Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Same Old, Same Old

A few things have happened since my last post, though none of them terribly exciting. I sent a few follow-up emails to agents who haven't responded to my queries. I know that some of them will only reply if they want to see more work, but I've avoided following-up with those ones since the silence speaks for itself. Not to be totally harsh about it or anything, because I know agents are busy and often get abused by crazy-illusions-of-grandeur authors, but how hard is it to send a little 'thanks, but no thanks' email? I don't need anything other than that. At least that way I know they got it and it didn't get eaten by a spam filter between here and America.
Anyhoo, this week I also put together a 'vision board' for myself to invoke all things positive. I even designed book covers for myself. I think it'll help me stay on track and chase away the self-doubt when I get those pesky rejections.
This morning I was printing off my entries for the RWAus Single (Title) & Loving It! comp. I thought I had myself all covered in the ink department, but apparently not. Even though I had spare cartridges, I got three quarters of the way through and ran out. So I'm waiting for my hubby to bring some home so I can continue printing it all off. Then I can send it and not have to think about it again until the results are posted.
I've written a couple of thousand words this past week as well. I seem to be doing things at a slow and steady pace at the moment, not in fits and starts like I used to. I suppose being a mum has made me value my time more and forced me to be a little more organised. So going along like this, my second SOAP book should be finished in a timely fashion and I can begin on the third. Exciting thoughts!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stubborn

The good news today is that out of the handful of agents I queried yesterday, I didn't get any immediate rejections this morning. It more than likely just means that they haven't got around to reading my query letter yet, but still, it's better to get them at least one at a time rather than altogether.
Obviously rejection just makes me more determined to get somewhere, to succeed, because although receiving 3 immediate rejections yesterday morning was totally demoralizing, my response wasn't to dwell and wallow in my depression, but to find another lot of agents to write to and to re-work my query letter and synopsis. In the query letters I wrote yesterday, I spoke more about my intention for the manuscript and series, hoping that might help sell the idea. I know in the end its my writing that's going to seal the deal, but I won't get the chance for it to be considered unless I can get past the query letter stage. I'm obviously also hoping that Avon might show some interest and request some material. As I've previously said, it would be much easier to find an agent if I had some interest from a publisher. Tomorrow afternoon I'm going to print off and send my entries to the RWAus Single (Title) & Loving It! comp. It doesn't close until next Friday, but I may as well get it sent since it's all ready. And then it'll be back to that game I hate. The waiting.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Blown

The three agents I wrote to yesterday all replied straight back to me, all with rejections. A little demoralizing to get three immediate rejections like that. This whole thing is so frustrating. It seems like you're getting somewhere and then you seem to take twenty steps back. Was there something wrong with the letters I wrote yesterday? They weren't all that different from other letters I've sent out that have resulted in requests for more material. I know I'm crap at writing the synopsis, but what was wrong with those three proposals? Is it really just the luck of the draw, is something getting lost in translation, is there something different I could be doing to find success? I have never ending questions and no answers.
And now I am beginning to wonder if I shouldn't move on. Sure, I'll continue trying to sell this manuscript, I still have the RWAus STALI comp, and many more agents I could write to. But I have been working on this idea for a couple of years now. How long do you hang onto something before it becomes apparent that its not going to work? I've been so close, but is that it? Was that as far as I was supposed to get with this one?
And this leads me to yet more questions. If I do start something else, what do I start? I have a lot of ideas. I had been thinking I should go back to my first passion, historicals, but then I have other contemporary ideas I'd really like to try as well. Besides, my SOAP idea, which is contemporary, really seemed to bring out my voice the strongest, it was all really working. But how do I convey that to a potential agent?
Obviously I don't have any of the answers or I might be published by now.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Keep Rolling

The whole moving on thing seems to be working fairly well at the moment. Today I've queried Avon and written to 3 agents. Ok, that might not seem like much, but consider that every single agent has slightly different submission guidelines. Though a bulk of the content is the same, it's still four separate queries/proposals I have to put together which takes up time. I suppose its partly their way of making sure we do our homework and don't just send off generic letter after generic letter. However from what I hear, some writers still do that, as crazy as it seems to me. If I want to get an agent's attention, I think the foremost thing you need to do is follow their submission guidelines. Pissing them off will not make them want to take on your work. I've also taken the time to write to the agents who requested further material and thank them for their time and consideration. This industry isn't that big, and you never know who you might cross paths with in the future. Plus I really am grateful that they took the time to read my work and provide me with encouraging feedback. So if I get a chance to work on anything tomorrow (which I probably won't considering the fact I'm working) I'll be getting back to a bit of writing. SOAP book 2 is feeling seriously neglected. Now I am going to go relax until my daughter wakes up.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Refreshed

