. They are not flaws in my personality and I’ve dared exposed the weak points in my inner psyche. It’s areas of the story and characters in which I need to fix.

Or perhaps we’re thinking of it backwards. It’s not that people need to grow thicker skin, or regenerate thicker bone. It’s that we need to shed the vulnerable self-conscious layer of invisible shields we humans use as a self-defense mechanisms.

Get rid of your insecurities. Get rid of ridiculous thoughts that whatever suggestions others say is a ding in your personality, or interpretation of ‘they don’t like me.’

Shed everything down the most base level, where we can actually improve on the inconsistencies in our writing. That’s when we’ll notice the biggest difference on our writing style/skills.

So throw your skin out the window and let the air rejuvenate your writing. Completely open yourself up to improvement.

All right, manuscript. Get ready for rejuvenation. Dive in!

Writer’s Block? More Like Writer’s Verbal Diarrhea

I started my third manuscript the other week, the one I’m supposed to be saving for NaNoWriMo in November, and have been flying through the first chapters. I’m so excited to be seeing these characters develop on the page and their querky habits come to life.

Frying Pan? Maybe a Pen is the best weapon

Too much fun!

I figured since NaNoWriMo aims for 50,000 words in a month, that leaves me an additional 25,000-30,000 words to finish my manuscript. So that means I could get started on it ahead of time. But now I’m almost half-way to that word count threshold and we’re not even halfway through October.

In comparison to the other problems I’ve had in writing over the last few years, I think this is a dilemma I’ll love having. Writers block sucks the big one. So Writers Diarrhea is a gift (forgive the image).

I have no idea how I’ll respond if I’m ever a published author with deadlines looming ahead of me from a prized book contract. But if that were the case right now, I’d be one of the most treasured authors of any agent or editor’s lineup!

Returning the Favor

Since I’ve been under a random version of writer’s block for the last few weeks, I’ve been practicing my critiquing skills for others. I figured it was a good way to pull myself out of my void of creativity by helping others with their WIP’s. Returning the favor.

Get away to write

My local writer’s group has a few chapters posted from members here and there, so I go there first to give my advice (as a reader) on ways to improve what they have. If you’re local to the Dallas/Ft Worth area, please come join us! Greater Ft Worth Writers

But recently over the last 2 weeks, I’ve become addicted to two different sites as well that was created specifically for that purpose. To get feedback on your work and help others with theirs.

BookCountry.com

Scribophile.com

BookCountry.com I was actually a betafish for the launch of the site and helping them fix bugs, create new features, and of course participate in the community (created by Penguin publishers). It’s recently been opened to the public and I highly suggest checking it out if you’re interested. It’s specifically for adult genre writing (i.e. no children’s books, Young Adult or Middle Grade). But they have romance, thriller, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, all that good stuff. You can follow individual writers, their works, or just follow certain discussion threads on a whole slew of topics. The really cool thing is that not only writers and authors are perusing the site, but also agents and editors too. It’s a great way to get visibility.

Scribophile.com is a whole other enticement. I found Scribophile from another author blog I followed who raved about the advice and support she received from Scribophile and the readers who critiqued her work. So I gave it a shot. LOVE IT!!

Scribophile works off Karma points. You have to earn 5 Karma points in order to post a chapter of your work, and you earn those points by critiquing others’ work. The longer your critique, the more Karma points you earn. But they do it in a very creative way to help you earn even more. Some writers offer higher critique points if you post a review over a 200 words from their own Karma bank. So if you wanted, you could search for the options with additional Karma points. Also, if you only wanted to critique Fiction Thrillers, you could search through just those. Just interested in short stories or poetry? You can peruse those as well. They make it very easy to access other people’s work in any filter you want. They also have writer’s circles and forums. If you wanted to connect with other Romance Writers, or Thriller Writers from New York, they have circles for that. If you wanted to post your work and have it only visible to that circle, you can do that. If you wanted feedback on your work, but only on certain aspects (i.e. plot, voice, characterization) you can specify that.

It’s an excellent site to get the kind of feedback you’re looking for. I’ve learned quite a bit so far, and I’ve only been actively perusing it for a few weeks. I HIGHLY suggest looking at that site if you’re writing, or want to write. But you have to be willing to review other writers’ works to get something out of it. And you learn a lot that way, by seeing other people write: their strengths, their weaknesses, and even get ideas for your own.

I’m hoping this gets me out of my writer’s block, or funk, or whatever the heck this is.

Even Muses need to read for Inspiration

I’ve been enjoying it and wanted to spread the love. Have a great week, my friends, and keep writing forward!

Gearing Up for Writer’s Conference

I AM a Writer

Image by hopeleslie via Flickr

I have the exciting and nerve-wracking joy of gearing up for my very first writer’s conference at the end of February.  The DFW Writer’s Conference, hosted by the DFW Writer’s Workshop, has dozens of agents and publishers scheduled to attend, and I have anxiously submitted my request for which agents I would like to spend my 5-minute pitch session with (I get 1 session).  And the keynote speaker is *drumroll* Sandra Brown!  That’s right, people.  THE Sandra Brown!!!

I have a lot of the big stuff already taken care of.  I’ve registered, paid, have a finished manuscript (woohoo!), and perused the list of workshop titles I’d love to sit in on.  But I begin the strenuous task of creating my ‘pitch.’  I have 5 minutes with an agent/editor.  They suggest you make your pitch no more than 1-2 minutes, leaving the rest of the session for questions and/or feedback.  Essentially, I need to create an elevator pitch.  All sales folks know what an elevator pitch is.  But for you non-sales-oriented-folk, an elevator pitch is simply this:  if you’re in an elevator with the 1 decision maker on something you need, you normally only have about 4-5 floors of their undivided attention.  So you have 20 seconds (or however long it takes to go up 4-5 floors) to make your point.  Summarize your story in a gut-capturing way that makes it impossible for them to turn away. (Meaning, you make your pitch irresistible, not physically hold them hostage in the elevator- that just makes you creepy.)

So I need to shove my 71,000 word novel into a 2-minute teaser.  Sound easy?  It’s not.  At least not for me.  One of my biggest attributes is using 40 words to say something that should only take 10.  So that’s what I will work on over the next few weeks- my pitch.  And try to keep my skin from itching all over the place with anticipation for my first conference.

Writers conferences are a priceless wealth of information for all aspiring authors (and current authors).  The advice and real-life stories we get from others who have broken into the cutthroat publishing industry is more valuable than any self-help book sitting on my shelf today (according to those who have been to a conference).  I’d really love to go to the Romance Writers of America conference in New York in late Spring, but there’s no way I can afford that.  But can you imagine all of the visibility available at that conference?  Where most of the publishing industry is headquartered???  Oh that would be so wonderful!

But alas, *sigh* my dreams are big and will take time.  Small steps… and keep writing.