Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A query that worked! Woo hoo!

Alas, I did not make it into the final round of the agent pitch. Those of you that did, you deserve a huge measure of congratulations for a job well done! I read most of the queries and first 150 words and I must say that I saw some stellar writing. Best of luck to each and every one of you!

Now, as for me...

I pared my query down. Waaaaay down. I even titled it "experiment." Then I sent to four agents, and

...drumroll please...

I promptly received requests for two fulls and two partials! I am ecstatic! Of course now I feel horrible that I wasted the effort sending my disastrous query to about ten agents...so wasteful! But this entire journey is a learning curve to be sure, and I guess I'm a learning!

Now I will focus on sending my experimental query to more agents and hope.

And wait.

And hope.

And wait some more. I feel as though good things are right around the corner. I hope they are for you as well.

Happy writing!

Monday, September 17, 2012

I made it in!

Well, to my surprise, at the 11th hour I chose a version of my query letter that I could live with, pasted it in an email and at precisely 8 AM hit SEND.

Got the email reply telling me I was in.

I realized that as a writer you have to put yourself out there and risk negative, er,  constructive feedback. We all have to do it. It's just a part of the learning curve.

As a non-fiction writer for years, I must say that my articles have always been printed almost verbatim based on what I submitted to my editors. That is what makes it difficult for me now; I am not used to people making comments about my writing (at least not that I can hear, ha ha).

But my query is there, awaiting feedback, comments, criticism, whatever the case may be.

And I'm ready. How else can I see what I need to improve, right?

UPDATE: I've gotten some feedback and it is totally what I expected. My query needs to be tightened up (which I think I've just about nailed). My first 150 got some very good reviews, so that makes me happy. Can't we just skip the queries and go straight to the MS? *sigh*

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Endeavor to persevere...

Today I am in what you would call "query hell." If you are a writer, I'm sure you have been here.

My question is: does anyone know how to get out?

I've been trying to polish my query all day so I can submit it for GUTGAA tomorrow. As of now, it doesn't look like I'll be hitting that send button tomorrow morning.

I have four versions of my query letter. I start out loving each one, then, like a boyfriend who forgets to wear deodorant, the infatuation quickly wears off.

Today I have spent going through and reading the queries that made it into the pitch polish segment, hopoing to get some ideas and inspiration. There are some very good ones. There are some that, well, let's just say I feel pretty good about my writing when I read them. And many that show promise but are probably not going to have agents beating the door down, contract and pen in hand.

I thought I snagged some winning ideas from a couple of them. Yet, each time I open my query document and type something--anything--I instantly abhor it. The words just refuse to travel from my brain to my tapping fingers, or more likely, refuse to form at all. This should be easy for me. I have a great story (well, I think so anyway), great characters, great name, yada yada yada. And, I spent years writing ad pitches for magazines and radio spots. Normally I can do this in my sleep. But today I suckie suck suck!

Usually, I would just take time away and come back with a fresh, and hopefully better attitude and a functioning brainpan tomorrow. Works almost every time. But time is running out...I have to have it ready to hit the send button at 8 am tomorrow (I'm on Pacific time).

Will I make it?

Can I do it?

Will the Dodgers win the World Series?

Which came first, the chicken or...well, never mind. You get the idea. All questions with no clear answer.

I know many of you are here in the trenches with me today. Maybe if we yell loud enough someone will throw us a rope.

And if not, well, we'll get through it. Endeavor to persevere. That's what writers do.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fifty Shades of Frustrated

Just breathe.

Easier said than done sometimes. My computer has been taken over by some stealthy and silent force which, like a backpack loaded with cinder blocks, has slowed it to the point of nearly stalling out.

I like to move fast. I like my computer to do likewise. Today's not the day for that.

After running all my virus software and detecting nada, I can only presume that it is my Internet connection, which I must admit can be as slow as the 91 Freeway at 8 am.

It is extra frustrating today as I am attempting to send some queries out, all of which require pasting text into the body of an email, or the attaching of a Word file. Simple stuff, that is until you try to send the block-laden beast into the nether regions of cyberspace and



Maybe I should just do something productive while the neurons in my computer's brain attempt to fire and make something happen. But alas, I am as impatient as they come and MUST sit and stare at the screen in anticipation of the forthcoming SENT! icon.

Maybe the writing gods are trying to tell me that today is not the day to query agents.

Maybe they''re holding me back because the agent who is patiently waiting to represent me is also having a bad computer day and my email will go into her/his black hole of lost emails.

Never fear, my future agent. Tomorrow is another day and we can both hope that the gremlins have moved on and are tormenting other querying writers and waiting agents.

