Friday, July 30, 2010

Agents Response

I would cut and paste the agent's most recent response, but it was short and to the point so I'll keep it brief.

She will be sending me a draft agency agreement by Tuesday and is looking forward to representing me. For some reason, she thinks I'll be fun to work with.

Did I mention that I have an agent in all but signature? And no, I'm not telling you her name until the ink is on the paper. Call me superstitious, but I'm waiting for the fat lady to sing.

Yes I'm excited, elated, happy and freaking out all at the same time. Still waiting for someone to jump out from around a corner and yell, "Psych!". So until that happens, I'm going to be happy and smiling and writing.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Closer and closer. . .

I have been trying to downplay the excitement of having an agent truly interested in my work the last two days. People ask me how the conference went and I say, "Oh, quite well." Clients want to know if I snagged an agent and I say, "Don't know yet, could be a few weeks."

And then I came home, after a long day working in the sun and plotting out in my head the next book in the Gluttony series. And there was an email waiting for me....

The agent has already finished reading Gluttony, has sent it out to an independent reader who also has already finished reading it. That's two people in barely two days that have completely read my book. Here's what the agent said :

I am wrung out from reading this weirdly wonderful novel almost non-stop--well between e-mails, calls and other business. It's not what I usually read--not even close, so who am I to judge. I had an independent reader read it on the condition of absolute confidentiality and he read it quickly, which he admitted to being evidence that it is engrossing.

He wrote "There were a few things (2 or 3) that needed to be explained better, but other than that I thought it was very clever. The connection between the characters names and their vices was helpful. I think showing the Vices and Virtues as real people and exploring the conflicts amongst themselves...not just good vs evil, but amongst the Vices and presumably the Virtues and the struggles within themselves is something many people will be able to identify with. Toni was believable and yes, I would read the next instalment. If the entire story could be told in a trilogy, I'd probably read the third book as well."

Does this mean I have an agent? I have no idea. But I think, it's getting closer. . . .and yes, I am doing the happy screaming, freaking out scaring my animals to death dance! :D

Monday, July 26, 2010

Agent Update

Two posts in one day is a record for me, but I promised an update. I sent an email off to the agent, only moments before my last post. As I was writing my poorly spell checked "Herre we go!" the agent responded, replying that she had really enjoyed our visit at the conference, had read my submissions package which included my first three chapters in between appointments and wanted my full ms as soon as possible. My response was immediate crazyness and that's when my spell check went out the window and I just posted the blog as is.

Thinking that I was on to fame and fortune, I attempted to attach my ms as the agent requested. Which was when BOTH of my computers decided that was too much work for them and please don't ask again cause neither wanted to make ANY attachments for me! Crap! So, thinking the problem may have been my Internet connection, I leapt into my truck, laptop in hand, and sped to the neighbours where I know I can pick up a wireless signal. I had to climb through their fence, laptop under my arm as they have a gate with a keyed entry.

The neighbours dog decided that today would be the day to not like me and he chased me all the way down to the house. Not wanting to interrupt the neighbours, I hopped into their Gator (kind of like a suped up quad), dog still barking and sent off the email post haste.

Ten minutes later, the agent had called me and we had a nice chat about my book, her excitement and how I had come up with some of my ideas. Since then, all has been quiet and I have been working on fleshing out the outline for book number two. Soon as something happens, I will give another update, no matter the time! Just hoping I don't have to dodge the dog any time soon.

Here we go!

So you're all dying to know how the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference went. No one word could even come close to how well it went. I pitched my book 7 times, 5 agents and 2 editors. All of them gave me a card, 3 of those cards came from people who don't give out "mercy cards". As in, you paid for this conference so we should give you a card.

I had one agent in particular, no names mentioned until I know for sure what's going to happen, who not only loved my pitch and me, she took a hard copy submission package from me right there. For those of you who don't go to conferences, that just isn't done due to the volume of paper they would end up with at the end of the weekend. She also told me to stop pitching to the other agents and just go home so that she wouldn't have any competition. Pretty nice feeling!

Both editors requested my full ms and one of them pulled me aside after our meeting and told me that he felt my ms would be a perfect fit for a particular line within his publishing house, so the sooner I could get it to him the better.

