Monday, January 30, 2012

No news is not good news... in this case anyway

At this point I've sent out seven query letters (three of them were a no, and I'm pretty sure one more is a no). The agency was like "if we don't contact you in six weeks, it's a no." Well, going by how quick some of the others get back to me, I kind of have to figure that it's a no. Some say that "if you don't hear from us at all, it's a no," which I think is lame. While I don't really like form rejection letters, they do make the process faster. Anyway, there are 50 agents on this list of mine, some of which I've already trimmed out as not being a close enough match to what I and they are looking for. I may look into the new publishing books that came out (2012 Guide to Literary Agents) to see if I can find more. Maybe.

Rejections take a lot out of me. It's not like I'm taking it personally (that the "nos" mean I'm a horrible writer who should just stop trying). [If I have confidence in one thing in my life, it's my ability to tell a story.] But each rejection puts me further away from the dream that I have to publish. So far, submitting for my novel has been far different than short stories. The rejections come MUCH faster. With short stories it always took about three months to hear back; by then I'd had enough time to process and trick myself into thinking that maybe my story was on some "maybe" pile and ultimately not selected. With these email queries "no thanks" comes like machine gun fire. There's really no time to process it. So I need to get used to that. It's making this a really difficult process. Each rejection I get makes me think "Well, maybe it really isn't going to happen for me and I need to deal with that now and move on. What's plan B?"

I want to give kudos to all those authors who do submit to 100+ agents. I don't know that I have the heart for that. Plus, I grow a bit restless and feel like after so many it's time to set it aside and move on. But who's to say that agent 51 is the one who says yes. This game has definitely messed with my emotions the last few days.

So, in hope to rise out of this funk, I've decided to do some work on ARABELLE WILD. Why? First, because the characters have popped into my head a lot lately (I think I have "Downton Abbey" to thank, even though the era isn't the same). Second, because I'm having a hard time starting book 2 of my SPIRIT KEEPER series. I've been planning and outlining, but I just don't feel it at the moment. So, I need to take a bit of a break from it all together and switch my mind over to something else. And I'll admit, it's kinda nice to do something else. Maybe this is what my brain needs to get it together and reconnect with the joy of writing. 'Cause right now, I just want to curl up in bed and lay there quietly for a couple days. It'll pass, but being in the crush of it is definitely draining.

I suppose the good news is that it's 9pm and I haven't gotten a rejection email yet, which is good 'cause today was pretty ho-hum.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

One down...

Well, it took less than 24 hours to hear back from Agent 1. The response: a form rejection letter. Here, I'll share it with you all:
Thank you for your query. Unfortunately, your manuscript doesn't sound like something that’s right for us. We wish you the best of success in placing your work elsewhere.

Pretty standard, actually. I have like 70 of these for my short stories.

So, before everyone says it: I know that there will be a lot of rejections. That's kind of a given right? We can move on from that. .....wait that might have seemed a little harsh or snappy..... Don't get me wrong, I know the intention behind the sentiment is 100% sincere, but sometimes I wonder if some people say it because they think my publishing expectations are unrealistic. To be fair, I do have big dreams. HUGE DREAMS. I've been putting "I'm going to be a published writer" vibes into the universe since I was nine. But deep down I know what the deal is. Did I want to be the first ever writer who was accepted by the first agent they ever submitted to? Sure. I mean, can you imagine how awesome that would have been?!?!? But did I really think that was going to happen: No.

So I hope that whoever reads this (and who might have mentioned something about how hard it is to make it) isn't offended or anything. I've heard this from so many people throughout the entire time I've been submitting (not just this latest submission, but back with short stories as well) and now I'm like AHHHH! For example, I called my mom to tell her about the rejection and she was like "Okay...." and then "Well, you know that....." And I was like "NO, STOP! DON'T SAY IT! I KNOW!"

Thank you for letting me vent for a moment (and this could be the sting of rejection talking).

