Thoughtful Thursday – First Query

thoughtful

I submitted my first ever query letter this week. It was hard to describe all the elements of my book in a couple of paragraphs. It’s urban fantasy erotica. I didn’t talk about the sex scenes. They are, of course, part of the story, but there is more than sex going on and I wanted the agent to hear about the basic story and get an idea of the key things that happen. It’s really hard to do that when you’ve spent so much time making sure all the pieces go together like breadcrumbs making a trail. I figured they would guess there is sex in it judging by my putting it in the erotica category. I wanted to tell them the whole wonderful story, but there isn’t enough room nor do they have enough time. I just hope I gave them enough to pique their interest and give me a chance.

I was still holding my breath after I clicked on the submit button. It’s a mix of fear and excitement.

I suppose I should submit to some other agents too. Eggs in one basket and all that.

With martial arts cancelled due to freezing rain, I had time to do more editing.

Yes. I queried before I completely finished my edits. Why? Because I have a background in project management. Knowing that it took me only a couple of days to get through the first half of the book and that they usually take around 3 months to respond, I wanted to get the ball rolling.

There was so much more I would’ve liked to put into the letter!

Yesterday, I continued editing my novel and edited the first draft of a children’s book for a friend. Editing is something I struggled with early on, but now I quite like it. There is set structure and I can just sit down and work without interruption. Well, when there aren’t barking dogs and sirens disrupting my concentration that is. I think editing as a career direction is something for me to look into in a serious sense.

Well, I have chapters to edit, a short story to write & edit, and other novels to finish first drafts on.

Ciao,
R~

NaNoWriMo 2015

Well I’ve been doing terrible at National Novel Writing Month this year. Why? Life has been busy.

At the end of October, from the 30th to November 1, there was Can-Con. I successfully pitched my novel to one of the publishers, then spent two days touching up my manuscript before submitting it. I had gotten some outside feedback at Can-Con and wanted to apply it. So that took me to November 4th as a start date. Then I had to spend some time ensuring I had food to eat at the Iaido seminar on the 7th. The 6th and 8th were partially lost to travel. I didn’t get much writing done in the first week.

In week two when I could get some time to write, I was facing the challenges of full-time work, writing course, plus social life. I was also facing a challenge of, “Man, it’s been so long since I looked at this manuscript. What’s it about again?” Also, I had updated my Scrivener to the newest version and it moved some of the text files around, so I had to reorganize and read to figure out what I had already written and what needed to happen in the story.

Week three had me facing a bladder/urinary tract infection. The antibiotics quickly cleared that up, but not without other issues. I was nauseous, lightheaded, dizzy, light sensitive, sinus headache, fevered/chilled… It was fantastic.

Somehow I was able to write 1,019 words on one of the days despite how ill I felt? That’s the only day I’ve written over 1000 words.

So as we head into week four, I have 5555 new words written on Scion. I have martial arts tonight, food allergy treatment tomorrow, and physio on Friday.

There are only a couple martial arts classes left before grading. It’s likely best I spend my free time on that if I want to pass it.

On the upside, the writing course is done and I received interesting and helpful feedback from the other students on several of my stories.

I’ve been terrible at ROW80 for this round. I’m posting a day early, because.

Next month should be a little better for getting my writing in. Not that I’m going to stop working on Scion. I’ll just stop feeling bad about not being up to Nano word count. And when I’m stuck, I’ll work on edits for The Blood Waitress Club. Whichever one is ready first will be my next pitch.

Goals for the Rest of the Round

Scion: 250 words/day

The Blood Waitress Club: 1 chapter/week

Ciao,
R~

Career Steps

I have been pretty busy since my last post. I worked through some issues with my book, though the word count has not changed substantially.

I made a new friend who got me hooked into the writing scene in Ottawa. I’ve been attending writers workshops and I am learning a lot about things beyond writing my novel.

I went to a workshop on how to pitch my story to an agent. It was very informative. I learned that my book needs to be clarified some. For instance, I have always said I am writing a Social Science-Fiction novel. In actuality, I may be writing a New Adult Science-Fiction novel, which may fall under the Romance genre. So I have learned that New Adult is the age group of my audience, and I have also learned that there are a lot of keys to pitching.

Some of the things I learned are common sense and others are interesting…

1. You’ll never get an agent or publisher interested by trying to shove your manuscript under a toilet stall. Totally makes sense. Why would anyone think that is okay??? What wasn’t common sense to me was that you shouldn’t have your manuscript with you at all. Seriously, they said to leave it at home. Agents and publishers prefer you have a fully completed manuscript (common sense), unless you are so amazing at pitching that you can sell a book that isn’t written yet. Some authors are that amazing at pitching. I have some work ahead of me, but I also have to finish writing my novel.

2. If they say they want your manuscript, they want you to mail it to them and usually they only need about the first 3 chapters to tell whether or not they will want your book in their portfolio. They don’t expect it right away. Take a couple of days to a week for polishing and then send it to them. They’re busy people and won’t get to it the day it arrives. Be patient.