The whole weekend was a bit surreal, I had experience after experience where I gave my pitch, ran into agents on the elevator, the hallway, at breakfast and gave them reason's (good ones!) to remember me. If I didn't know better, I would say that it wasn't me there at all.

Gotta go now, getting some more information from an agent down the pipeline. Will updtae later today!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sleepless In Seattle

This will be my last post until next week when I get back from the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference in Seattle. I have two appointments, one with an agent (she's not representing my genre but I'm hoping to get some feedback anyway) and one with an acquisitions editor. I'm excited, nervous and hopeful all rolled into one. I don't know if I'll be able to sleep until after those two appointments. . .

So maybe, just maybe, by this time next week, I'll have some really good news for all of you! Fingers crossed and wish me luck, I'm heading off to the big time. ;D

Friday, July 16, 2010

Query Feedback

First off, I want to say that despite an overwhelming urge to prematurely send off a dozen queries, I held back. Phew! It was dang hard too. Two people I've met on Twitter, @natashaneagle and @darylsedore have been awesome in taking a look at my query letter and giving me some feedback and if you're on Twitter you should look them up.

Then I thought "What about my blog followers?" Most of you haven't read the book, maybe know a little about it because of my big mouth, but otherwise would be a fair group to get some feedback from. Fresh eyes and first impressions can tell you a lot about your query letter. So below is my actual query. Let your criticisms fly, don't worry, I can take 'em!

Dear Mr. Agent

I am looking for representation for my urban fantasy, The Chronicles of Sin: Gluttony. It is complete and professionally edited at 94,000 words. This is a standalone book, though it also has the potential for a longer series.

Toni is a morbidly obese woman whose major talents are eating copious amounts of food and giving phenomenal phone sex, the latter being a fact she’s damn proud of. The weight is another matter all together and out of her control. She’s Gluttony, one of the Seven Deadly Sins, dedicated to the pursuit of filling the world with the compulsion to indulge. Trapped in a vicious circle, she can neither free herself on her own, nor love the life she leads as a Gluttony.

Far from alone, Toni and the other six of the Seven Deadly Sins are bringing the world to its knees, overseen by Dantalion, a Grand Duke of Hell. The status quo is blown to hell when Toni falls in love with Rathburn, a.k.a Wrath, thanks in part to a flying nymph and his crossbow. Between a forbidden love and a little divine intervention from an archangel, Toni finds the strength to fight for the changes she wants in her life. Freedom from Gluttony and fitting into size 6 skinny jeans.

Furious with Toni for weakening his power base, Dantalion lashes out at her. In a bid to control Toni, he seizes Rathburn and drags him to hell, but not before driving a wedge between the two lovers. A wedge Toni can’t ignore, but must, in order to save Rathburn. Toni follows, not only to rescue him, but to find the key to their freedom hidden within hells depths. Tangling with a growing number of demons and monsters, Toni has to face the possibility that she may never be free of Gluttony or be able to have Rathburn, no matter how strong her desires are. And all this while still trying to fit in those jeans.

The Chronicles of Sin: Gluttony is a wild ride of a novel, full of quirky characters, romance and a world free of vampires.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this proposal, I look forward to hearing back from you.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pitch Smitch

Next week I leave for the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference (PNWC) in Seattle for five days. Five days of learning, networking and, *gulp* pitching. Yes, the dreaded “P” word. We writers tend to do better with the written pitch (query letters) than with the oral pitch, funny enough. There’s a reason we’re writers and not actors. The nerves, the sweat. The practicing. Oh, I pity my clients over the next week as they are about to be bombarded with “Shannon’s Practice Pitch” that’s been perfected in the cab of my truck as I travel from stop to stop.

The variations of my pitch change depending on my mood. There’s the “Let’s be serious and make a deal” pitch. The, “I’m a total goof and you’re going to love working with me”, pitch. And then there’s the “I’m so nervous I think I’m going to throw up on the table,” pitch. What I’d really like to be able to accomplish is a nice combination of the three, as I’m sure that no matter how much I practice, I’m going to be nervous.

