25 words or fewer, posted in the comment section!
Yes, there is a prize! It's a great book called Susie's Senior Dogs!
How long do you have to enter?
And it's too late now, sorry! (It ended without notice, sorry)
As a rule, publishers and agents want only previously unpublished work; I get that.
But, like everyone else, I'm a special snowflake!
I have a collection of children's stories that is being provided to a small (~30) group of friends. This edition will not be publicly available. It will not be advertised.
Does this disqualify the book in most agents' and/or publishers' eyes? If not, would I mention the private edition, and if so, at what point in the process?
A Special Snowflake Thriving in the Texas October Heat
So, here's the deal. I live in a fairly rural area, but am lucky enough to have a decent writers group nearby. This group is one of the largest in the state and as a part of its function, acts as an independent publisher for many of the authors involved with the group. Aside from publishing an anthology of work from authors "with ties to the state," I have seen several of my ...peers... publish their work through this imprint.
I hesitate on the term peers for two reasons: First, I am the youngest member of the group by roughly 25 years. Second: Unlike the other members of this group, I am much more interested in trade publishing than in self-publishing, specifically because of your blog post on some hard numbers. and this post also on sales figures.
That being said, one of my fellow writers was excited to report at our last meeting that he was close to selling 500 copies of his book. An accomplishment, to be sure, but a far cry from the 20,000 copies referenced above. During that conversation, the group turned to me and asked when I'd be ready to publish my work.
While the idea of seeing my work in print excites me, I'm not ready to jump into something just because I can. With that in mind, I asked the head of the group (the woman in charge of the imprint) whether she had a way of tracking book sales, or (more importantly) what numbers would a trade publishers see if they were to look at the books out group publishes?
The short answer was, she didn't know. The book my fellow writer is selling does have an ISBN, but is printed through Amazon's CreateSpace, and most of his sales are to local book stores, book fairs, or individuals at other events.
Are these numbers a trade publisher would be able to find later on if he eventually wanted to sign with an agent and ultimately a publisher? I told the group I'd do some research, and your blog was the first place I headed.
I am writing to tell you the denouement of my quest to publish my first novel.
To briefly recap: I wrote to you when I was going to a conference to get my query/first pages critiqued. I took the advice of you and the candid Reiders and sat there with my mouth shut and took notes. I revised based on suggestions and queried my heart out on this, my third novel. The rejections I received for that book, added to the ones for my first two, totaled somewhere around 200. (Give or take another hundred or so but who's counting.)
But. I learned a lot, and applied it all to novel number four's query. Novel four won an award for unpublished authors. I revised again anyway. I queried agents, and I signed with an amazing one. And this past week, the announcement for my two book deal went out in Publishers Weekly so that must mean it's real! (Book one is a YA high school political reimagining of "Dear Mr. Henshaw" currently titled "Dear Rachel Maddow").
So though I have yet to have enough nerve to post in the comments (there is some irony in that I realize), know that I religiously read this blog and follow the consider the council of the commenters. Thank you, thank you, thank you Janet and to the community you have created. If I have one piece of advice for my fellow authors--never stop writing.
I've been wanting to send this email for a while, but I just never knew how because I didn't want to be presumptuous. Your post today about anxiety and your community struck a chord, however, and I thought it was probably time, as I owe a lot to you.
I wanted to let you know I have a new book coming out soon. Part of the reason I've been hesitant to say anything is because it's self-published (I like to call it indie published because I have my own company and hire out for things like cover and interior design), and self-publishing still seems to have a poor reputation, despite the amount of work and care that goes into it.
I'm proud of this book. I'm more proud of it than anything I've ever done in my life because there was a time when I was physically and mentally unable to write due to neurological issues, and I fought for every word. And I'm proud of it because it has continued to push me forward through recovery. I was telling my mom yesterday that if this was the last book I'd ever write (it's decidedly not, but if it was...), then I would be satisfied because everything I could ever want to say is wrapped up in this book.
I don't know if you remember, but about six months ago, I reached out to you because I was really struggling with whether to go the traditional publishing route or to self-publish. I'd received some full requests and complimentary words from agents, but nothing was catching--it felt like my work didn't belong anywhere, and I didn't know what to do with that. That inner voice kept telling me that even if I did land an agent and a traditional deal, I still wanted to do it my way because this book is so personal and I didn't want to wait for it to be available. My ego and ambition wanted the glory; my heart and soul wanted to be able to help people, for it to mean something on that level.
That's when I reached out to you, and you gave me perhaps one of the greatest pieces of advice I've ever received, wrapped in a lesson I'll never forget. You said that there will be people who need this book, that in the middle of the night, when they feel alone because of their illness, they'll find my book and know that someone understands. You said--and I'll never forget this--that I'd be lighting candles in a dark world.
