Celebrating Moments of Mediocrity

April 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Agents have something called the slush pile.  It’s where manuscripts go to die.

Okay, not really.  It’s just where the queries and manuscripts end up before they’re skimmed over and then rejected or praised for their magnificence.

I’m in more than one slush pile and this is the thing.  I’m okay with it.  Certainly it means the agent see’s something in my writing that is calling out for them to take a closer look.  Maybe my concept is riveting, or my writing clever, or my characters gripping.  Maybe all three!  (Let a girl dream)

Whatever it is, I celebrate the slush.

It’s a definite step up from sludge.

-Laura

Going to Hell in a UPS truck.

April 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

My mailman hates me.

I am not a lazy person, but the post office with three kids is hell on earth.  Try going at lunch and/or nap time, and you’ve just entered Dantes Inferno type Hell.  So guess who was thrilled when USPS started allowing you to print your own postage at home and hand the box over to your mailman.

Two thumbs point at this girl.

I have everything delivered.  EVERYTHING.  I do not like bringing my children into situations that don’t involve ice cream, books, or a swing.  When they can all enter a public restroom by themselves, I’ll reevaluate my position, but for right now, I’m good.

I have half a dozen siblings spread far and wide.  I like sending them things.  They like receiving things.  Someday (I hope) I’ll be sending manuscripts out to publishing houses.  These things are heavy, and I have a man that comes to my door every day around 930am who takes those things away from me for a very reasonable price.

Why would I not take advantage of that?

Sorry Eduardo.

-Laura

Marketing Schemes of the Literary Variety

April 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

I was doing what I normally do in the spare five minutes I have, and perusing agent web sites.  It’s an incredible amount of work to try and find an agent you think will gel with you.  One that fits all of your necessary criteria.  Worse than getting married in my opinion.

So there I was, skipping through the query tracker, when I came across this little ditty.

“Before querying our agency please have a full marketing plan available for submission, along with your completed manuscript, synopsis, and author bio.”

Ummm. . .What?!?  You’re kidding right?  When did I become a product for barter?  When did I become an ad exec.?

As if producing a book wasn’t hard enough, now I’m looking into marketing strategies?  and I’m doing it, because Mr. Agent said I needed too.  What has my life become?

Not to mention, I’m on the hundredth draft of my query letter.  Yes, I said one-hundred.  Maybe I should add an exclamation point.  It certainly feels like it’s in need of one.

Some of you are scratching your head.  Book ideas that are still in your brain, or scribblings on the computer and in a journal.  A query is the letter you send to prospective agents telling them why they can’t live without publishing your masterpiece.  It’s the hook.  It’s the marketing ploy you see on the back cover and inside flap of every book out there.

It’s a big pain in the butt to write.

I’ve written my letter from probably half a dozen different angles.  I tried the synopsis and the one liner.  The character driven, plot driven, leave ’em hanging driven.  I tried personalizing each letter to each particular agent.  I had my beta readers (a post for another day) comment on each one, and none of them were perfect.  I’ve sent very few out.  The idea is to try and be as selective about your agent as they are about you.  Unfortunately, that makes rejection that much harder, since you’ve spent the last few weeks blog stalking their agency websites, literary blogs, and interviews.

I’ve come to the realization that the five small paragraphs of the query were harder to write then all 82,00 words of my novel.  I love to edit.  I love revisions, harsh critiques, making my manuscript what I dream it to be.  The negativity fuels me to work harder, write better.  Every blunt comment, helps polish a scene.   Every honest review, tightens the script.  The query is another thing altogether.  It’s certainly not my cup of tea.  Today I decided honesty might be the best way to go, and I retyped it again.

Here’s hoping.

-Laura

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