Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Business Side of Things

I'm at the stage of preparing my presentation to submit to additional agents. I worked for hours last night and felt like I got NOTHING done. I have to say that creating Chapter Summaries and Marketing Plans and Cover Letters is not nearly as much fun as just writing. I also keep going back to the book and re-editing parts. I'm not sure if that is a good idea or not, because I feel I'm second guessing myself. My goal is to have them sent by next week. Wish me luck.

I've also started plotting the sequeal...I haven't written anything yet, but I'm working it out in my head. Barry says I shouldn't work on it until I get the first one going, but you really can't stop inspiration when it starts.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Chapter Outline

I feel pretty good about the latest version of the book. The tenses are pretty clean and my punctuation has been corrected...to the best of my knowledge. This morning, I divided the book up into chapters and I'm working on creating a brief chapter outline.

I'm trying not to be discouraged about my first rejection. I'm taking a deep breath before I head back into the ring with reinforcements. I'm working on a stellar proposal with a marketing plan and additional support materials. I'm going to make it impossible for the next agent to say "no".

The ladies, Lucy and Nancy, my dog and cat respectively, are sleeping in my office under patches of sunshine. I'm going to have to leave them soon though because it's almost 3 and I have to shower and get ready for the show tonight. So much to do, so little time.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Rejected

I sent in my first query and received my first rejection. Ouch. I'm trying not to let it get me down, and I have a long list of other agents to approach. As I was told in my rejection letter, it just takes one "yes" to find the right match. Now I just have to hope that I can get one.

Internal Monologue

I found some useful information online for properly punctuating internal thoughts. Of the three options:

1. "How could she do that?" I thought.
2. I wondered how she could do that to me.
3. How could she do that?

I decided to go with italicizing the text so as not to disrupt the flow of my story. I made the corrections on the first 20 pages last night before we headed off to band practice, which by the way, went very well.

I think we have about 30 people coming to the show tomorrow, so we'll have a pretty good turnout. Now I just have to pray that I don't choke and forget my lyrics...although I can usually cover it up. Most of the cover songs we play are pretty obscure, so if I mess up a few words, no one knows. The originals obviously don't matter either, but one time I sang the same verse twice for Angel from Montgomery. Oops.

They key to performing, is to just keep it going. Spout gibberish if you have to, but whatever you do, DON'T STOP THE SONG! You'll wreck someone's jam and that is something they will notice. I'm trying to take that approach with my writing - to just keep it going, stumble over the pitfalls and hope that eventually someone will listen.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Waiting at the Sidelines

I sent in my first query yesterday. I don't expect to get a book deal, but I am hoping to get some constructive criticism. Now, I just have to wait and see if she requests some pages for review. I'm trying to tell myself that won't happen, but I have a little inkling of hope that she will. Just in case, I started editing last night.

However, in correcting my grammar and adjusting the tenses, I feel like I might be sacrificing some of the original tone. I saved the edited version as a new version just in case I need to go back and pull some pieces from the original. I'm still not exactly sure how to properly annotate internal thoughts. I also changed the name of one of the main characters so they don't rhyme anymore.

I won't have time to work on it tonight though, the boys and I have band practice for our gig on Saturday!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Name Game

I stayed up again working on the book, so I slept through my alarm and ended up arriving 20 minutes late for work without a shower. Why is it that whenever you oversleep it's never just by a few minutes? You always have about 4 minutes to get dressed and out the door.

I'm feeling pretty positive about the book overall. I got most of the loose ends tied together last night, so my next challenge is to striaghten out the timeline and make grammar and punctuation corrections. However, I realized for the first time last night that the first names of my two main character RHYME! I can't believe I didn't notice it before, but does it matter? I kind of like their names, but perhaps I should replace one. Thank goodness, I can do a "find and replace function" in Word.

Fun Fact: Did you know that Scarlett's name from Gone with the Wind was originally Pansy?

I learned that on my tour of the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta. I don't think the book would have been the same if she had been called Pansy O'Hara, so maybe there is more to a name.

My questions at this point:
How much do I need to edit my book before I start sending out queries?
What should I include in the cover letter that accompanies my query?

I plan on going to the library this weekend to do some research, but if anyone has some advice, I'd gladly take it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My Bio

When I submit a query, I'm going to have to include a bio. This makes me a little nervous because I don't have a lot of documented writings, especially in creative writing. I'm in Marketing Design and PR so most of my writing has been for business. I have stacks of press releases, letters, ad copy and some creative product copy, but I am not sure how relevant that is. Would it help that my product copy is distributed to retailers nationwide?

I can only think of two notable writing achievements that I have:
1. I had a letter published in Vogue Magazine.
2. I won an essay contest in college and had my story printed in the school newspaper.

I'n not even sure how impressive the second one is, but I might be able to spin it with some creative marketing copy like...
Was awarded creative writing commendation in University newspaper

Hmm. Not bad. Oh and I also self-published a music zine in college. I actually had advertisers too, but no time to produce more than two issues because of school and work. Time is always against me. I think my husband is getting sick of eating ramen for dinner and my dog misses the long walks we used to take together.

My husband did offer to help and take some headshots though. I am not very photogenic, but on the inside cover of most books is a ridiculously cheezy photo of the author. I need some shots posed on an arm chair, or out in the garden with my chin on my knee, and most definitely one with the dog. I will be sure to post them here when we take them....for a good laugh.

Getting Published

Since I'm in the home stretch of completion, I've started doing some online research on what to do next. I mean, writing is great. I really enjoy it, but it would be nice to get my stuff out there -and get paid for it. However, as I'm learning more about publishing, I'm discovering that it is pretty difficult to get your foot in the door. In the back of my mind, I always knew that, but when you're daydreaming about your fabulous life as a best-selling novelist, you don't want to clutter it up with harsh reality. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to start facing it soon.

I've decided that I am definitely going to pursue an agent. Since this will be my first book, I think that would be the best route for me. I've found a few online resources as well that offer advice on writing, selecting an agent, and maneuvering the publishing world.

Association of Authors Representatives
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
Literary Marketplace

The First Step on the Path to Success

My 30th birthday was about 6 weeks ago. I don't know if that's what prompted me to get off my ass and start writing or if it was just something that was a long time coming. I've had a lot of ideas for different novels over the years, some of which I started, some of which I didn't, but this one feels like it's getting close.

One of the hardest parts is finding time to write. I work full time, so I've put this book together in pieces. I'm starting to read through it in its entirety, and I'm finding a lot of little plotholes that I need to go back and fix. I'm also usually pretty good at correcting grammar, but for the life of me, I can't remember how to properly use quotation marks. I know that if someone is speaking and I interrupt it with narration, I'm supposed to close one end and open the other one, but I have no idea which end to open and which end to close. Right now, there are quotation marks everywhere, so I need to go the library and take a refresher course on writing conversation.