I've already sent out the second query letter and I may send a third later tonight. I thought submitting right away would help with the sting of the first rejection and I think it has... at least for the moment. In my experience it usually takes a day or so for it to really sink in (and then usually I feel pretty crappy). I know that I'll keep moving on from this point and if no one wants to represent my novel, I guess it'll make a good e-book. I just want to give traditional publishing 100% effort before I look into self publishing. I just hope that eventually I'll get more feedback than just a form rejection letter.

So, moving on to something more positive. I started brainstorming book 2 today. Tomorrow's goal: to actually start writing. I think moving forward that way will really help me with the submission process because even as the rejections come in, I'll still be moving forward. Hopefully in the end I'll have a solid trilogy. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012


So, I've decided that this coming Tuesday, I'm going to make my first attempt at submitting my novel. At this point, I've picked and picked at it (at the first five pages, the synopses, and even the query letter), and now I'm just stalling. I've talked about this whole process being overwhelming, well, I think in a lot of ways I'm just scared. Scared of rejection... scared of success. I don't know. One thing I do know: I'm getting restless. I'm ready to test the waters. I don't think there's any tried and true method for submitting to agents. But I figure Thursday and Fridays may be bad days because they're so close to the weekend and Monday could be equally bad (depending on what happens during the weekend). So, Tuesday feels good. Or Wednesday, but then that's stalling too. I think I'm ready. I hope I am anyway. We'll see I suppose.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

E-Book Covers and Cookbooks

Now that I'm seriously considering turning my early FictionPress stories into e-books (or even self-published books), I'm starting to think about book covers. A beautiful/engaging cover can really push a hardcover or paperback. Is the same true for e-books? At the moment, I'm really unsure of what I should do for KILLING MEMORIES. Fancy text on a solid background? Some kind of photograph? I did a sketch of Moo and Estela, but I'm not a great drawer (sadly) and it just seems impossible to get what I'm thinking to come out of my hands. I wish I was an artist. Painters, sketchers, watercolorists, whatevers... I'm so in awe of such talent. I wish I had a small sliver of it, but I don't. All of my creativity is with words.

I haven't  bought a lot of e-books myself so I'm not sure what people are drawn to. Price? An awesome cover? The synopsis/blurb? All three probably. I just don't know where to start. Thoughts?

So, I ended up completely cleaning up my FictionPress profile and stories. It seems just a little pointless to have a bunch of unfinished stories on there. So now it's just "Chemical Games" and "My Darling Bunny." Hopefully I can add a new (and permanent) story soon. I'm so tempted to start posting chapters of ARABELLE WILD and that maybe reader feedback will spark me into finishing it. But I don't want it to end up like GEORGIA SWIMMER or THE JADE BRACELET. I sometimes think about how good (even though it was really bad) I had it being unemployed for nine months after graduate school. I could write so much then. And I swear, I'm letting valuable writing team get eaten away by my disgusting TV habit. I. Love. T.V. I do miss the times when I could write all day long and really produce. Oh well, I'll have to adapt.

I just bought a new lamp. It's got two pull cords that turn on the light bulbs. It had such an old-timey feel to it, which I liked. It seemed like the perfect fit for my writing desk. Now I just need to get myself off the couch and seated at the desk. The portability of this new laptop really has it's downfalls.

Costco had this for half the price.
And to continue the randomness of this post... I just bought a really awesome cookbook called EVERYDAY FOOD: LIGHT (from Martha Stewart's kitchen, no less). I was looking something that had meals under 500 calories (I'm in a pretty good "get healthy mode" at the moment). The best thing about this cookbook, besides a lot of delicious looking recipes, is that there is a color picture on each page. I have to have pictures in my cookbook. I'm a decent cook, but I still like the visual to know how it's supposed to look (even if most of the foods are professionally photographed, fancied up, and possibly not even cooked). I'm really excited to make a few of these recipes. As a cooking side note: The Food Network magazine is pretty awesome too.

A journey toward healthiness and a journey toward publishing are kind of the same: hard, frustrating, hopeful, and tiring.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Oh facebook...

