Tag Archives: publishing

Time for Action

20 Jan

Nobody who has ever written thought that writing is easy. When on top of the desire to write, you also have a desire to get published, it’s even harder. It’s like climbing a mountain while being pulled back on an invisible string every now and then. Every finished novel is a personal victory, but life and rejection can pull you back, further away from your dream.

I read about it so many times, it’s part talent, part luck to break into the industry. Well, I think the luck I ordered got lost in the mail. I’ve been taking an unwanted break with publishing because I started a new job two years ago, but now I’m querying a novel that I hadn’t gotten around to querying yet. It’s a novel that’s inspired by the Adams family and is about a woman who can see how everyone dies everytime she touches them. She lives a secluded life, therefore, but then something prompts her to visit a nearby town and she gets entangled in the mysterious house on the hill. Her life is turned upside down and she makes friends and enemies. The novel also has a romance that makes even me swoon. It’s a story I’m very passionate about. I’m so happy I can finally query it.

It’s important to keep writing and keep trying. It’s also important to have hope, but that part gets a bit harder each time. Self-doubt is an ugly monster that you don’t want under your bed. But it also makes me realise it’s time for action. I’ve gotten a hang of my job, so I can afford to focus on my writing now. What a relief, because I hated not having an outlet for my creativity. I ordered a few books on writing (like I don’t have enough) that are bit more motivational and less about technique, as well as on how to try and actually experience success with your novel. It still doesn’t make me lucky, but it will happen one day. I just wish that day was here sooner than later.

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#PitchWars

15 Aug

Please skip this paragraph if you already know what #PitchWars is. Make yourself comfortable if you don’t. Here’s a cup of virtual tea and a fluffy pillow to lean against. Pitch Wars is a competition that allows you to pick up to five mentors to send your query letter and first chapter to. If you’re lucky you will get chosen as their mentee. This means that they’ll read your entire manuscript and make it all shiny and awesome-r. They will help you get published and who knows? You might gain a friend.

There is something special about scrolling down the list of mentors, reading about them one by one and writing down the names of the ones that make you go: “AAAH. YES.” Never mind if your pet dragons look at you weird for bouncing up and down in your seat as you high five your characters in your head. It feels kind of special that these people WANT YOU to CHOOSE THEM. I mean, when you’re querying agents you do the same, but it feels different. It feels more like standing close to the edge of a cliff. This, however, is a competition where you’re aware of just how many other people are in the same boat as you. It brings you closer to these people and makes you feel less like it’s you against the world.

Also, there is less pressure somehow, because you know IF you get chosen you will get help. You will get better. There needs to be enough potential and a click, sure, but somehow the demands made of you feel less…demanding. It’s just difficult to understand the world of publishing when you’re not yet in it. Who knows how many mistakes you’re making without being aware of it? It is such a gift, therefore, to meet someone who will take your under their wing and open your eyes to a new world where you might achieve something great.

Bring out your manuscripts and most of all, your courage and join the PITCH WARS. You know you want to…
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Don’t Give Up!

15 Jan

Agents are part of our big dream to becoming a published author, because they help make that dream happen. That is why it is also a stressful part of being a writer. Rejection is tied to that process like an ugly coloured ribbon. That doesn’t have to mean it is necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on how you look at it. What people say and don’t say matters. It can tell you a lot. That is why every rejection is also feedback on your story. And yes, that can be scary for some. But feedback is good, it helps you become better!

There are different types of rejections and I can only draw on my own experience here. There is always the standard rejection, but that one usually goes something like this: “It isn’t for me.” Which tells you two things. One: you contacted the wrong agent. And two: it wasn’t poorly written. Probably. This takes a bit of a leap of faith, because nothing bad is being said about your work, nor can they really judge it, because it isn’t their cup of tea to begin with. However, I like to think that if something is utterly poorly written, they would have mentioned it. It only takes a few words to say: “I’d have another look at it if I were you before getting in touch with another agent.” Okay, quite a few words, but you catch my drift.

Other reactions depend on your story and the agent you’ve contacted but so far I’ve heard: “I can’t identify with the voice.” This was funny because these were American agents, whereas the British agents I had contacted both mentioned they loved the voice and the story, but they didn’t love it enough to take me on. What I took away from that was that with that story I had to stick with British agents, though I did once contact an American agent a while later and she said she did like the voice, but again didn’t love the overall story enough to go for it. That’s something I heard a lot and did actually make me feel happy. There is nothing particularly wrong with the story except that they didn’t fall in love with it. It’s a bit like finding The One or a house. You have partners or houses you really, really like but not so much as that you want to commit to it fully. You want to be in love. There is some degree of luck involved in the agent hunting process. That is an important thing to remember.