Until then...

just breathe.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Go Forth and Multiply

I LOVE that I just looked and saw that there are now 267 of "US" involved in GUTGAA. We are truly a legion of writers! I sincerely wish I had the time to meet each one of these 267 friends in ink,,,but alas, with work, writing, babysitting my grandson and the trials and tribulations of a temperamental laptop I just don't have time to do so. But I wish each and every fellow writer the very best of luck in our quest. Will it be you that lands the agent or the publisher?

I believe it will be.

Go forth and multiply.

Wait. Let me reword that. Go forth, believe in yourself, make sheer determination your strongest character trait and git 'er done!!!

Let's get us an agent and get published!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Excuse me, is this a bad time?

Happy Tuesday! Four day workweek this week -- yeah baby!

I recently read that right now is a bad time to query agents. Well, not bad perhaps, but not optimal either. The agent's post basically said that due to the heat and summer's winding down, they weren't as inclined to get cozy with a cup of tea and read (and respond to) our query letters.

Any thoughts on this? I am new to querying so any insights as to timing would be greatly appreciated. Like  all unpublished authors, I need all the help I can get!!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Meet and Greet Time!

It's Monday Meet & Greet! First off, Happy Labor Day to everyone!

Now, time to get down to business. Here goes:

-Why do you write?

It allows my crazy imagination to break free from the confines of my brain and scatter all over paper (or a computer screen), sometimes in a pattern that may actually make sense; other times as random and nonsensical as an early morning dream.

-Where do you write? 

If at work, I write at my desk, usually on my laptop which sits on my desk. If at home, I write on my laptop on my lap, just as I'm doing right now!

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
The toss pillows on the couch that I moved to make room to sit down :-)

-Favorite time to write?
Any time at all is good for me!

-Drink of choice while writing?
Coffee in the morning; water during the day; wine at night

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?

I can do either; sometimes I do my best writing while my husband watches TV right next to me. Sometimes my mind just can't tune the distractions out though; but pure silence is so rare in my life, between the noise at work and the noise at home (kids, dogs, a bird, a husband) some type of noise is a constant. Not complaining though :-)

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
It just came to me while lying in bed one night...nothing to tie it to necessarily.  

-What's your most valuable writing tip?
Put your heart into it and don't give up, no matter what anyone tells you! 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Writing Freeway

Just a note on where I am on the writing freeway (I think of it like a freeway; get on, get up to speed, hit traffic, speed up again, come to a complete stop, get off for a while, back on and trying to get back up to speed, wide open and speeding, uh oh, traffic jam ahead...).

I wrote a manuscript in 1986 while I sat at a desk all day being paid to do virtually nothing. I tapped it out on a Selectric II typewriter--which I thought was pretty slick back then--printed it out and sent a proposal and sample chapters via snail mail to some publishing houses. Got a couple form rejections. Got one letter of interest requesting the full manuscript.

Woo hoo!

I send it. A couple months later I get a very nice letter saying my characters aren't developed enough and my story never really gets off the ground.

I am crushed. I am young and do not have the determination to keep trying and definitely don't have the energy to retype the entire 300+ pages. So I put it in a file cabinet and it still sits there today, 26 years later.

Then in 1995 I start a home business and have time to kill. I get the itch to write and start on a YA manuscript (on a pc this time). I finish it, thinking it is pretty good. My workload increases, free time disappears, and the manuscript sits on my hard drive.

I land a job at a regional magazine and become the main feature writer. I start doing freelance articles and get published in national magazines. I forget about writing from the imagination; all my writing comes from facts.

Last year the itch returns. I remember the manuscript. I want to find it, read it and see if I still think it is worth anything. I still have the pc, trouble is, it has gone through three teenagers and guess what? The manuscript has gone missing. I pull out every disc and CD I have stashed in my desk, hoping to find my elusive document. No dice.

Fast forward to June of this year. Work is slow. I am bored with time on my hands, Is that the familiar old itch I'm feeling?

Yes! I go into writing frenzy (wide open and speeding on the freeway) and pound out a manuscript. I am thrilled to find that querying can be done via email these days, as I am an email queen.

Edit, edit, edit, write a query, rewrite a query, write a synopsis, edit some more, rework the query. You know the drill.

Finally on Tuesday, August 27th, I take a brave pill and send out two query letters. I get one quick form rejection. I continue sending the query out the following three days, get one more very nice rejection and that's the extent of it so far. My inbox sits empty.

Every time I open my mail, I hold my breath. If a reply from an agent does happen to be there, I will steel myself to open it. I am confident that one of them will be a request for pages or better yet, a full.

They say to be a writer you must develop very thick skin and a determination that would win wars.

If others can do this, so can I. My gut tells me I have at least one bestseller in me.

Now, where did I put those brave pills?

Friday, August 31, 2012


Welcome to my blog! Like a newborn baby, this blog will undoubtedly grow, learn, mature, share and stumble a time or two. It will most definitely be a work in progress.

So bear with me...let's see where this takes us!