It made me cry then, and damnit, it's making me cry now. Because that's all I've ever wanted out of life--to be able to heal people of their pain. And now, in even a small way, I'm able to do that. With this book, I feel like I've followed a personal path that has helped me heal, that will hopefully help others heal, while staying true to myself and my purpose, and I'm more proud of that than anything else. And I owe you so much for it. Because I wouldn't have gotten here without you. You helped reignite that flame in me that had grown dim, and now I feel like I have a place in the world again, when I was once doing little more than existing. This book gave me my hope back; you gave me back my belief in myself.
I want to follow proper agent-writer etiquette, and I've rummaged through many a Google search trying to find the answer to this question:
Let's say you are lucky enough to receive more than one offer of rep from an agent. Happiness and joy! And you click with both Agent A and Agent B, but ultimately choose Agent B.
Two years go by, and the manuscript that got you the offers doesn't get picked up, but it also doesn't get shopped around much either. Only three editors see it before Agent B gives up on your manuscript, and since you weren't an easy sale, Agent B seemingly gives up on you. You and Agent B part ways.
Is there any hope in contacting Agent A and hoping for rep, or is said manuscript (and said agent) a lost cause because of the rejection?
I'm not sure if this is an appropriate question for your blog. I doubt there's even really an answer.
I've come to a hard realization that I'm not a good storyteller. I'm a pretty decent writer, though. In my search for ways to improve my storytelling, I've recently come upon a blog (redacted) that has given me some valuable insight that I've been missing. It's given me a new way to look at stories, new suggestions for studying how they tick. In two days, I've felt noticeable progress in how I look at stories.
But sweet chocolaty godiva, Janet, this guy is condescending. At least once every blog post I've read, he reminds his readers he has The Answers, and if you don't listen to him, you'll never be published. Or you'll be converted by the sheer volume of rejections that plague your email inbox. Or you're hysterical.
Why can't people admit there is more than one way? What does it hurt this guy if people disagree with him? I'll fully admit I'm getting valuable insight out of what he has to say, but none of the good came from his threats to listen to him or consign my writing career to my parents' refrigerator door. It's difficult to learn with your teeth bared.
|Yup, that's my beloved Mer-Bear|
Everything seemed apropos that morning. Almost everything. Sam in his usual overalls. Sun creating a golden hue over the llama farm. Autumn air crisp. Latte in Sam’s hand?
“Ma, maybe llama farming isn’t for me.”
“But with your brother running off to Africa, that leaves just us to tend the farm.”
“Yeah, Jed’s off photographing the Serengeti--me, I’m stuck mucking llama dung.”
That evening we heard them. Sam took off running for the gate, yelling. “Wait! Wait! Wa--” Llamas stampeded.
Sam’s head isn’t in this. Must have forgotten the latch.
I’ve been thinking about trying something new myself.
Do. Re. Do re ti me.
-Sound of Music crap.
Solfège. Shut up.
I sketch notes with my Bic. At least they didn’t throw all my pens away. Sharp nibs only.
It’s for him. Valentine’s Day. Handmade gift.
-Gross. You wanna give him a gift, go sexy. Get Lipo.
Stop. It’s platonic.
-You wish, whore.
That better be a joke.
What did you do?!
The song’s crumpled. I take the pill hidden under my pillow. Stare her down in the window. Her smugness blurs.
“Mrs. Thomas? Time to see Dr. Drake.”
“Ok. Can I bring his gift?”
CAT: Computerized Axial Tomography.
WALL: Wilson's Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
POST: Prognosis Or Status? Terminal.
SPLAT: Shock, Pleading, Learning, Acceptance, Tranquility.
TIME: Today I'm Mostly Exhausted, Though Otherwise Lately I'm Very Excited.
Post time. You sit resolutely at your computer, you'll get a good start on fulls.
First book; "SELACHOPHOBIA", you snicker and scroll down to #2: "NYCTOPHOBIA". Seems to be a phobic trend.
Outside, lightning and thunder collude with the flickering streetlights; you jump.
Rain splatters on the iron fire escape with determination. The wind, insistent and guttural with admonishment moans,
Your sphinx-like loner cat, green eyes glowing, sits fixated on the blank wall behind your desk.
The night intrudes as the electricity convulses into obscurity.
Decision's made – chocolate, vodka, "Pride and Prejudice" and Somniphobia.
“Catatonic?” I ask.
“Nothing as serious as that,” Dr. Wallace says. “Focus on the fact the epilepsy is alleviated.”
That’s a helpful hint (I cling to those). Trace the timeline then and the only conclusion is that it must be post-surgery.
“In the 1950s it was cutting-edge treatment,” he continues.
Wet-clay thoughts splatter and drip away.
A man watches me in a white coat. Dr. Wallace? Must be. Context (I cling to that). The desk calendar reads April 8th, 1978. A precious clue.
“Catatonic?” I ask.
Tomcat, polecat, Time cover splat.
Wall Street Journal, locker room, frat.
Wheezing, flailing. Give up the ghost.
“Wrap it up,” calls The Washington Post .