Other things I heard was that it was a close call, but they couldn’t really afford to take on a new writer/client or they already had clients that wrote similar genres and were actually looking for something different. Comments like that are mainly bad luck. It’s a game about money and sometimes the timing’s off. That’s why I like how agents always add an encouraging line, because it tells you that you’re not sucky and you should keep looking. Which is exactly my point. Don’t give up!
Someone is bound to fall in love with your story, and in the meantime you keep writing. Perhaps there is another story that will have more luck and your talents will have improved by then because like wine, writing gets better with age.

If an agent comments on your writing in a negative way, leave it for a while and look at it later with fresh eyes. You could disagree with them, but they do know their stuff and it’s always smart to keep an open mind. Act like you’re already an author and stay professional and enthusiastic about writing. Keep going and enjoy fishing for agents. You only need one bite!

Resolutions of a Weird Writer

29 Dec

It still feels like 2010 so why are we already tumbling into 2014? Think about it, next year it will be 2015! Anyway, let’s try not to realise too much that time is flying by faster than a pet dragon. Today’s blog post was a request regarding my new resolutions to do with writing. This is a bit difficult for me, but it made my pet dragons purr, so I’ll give it a go.

Resolutions of a Weird Writer:

  1. Despite my busy life that tugs at me from all corners of the room, I shall write at least once a week and it shall be glorious. (Not the writing itself, but at least the act of writing.)
  2. I shall get a literary agent this year. Even if I have to clone myself, go back in time, leave my Non-Mini Me to become a literary agent and return to my time, just in time (ha!) to get taken on as a client by her. Me. Her. Well, you know what I mean.
  3. I shall finish all my To-Write stories on my To-Write list. Really, I will. Truly. Stop narrowing your eyes at me. I will!
  4. I will start writing in my notebooks, with all my favourite pens instead of savouring them (because they are too pretty) and petting them when nobody is looking. What?
  5. I will get my teaching license. And yes, that does have to do with writing, because once I’ve got my second MA, then I’ll be able to write until I pass out. Happily, of course.
  6. I will get a literary agent. Or did I already mention that?
  7. I will finish polishing my cosy mystery.
  8. I will read more this year. Like a glorious beast I shall devour those books one by one.
  9. I will join a critique group. It would be so much fun (once I have the time) to have a gang of loyal and honest writer friends who enjoy my work and love to pour criticism over my stories. And I will have to enjoy their stories, as well. I don’t like the I’ll-read-your-story-if-you-read-mine thing because then it’s a chore. And I already have enough of those.
  10. I WILL get a literary agent. (I have to mention it three times, it’s lucky.)

Now, I’ve told you mine, but what are yours?

 

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Ninja Readers

17 May

Ah, the sweet sound of applause in your head. The euphoric feeling that settles around you like a warm, comfortable blanket. The proud grin that you can’t seem to shake, even when you walk your dog and pick up his doodoo. No, nothing can stop you from feeling on top of the world when you’ve typed THE END at the end of your story. It felt like a very long labour and you’re both sad and elated. Sad that your precious baby has to face the harsh world on its own and elated that you’ve managed to drag a whole story out of your head and onto your laptop screen.

And so you call all arms, even though you have all your arms, and request some ninja readers (beta-readers, but my term sounds cooler) to read your final version and comment. With flushed cheeks and trembling fingers you send out your story and hope for the best. Before, you thought the hard part was over, but this is the hard part. It’s FREAKING scary. I always realised it would be scary, but I never thought I’d compare it to jumping out of a plane with no parachute. And I’m afraid of heights.

Still, I’ve been diligent, worked hard and have been well prepared for this battle. An MA in Creative Writing has taught me how to deal with criticism. As well as, you know, write creatively. But that was in the safety of a loving classroom as opposed to the jungle out there. Writing is art and art is personal. The rules change, you change them, or someone else. Someone will love your work, someone will hate it. We’re all different and that’s okay. All I know is that this book wouldn’t have been there if it wasn’t for me and that means nobody could have written it but me. Somehow, that’s comforting. It helps that so far I’ve heard good things from my ninja readers (and only one person talked to me like I was a four-year-old). No fundamental mistakes, only a few differences of opinions, but that’s why you need to sort out for yourself if what someone tells you is their opinion or a structural error on your part. I guess I just have to go for it and have a little faith in myself. A literary agent was already interested in the idea and that’s a good start, now I just have to use my fear to push me forward, instead of hold me back, even if it’s right over the edge of the cliff, without knowing how deep it is and if there is a giant bouncing house at the bottom. Just in case, I’m taking my shoes off.

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