Was it only yesterday I got that rejection? It seems like a lot longer. I'm already moving on, I have a few promising leads with agents; a couple that seem to be specifically looking for a manuscript like my SOAP series, so I'll write to them and see what happens. I've also decided to query Avon directly, because why not? Finding an agent would be much easier with an offer from a publisher on the table and Avon have always been open to taking query letters.
So that's where everything is at. Things are good, and I'll just keep working forward.
I will get this book published.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Back to the Drawing Board

There was an email from The Agent waiting in my inbox this morning. And obviously it wasn't good news or this post would be sounding a whole lot different.
It was the same as the other agents so far, though she enjoyed reading it and might have liked the idea, she didn't 'fall in love with it' and went on to tell me an agent should love your work and your voice and wished me luck in finding someone who would.
So its back to the drawing board. I think I'm taking it better than I thought I would. If I think about it too closely, it'll probably make me go crazy; how the hell do I find the agent who does love my work? Seriously, if there's nothing wrong with it, why isn't the overall premise working?
I guess I'm not allowing myself to dwell on it too much, I'm already planning on which agents I'm going to write to next and I have my two entries to send off to the RWAus Single (Title) & Loving It! comp, (the closing date has been changed to Friday the 26th of this month, so I have an extra week, not that I need it) which could in all possibility land my work on the desk of an editor at Berkeley. If its as good as the agents seem to think, then hopefully the comp will get me somewhere if nothing else will. Then it'll be up to me to find an agent, which will be a lot easier to do with an offer in hand. So I'm not giving up, just going on.
Today, however, I'm taking a break. Stepping away. Doing something that doesn't involve writing. Then tomorrow I will go back to it with fresh perspective.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Waiting Again

Still no word from The Agent. It's been a week since she emailed me, and of course I'm back to the old waiting game. I really hope its not going to be too much longer. Of course I don't want to hear a 'no', but not knowing is so much worse.
I've been re-working the end, fixing up a few basic plot and character problems that my critique partner picked up for me. She said maybe if I do all those things it'll send out some good vibes and hopefully I'll get the answer I'm looking for.
The two entries for the RWAus comp Single (Title) & Loving It! are all ready to be sent off. It doesn't close until Friday the 19th, so I'm putting off sending it for the moment in the hopes that The Agent will get back to me with a 'yes' and then I'll have no reason to enter the comp. If, however, the unthinkable happens and I get another rejection, I have high hopes that at least one of the entries will make it into the short list and land on the desk of an editor at Berkeley, who will be making the final judgement. Of course then I'm hoping the editor will like what she reads and request the full manuscript and things will happen from there. So that's where I'm at. I have a plan, and I'm hoping one way or another, things will unfold in my favour.
Better get back to my revision work.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Taking A Moment to be Political