3. Don’t say you’re nervous… Say you’re excited! They get that we are nervous. It’s normal. Excitement sounds more positive though.

4. They may hate your idea or have just been pitched it by someone else, so have another story ready.

5. Always be upfront if you’re pitching something that is not complete. Tell them it’s a work in progress. It’s more acceptable to be a work in progress if this is your second pitch.

6. You may only get 5 minutes to pitch your book, so make it count. Get your book pitch down to about 25 words. It should be able to fit on a label for the back of your business cards.

7. You may be pitching your story in a short elevator ride after randomly running into an agent or publisher. Have business cards with you at all times.

8. Rejection isn’t a bad thing! They may not be the right people to help you get your book published. This could be because it’s not the type of content they represent. Maybe you’re a non-fiction writer and all they care about is fiction. Maybe you’re trying to publish poetry and they only do non-fiction or textbooks. You want an agent that cares about your work because they will work harder to get you a publisher.

9. Know your book and its characters as well as or better than you know yourself. What did they eat for breakfast? Do they like black licorice?

10. Know the work of the other authors in your genre. They need to be able to compare your writing to that of others. Who influences you? It’s exceptionally good if you can talk about authors they already represent.

11. If you are seriously pursuing a career in writing, everything you do towards that goal can be claimed on your income tax. Professional membership fees to writers associations, receipts for workshops, a couple of conferences per year, etc can be claimed.

The workshop was put on by the Ottawa Romance Writers’ Association, which is part of Romance Writers of America. They allow members to be “associates” if they are not writing Romance and I’m excited to get to know this wonderful and accomplished group of writers more. I hope I make a better impression in the future than the girl who’s car battery needed a boost…

Next week I will be attending a workshop on Social Media for Writers. I’m looking forward to learning more about the journey to getting published. I have heard that it is better to focus on your skill as a writer than it is to get too deep into building a social media presence for yourself. If you get too deep into creating your social media presence, it may be difficult for a publisher to work with it and you could put things out into the world that you shouldn’t.

I have started my social media presence on Facebook. In the coming weeks I will be building it up as I learn more about the best ways to use social media to promote my work.

I have noticed that I am part of many groups where people have multiple names. Authors commonly have different pen names for each genre they write. Steampunks often have a Lord or Lady title they don. Roller derby athletes often play under a creative name that expresses who they are on the track. Burlesque dancers have stage names. There may come a time where my social media existence will get extremely complicated in the future.

As far as my book goes currently, I think I will only make minimal progress in the next month or two, but I will keep plugging away. I remember what helped me write the first half was to skip over pain points until I couldn’t postpone them any longer. While that isn’t conducive to “eating ones frogs”, I find it necessary to keep progressing and I think whatever helps me break through blockages is good.

Ciao
R~

2012!

I’ve been quite busy, so I haven’t been updating this blog. My novel is hovering at the 50% mark or 25,000 words. Yay! So while I haven’t been blogging, I have been writing, a lot.

Life has been pretty crazy in the past 9 months. The company I work for is being divested and many of us feel like we are stuck in a slow death. The hubby and I are applying for other opportunities and may relocate. Several friends have had or will be having their first babies soon.

It has been a little hard to focus on my writing, as last week we received the first concrete date given of anything in the divestment process, and so I having been thinking about my career lately. I am trying to find telecommuting options for myself, so we can be wherever my husband needs for his next job, and so I’ll be less likely to end up in this situation again. I am working on putting together a Writer’s Resume for myself.

I am also trying to figure out what to say about my novel when people ask the inevitable, “What is it about?”, question. It’s about a boy who is different–Doesn’t that sound like almost every other story?–and he has a huge task to fulfill (hello Harry Potter, Jesus, etc). I know what I need to divulge to sell it, but I’m not ready to tell anyone until the book is “complete”. Then I can approach an agent and get into meetings with publishers, if I go the traditional route, or I can self-publish and risk no one bothering to read it at all. I’m hoping to have people proofread sections that are in their area of expertise, before I get looking for an agent, but I don’t want too many people to read the full novel until it’s in stores. Maybe that’s odd, but it’s precious to me.

At a birthday last night someone told me that they thought it was a pretty big deal to decide to write a novel and were impressed. I found it interesting because the person is around 30 and recently decided to apply to law school, which I think is impressive.

I’m currently in another research phase, but I’ll be done it soon. I’ll be back writing my novel shortly, and hoping I can finish it before I’m out of a job. I’m not too worried about having a job, as I have other skills besides my writing. Writing is what I want to do to make a living and break free from the hamster wheel called office work. I feel like when I can spend my days writing, I will finally feel like I’m doing something important with my life. Maybe I’ll just go up a level on Maslow’s hierarchy, but it has to be better than this.

Ciao
R~