So, I didn't feel like managing both a facebook profile and a facebook page for myself, so I tried to "convert" my profile page (which is supposed to upload all of your friends as people who "like" you) to a fanpage, but I think some (possibly 30 people) were cut. So, that was a dumb decision, but hopefully it'll be better in the long run. It probably would have been okay had I not created a page to start with, because I ended up with two pages, one of which I had to delete (including all of the people who "liked" that). I don't know if it all balances out, but my attempt at simplification seems to have blown up in my face. Pages are so boring... I need to spice mine up.

In other news, I think I've brainstormed a title change for SURRENDER. Because even though it will likely change later in the process (especially if an agent/publisher is interest), I can't go forward with the submission process with a title that really doesn't have a lot to do with the story anymore. Therefore, I'm leaning toward SPIRIT KEEPER or THE SPIRIT KEEPER. I can't decide how much weight "the" holds--does it change the meaning with or without it? Does it sound better with or without it? So many possibilities. At this point, I'm about 85% happy with this new idea. I do worry that the title will give away a little too much, but when I think about it I think there's enough mystery build up in the novel to keep the title from killing suspense. Titles are tricky--especially when the book won't be a stand-alone. But who says that l I have to confirm to the "Twilight," "New Moon," "Eclipse," and "Breaking Dawn" trend? Maybe my goal should be to fight it? I do wonder how often titles are changed by publishers/editors from what the author originally intended. If I cared more about the Twilight series I'd go look to see if it was Meyer's original title.

At any rate... THE SPIRIT KEEPER.

It definitely feels right. Well... better.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hostile Kisses

I will be removing HOSTILE KISSES from FictionPress sometime next Saturday, January 14. Just an FYI! :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

So much to do.....

It's official, I probably won't be doing much new writing until I feel like I've got a few things finalized with SURRENDER. I'm getting close to being done with the synopsis, I hope. They query letter is another beast that I'm slowly tackling. I'm starting to understand why it's taken me so long to actually take these steps toward getting my novels published. This is a lot of work. It's stressful, sometimes heart crushing... I don't know, the list goes on (fill it with negative words). Just when I think I'm done with something and get feedback it's like "nope, not yet." I can't even imagine what I'll feel when/if I'm successful at finding an agent who wants to represent me and they want me to make more changes. Will it ever be 100 percent? This is a very difficult process. I'm determined not to throw in the towel, although it's tempting at times.

Today I spent a little time looking at the agent list that I compiled months ago. I'm always shocked at how overwhelmed I get when I work on different elements of the submission process. First paring 510 pages down to 10 (the synopsis and I need to cut those 10 to one page). Now the big issue is finding something about my top 15 agents to personalize the query letter. Each publishing book that I read suggests that writers find a way to connect to the agent--make them feel special. I understand this completely (on agent I'm looking at says that they get 10,000+ queries a year!), but it's difficult. So far my reasons for querying are: 1) they represent diverse projects (I won't always write YA), 2) they're looking for writers who want to develop their skills and the agent-writer relationship (check, I totally want this too), and 3) I really liked one of the authors they already represent. Who knows if the last one is a valid "connection" or not.

I think when it comes down to it, I need to trust my instincts. If I feel it's as close to final as I can get it, then I just need to go with it and not try to get a second opinion. Another issue is that I want all of this to happen tomorrow... that definitely isn't realistic.

I guess I'm just having a hard day with this process. And I still don't like the title.

I'm overwhelmed for sure.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012!

I am determined to make great things happen this year! It's bright and sunny so that must mean that things are off to a good start. A few goals that I'd like to see happen:

1. Send off query letters and samples for SURRENDER by Feb 1.
2. Edit KILLING MEMORIES and turn it into an ebook.
3. Finish a draft of book 2 in the FALLEN GUARDIAN SERIES.
4. Finish another small project.

A lot, but I think I can do it. I'll probably add more to the list as the year goes on, but it's good to set a few goals to start with.

Happy New year everyone!