Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Waiting Game

I know this is all part of the long road to getting a book published, but the anticipation is killing me! I know it will probably be a few months before I hear anything on my full, but I can’t help but wonder where it stands right now. Has it been read? Is it in the pile awaiting it’s turn? I’m driving myself crazy! Everyone says you should try not to think about it and just bury yourself in your next novel but that is easier said than done!
I’m okay with getting a pass on it, I’m happy I’ve made it this far, BUT I’m praying like crazy for this one to give me a chance!

Scams

I really can’t stand idiots that try to screw people over and as we all know the internet is full of them! Although, I’m pretty sure my long, lost great-uncle that just happens to be the ambassador of China’s assistant, really has come into some money that I’m entitled to and thankfully emailed me anonymously so we could get that all squared away. But, back to what I was saying, like everything else now days if it sounds too good to be true it usually is.
If you are an author trying to get your novel published, I am sure you are as lost as I was (am). You do a quick google search and end up with information overload! In the process of trying to figure this all out, I learned from several other blogs about publishing scams and found it to be extremely helpful information.
If you haven’t already visited Writer’s Beware here is the link. This website is very informative and always a good resource to double check publisher and agents on.
http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/

So you wanna be a writer…

Since I was very young it has been my dream to write professionally, well actually it became a “dream” when I got out of college and realized, to my surprise, you cannot fall ass backward into a writing career. Who knew?!
Over the years, I have had many works in progress, but never dedicated myself to finishing them. Finally, thanks to a promise I made, I completed a manuscript (and of course have others in various stages). Once I made the choice to finish it, I discovered how incredibly difficult this is to do.
I never realized how much goes into a manuscript. It’s a ton of work! When people say “I completed a manuscript” some may think you wrote a bunch of words, ran it through spell check, and then voila  you have a book.  I wish! (and if that is what they did, they aren’t really a writer!)
It goes more like this: You come up with this fantastic plot, spend months trying to get your ideas on paper, go back, realize you want to change almost everything, you edit, edit some more, take things out, stress over your edits, add things back in, edit again.. you get the picture. When you finally have a completed manuscript you realize your work has just begun.
Now begins the query process. Sometimes I think the query was harder to write than the actual novel. How are you supposed to sell your book  and yourself  in one page… especially if you are previously unpublished. It’s not easy. This may be the only thing between your novel and an agent/publisher. One little piece of paper can earn you a reject or, if you are lucky, a request to see more. Of course this is only  if the editor/agent actually gets around to reading it. They get tons  of these every day, how is yours supposed to stand out?? After you have a near heart attack over your query you get to work on the synopsis- summarize your novel from start to finish (in one page) and don’t forget the hook! This might just be even more challenging than the query. 
So now, you have poured your blood, sweat and tears into a query and synopsis, so you research agents, genres, formatting, word counts, publishers, etc. and finally feel ready to send out those queries. (btw most publishers will not accept unagented material, thankfully there are a few smaller ones out there that will, but you always have to be on the look out for the scams)
The hardest thing ever  is hitting that send button. I kind of imagine it like the little devil and angel sitting on your shoulders. Angel- “Just send it, you worked hard. Be proud of your work. Never know until you try.”  Devil- “You’ve only edited this 20x you should probably run through it once more. There is maybe  a 5% chance you will ever get published, do you really want to sit around reading form rejects?” Ahhh! Thankfully the angel won out and I clicked send. 
Then, I discovered there is something even scarier… getting a request for a full!
It is the most exciting yet stressful thing! First, you are thrilled someone liked your query, synopsis, and first 10 pages enough to want to read the whole thing (not just a partial, but the whole thing!), then it occurs to you, what if they hate it? You took a marketable idea for a novel and ruined it with crappy writing and not enough editing.  It’s a constant battle- thrilled you even got this far and terrified that they are sitting around wanting those 3 hours of their of life back that were spent reading your novel.  
In the end, reject, contract, or anything in between, I will take it. So many exceptional authors out there never get their break. They sit stuck in the world of slush piles and form rejects. It is a huge honor to have a full requested, it is an amazing accomplishment and it’s good enough for me (for now). It gives me the motivation to keep going, improve my writing skills and hope that one day I can call myself a published  author.

Manicure, anyone?

I consider myself a person that is pretty confidant in my abilities. I think I’m educated, a good mom, an awesome friend 🙂 and overall can do the things I set out to accomplish. But, now that I have decided to pursue writing, I am a mess. I second guess every word I write, every scene I create, and every other tiny, mundane detail. I seriously need a drink! Oh, and a manicure. I wish my nervous habit was losing my appetite or excessive exercising, but no, instead my poor fingernails take the brunt of submissions.

Queries = No fun

I never realized how much work goes into queries. I will blog more about it later, but let me just tell you it’s stressful! I think I have read every do and don’t I can possibly find on the web and I’m still freaking out. The hardest part is, they aren’t always the same. Some people don’t mind certain things that others absolutely do not want to see.
I think the 3 big things I have learned (after weeks of research) are:
1. Never use a generic query (Dear Agent) and never send it to multiple agents at once. Prepare each query for that individuat agent/publisher.
2. Check your spelling and grammar (you think this would be a given, but it’s posted over and over so obviously someone isn’t doing it.) This represents your writing; make it neat, clean and error free.
3. Tell them what they need to know without over doing it. Get your ideas across without being too boastful. Make it represent your style, but don’t give them your life story.

Well I tried my hardest to follow all the rules and we will see how it goes.  Honestly I expect rejections, all authors get them (lots of them), but what I would really love is helpful feedback on those rejections. I just want to know what I am doing wrong, what is right and how it could be better.  Fingers crossed.

And so it begins…

I’ve blogged about my kids, my family and tons of other random stuff, but I have never talked about myself. I just tend to think stories about me cannot compare to things like my son announcing to the world I had an accident when my pants were wet (from the rain). Who can compete with that?!
But… due to some exciting prospects I am beginning a new blog about my second love- books (my kids are my first, I swear I wasn’t thinking coffee). I love reading them, I love writing them, and I truly hope that one day I can combine those two things into becoming a published author. Anyone can say they’re a writer, but I would love to be able to say I’m an author.