To make it even more interesting, I’m trying to get my synopsis and query letter revamped in time for the conference. Which means I’m hashing and re-hashing the things, hoping that they will be so fantabulous that there’s no way on earth any sane agent or editor could refuse my ms. I agree, they would be foolish to refuse my work, but alas, it’s been done before. . .

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Inner Critic Be Damned!

I’ve been reading lots of other writer’s blogs lately, amazed at just how dang good they all are! Funny, insightful, imaginative and well written. I love to see what they’re up to and what they’re working on. Sometimes I can totally relate to their struggles, sometimes I know I’m not there yet.
And then my inner critic started to be a jerk. So what am I doing on this blog, what am I accomplishing by putting words on paper? I caught myself before it got too out of control, smacked down that inner critic and realized what I was doing. Something that a lot of writers do, something that a lot of people do. Comparing myself to the other bloggers and writers is a vicious cycle and once it starts, ah crap, its hard to get out of it. It can take away your drive to write, stagnate your muse and leave you wondering if you should even bother with pen and paper anymore.
So here is what I did to shut down my inner critic.

1. There’s always at least one person who’s read your work and knows just how good it really is and for me that’s my brother and my best friend. They both are honest and will tell me my work sucks or if it rocks.

2. I checked out some of the blogs out there again with a different reason. So many people go through the same insecurity issues. We’ve all got them and it’s good to remember that I wasn’t alone.

3. I went back and read some of the requests for partials, reminded myself that I’d gotten at least that far, and just needed to keep at it.

4. Lastly, I wrote this blog. Maybe there is someone out there right now thinking they aren’t good enough, should surrender the pen and just forget about their dreams. Don’t do it. The difficulties and sometimes heartbreak that this business can bring doesn’t outweigh the love of writing, and the moments of accomplishments.

So for those of you who read this, how do you smack down your inner critic (whether it be in writing or anything else)? Baseball bats, tire irons or the good old tar and feathering??

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Me and Rumpelstiltskin

Working on novel # 3, the first being an absolute bust, the second getting very close to publication (Speaking positive here) I'm learning that I don't always learn my lessons the first time through.

Not that I'm thick headed, more like stubborn. I want to believe I can be like all those writers whose plot lines, character development, sub plots and nifty twists at the end of the story get spun out of thin air like Rumpelstiltskin spinning straw into gold. My straw doesn't turn into gold, it's still straw. Dang.

So with the realization that I'm not like all those fancy pants writers, I went back to the drawing board, took my bare bones outline for book #3 and spent a few days fleshing out the background, jotting down ideas and just generally brainstorming. Then I re-wrote the outline, giving it more detail and depth, not just leaving it up to guesswork on how to get from scene 1 to scene 2.

Amazing, but true, I then went on to writing the thing and miracle of miracles, no brain freeze, writers block or freaking straw. I started to spin out some gold. Maybe not 24k, but gold nonetheless. So that's what I learned about outlining, you have to do it, it will help, it will make the writing go easier. And this is only the second time I had to learn this lesson. Not bad, not bad at all.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Sounds good. . . write?

Eee gads. Where to start? Okay, I have two days of writing ahead of me, my husband is off working this weekend which keeps the house quiet and I have a ms that I'm totally in love with and can't wait to get back to. Sounds good right?

I also seem to have a slight addiction to Twitter now that I'm figuring it out and have been searching for writers and such, chatting with them and making friends. Also sounds good, right?

I've sent my completed ms, The Chronicles of Sin: Gluttony, off to the editor for a final polish edit after completing some awesome revisions so I can then send out another round to agents. Still sounds good.

So before the other shoe drops and something happens that I'm no longer writing this weekend, or all my new Twitter friends unfollow me (Yay for my Twitter followers!), or God forbid, my editor tells me she will no longer edit for me no matter how much money I pay her, I'm going to go get writing.

(As a side note, just heard from my editor. She'll keep editing for me, I just have to send her another cheque!)

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Free Editing Contest!

No, I'm not the one doing the editing! But for those of you who are have a ms, finished or close to it, this contest may just be for you. The editor is celebrating some big milestones in her career and is giving back to all us poor and craving editing writers!

So here's the LINK with the way you enter (it's really easy and kind of fun) and as you may have guessed, one of the ways to have an entry is to write a blog about the contest! Actually, you get 5 entries. Hot diggity!