This isn't my forte. I don't have huge political opinions and although I have my own belief in particular things, I certainly don't try to force my beliefs onto others. Also, I never intended to use this blog as a tool to talk about these sorts things, but something I saw on the news earlier this week hit me in a soft spot apparently.
There was footage on the news about an anti-abortion protest going on. Unfortunately it seems a handful of these anti-abortion people are a bit fanatical. You often see them in the news because they've posted out graphic letters to the unsuspecting public or done some other equally over zealous thing. Personally, while I wouldn't get an abortion myself, I would never condemn someone else doing it. Even if abortion wasn't legal, those who really wanted to have one would find a way, probably at cost to their own health. In the same vein I don't agree with the people who do protest outside abortion clinics. Yes, they have a right to their own opinion, I won't deny that, but forcing that opinion onto others, upsetting those who are probably already in an extremely volatile and vulnerable emotional state is (in my opinion) terribly wrong, small minded and bigoted. Worse, many of these people justify their actions by religion. Did they forget the part about loving thy neighbour, forgiving others as God forgives us, tolerance and empathy to others?
Worse than this, the footage I saw on the news that got me going was of a child who couldn't have been older than 8 marching along with a placard sign, the message written in colour and glitter. I can't even begin to describe how wrong I find this. Isn't it bad enough that this person has take a child too young to understand to an emotionally explosive rally, yet they've also given the child a sign to carry. Yes, guide your children to adulthood with the views and beliefs of the world you have, but to use them in such a manner, to put them in such a position where they don't even understand the gravity of the situation? That is what I find disgusting and inexcusable. But that's my opinion. I wouldn't expect others to agree with me. Their belief is their prerogative.
On Friday night the Steve Martin movie 'Cheaper by the Dozen' was on. And believe it or not there was a quote in that movie that really struck me. Towards the end he said "if I screw up raising my kids, any achievements I make in life won't be worth much."
I guess I was thinking of it more in terms of my own life. Yes, my career is extremely important to me, but I would give it up in a second if I had to for my daughter (and future children). My husband and I are still young, we're not well off, we've definitely put having a family in front of material wealth and comfort, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Ok, we might not be able to give our daughter whatever she wants, who knows if we'll ever be able to afford our own home, we won't be able to send her to the best private school in the city, but we'll be happy. We are happy and she'll have a stable home and a supportive, loving family which is so much more important.
To me anyway.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Still Waiting

I was gratified to receive a reply from The Agent the day after I emailed her. I was surprised to say the least since: a) it was a weekend; and b) in the good ol' USofA it was a long weekend. I didn't expect to hear for at least a couple of days, but there it was in my inbox the next day. I so want this woman as my agent. From all the dealings I've had with her and reading her blog, (I know I said it before, but...) I really feel she's the agent for me. Her reply stated that she hadn't gotten to it yet, but she'd have her assistant pull it out of the pile and make it a priority.
Of course now I'm even more anxious. Talk about performance anxiety. She's made it a 'priority' so now I feel like I've got even more to do to impress her. And of course, it's all said and done, isn't it. I've sent what I've sent and there's nothing I can do to sway her decision either way. I wish there was, but there's nothing to be done but wait. And wait. And wait some more. Not that I feel I could or should have done something different in what I sent her. I wouldn't have sent it if I didn't feel it wasn't ready to be out in the world.
In other news, my critique partner has just read the first half of the second SOAP book and told me besides some fleshing out and work to be done on the Hero, she's really enjoying it and says it's even better than the first. Although, not exactly better in the traditional sense of the word, but different to the first. She likes the characters in the second book better, was the gist of the conversation. I was quite happy to hear that since I was having more issues writing this one than I had with the first. I don't know why. Maybe it was just because writing the first one was so exciting, the idea was new and I was thinking of all the things that could and would happen within the series over a number of books. By writing the second one I guess I'm really into the business end of things. Once I get my agent and publishing contract, it'll be interesting to see what kind of challenge its going to be to write the remaining books, having a deadline, trying to keep all the different elements in check. I'm looking forward to it!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Jump!

Ok so it took me a couple of weeks, but I finally did it.
I finally sent an email to The Agent enquiring about my manuscript. It was a very simple email, but I still argued with myself incessantly about what to put in it. I wanted to grovel and simper, but I'm a bit too smart to sink that low. I wanted to tell her I'm over halfway through the second book and attach a synopsis, but realized if she doesn't like the first one, knowing about the second isn't going to change her mind. I wanted to tell her that I really think I can make it big, and beg her to just give me one little chance when no one else will, but I'm sure she's seen it all before.
Above all, I wanted to remain polite and professional. When considering whether or not she wants to work with me, I don't think I want to give her the impression that I'm a suck-up with illusions of grandeur who thinks I'm better than I actually am. That would be a sure fire way to get her to say no. I need to convey that I am a professional and this is a business deal. No matter how much confidence I have, it all comes down to $$$$. More than anything, her decision is going to be based on whether or not she thinks my words will sell. You all know I believe in myself, I just need to find the agent who does as well, and I want it to be The Agent partly because I want this part of my journey over and partly because from reading her blog, I just really feel she could be the agent for me. I don't know why, I just feel we could get along well.
Anyway, its all conjecture until I get some sort of response from her. I just have to remember that if its another no, it's not the end of the line. I still have the RWAus comps to submit to in a few weeks and other agents to write to. I will get there eventually!