Dry, emergency rations clatter into my bowl. Clearly some catastrophe is imminent. New kid acts like he doesn't care, gobbling his food and splattering chow everywhere. After breakfast, he joins me at my bathroom post when he's supposed to be patrolling the outside wall.
When the apocalypse comes, and perhaps if it doesn't, I'll be forced to eat him. He'll taste of the unseemly things he snacks upon, but I'll not suffer his loutish ways for all time. I clout his head as my aide exits the bathroom. Forgetting her place, she reprimands me. Another course for the apocalypse menu.
“Tell us your name,” said PossumSleepingTruckDriver flatly, adjusting himself on his heavenly cloud.
“Why won’t you tell us your name?” This from GoosePlanePropeller, her formerly majestic honk now a faintly shattered squawk. “I told you mine.”
“I don’t care to.”
“You think you’re better than us, don’t you?” PigSummerBarbecue said crisply.
HounddogBearTrap scowled. “She don’t look no better’n us.”
“Maybe it’s not your business.”
“Everything’s our business!” shouted FruitflyVinegarBowl. “Tell us!”
“Not everybody falls for peer pressure, you know,” sniffed LemmingCliffBottom.
“How about you try guessing?” And CatSplatPostTimeWall’s eyes swept across the cloud, laughing as silence fell.
Joe walloped me good this time but I was grateful he didn't splatter me across the floor.
“No cat scan needed,” the doctor said, examining the gash on my brow. Its fresh mark crossed over an old one.
“Take Advil. Ice it for the swelling.” he finished, eyeing me.
“Do you feel safe at home?” the doctor asked abruptly. My eyes cut to Joe, seated near me. A domestic violence poster behind him.
“I live alone,” I replied and turned to go.
The doctor watched her leave as she came, alone.
I sent a query to an agent this morning and received a request for the full and a synopsis this afternoon. I'm through the roof, but also panicking. The full isn't an issue, but I don't have a synopsis. I have a full of the same manuscript out to another agent currently and they never requested one, so it just hasn't come up. My question is, do I write a slap-dash draft and send as soon as possible, do I respond and explain that I don't have one but that I'd be happy to draft one, or do I have some time to get back to her? I don't want to commit a rookie mistake that costs me my chances, and I don't know the etiquette when this happens.
"No questions! Ask Ed."
"He approached me on the corner of desperation and sinless with an irresistible proposition."
No questions asked: no questions to answer. Instead, they perpetually linger, unspoken in the spaces between.
No questions asked. It’s the best return policy. I hate the judging looks when they ask why, or what’s wrong with it, or act like I should have kept a receipt.
No questions suits me. Hassle free. But I do worry about regret. What’s the opposite of buyer’s remorse?
I thought I wanted it at the time. A drunken impulse. But I can’t afford it. It’s better off with a different owner.
That’s what I tell myself as I set this one down in a cradle at the hospital’s baby safe haven. It’s for the best. No question about it.
No questions asked.
No “What’s the average length of admission?”
No “Will I at least get a private room?”
Mama was a journalist, for pity’s sake. For forty-two years she asked questions. Thousands of questions. Started off questioning local authorities and residents in her small town. Then big city folk. Then world leaders. And I followed in her footsteps. I’m trying to, anyway. But not to this. Not this. I couldn’t bear it. She couldn’t bear this. If she knew.
If more of her were left, I know the question she’d be asking now: “How can you leave me here?”
No questions asked at the scene.
One tiny room with a prejudiced mirror.
Two officers for the interrogation.
Three hours before I ask for a lawyer.
Four months to get to trial.
Five gunshot wounds, point-blank to the face.
Four hours for the jury to deliberate.
Three decades behind bars before I get the needle.
Two kids, abused, desperate, did the only thing they could to protect themselves.
One innocent man takes the fall.
No. Questions Asked: 5
No. Clear Answers Received: 0
Q1- 911. What is the nature of your emergency?
Q2- Understood. What's your location, ma'am?
Q3- I assume you cannot speak freely?
Q4- Are you in immediate danger?
Q5- Last question. Does he have a gun?
A1- No, I don't really have time for a survey.
A2- I thought our landline was on the no-call list, but if there's a prize...
A3- Beats me. Maybe... once a week?
A4- Come now, don't be rude.
A5- That's no defense. She and I always--I've had enough. *click*
No. Vehicles Sent: 3
The only way this could be more fun is if it were in color. I love this! I love the subtlety of Em Dash. And assterick is hilarious.“No?” Questions asked.
“Ms. Mark timidly votes against banishment.”
“Mr. Point strongly in favor. Mr. Dash?”
Em answered, “Yes, because -”
“Because the press don’t use it!” Apostrophe interrupted.
“Less confusion. I vote no.”
“Even with Mrs. Period’s vote, the Oxford Comma is officially banished.”
Mr. Period replied, “I am disappointed with Mr. and Mrs. Parentheses, Hyphen and Semicolon.”
“I ain’t part of the Parentheses family; you assterick!”
“Ms. Mark, your girl and you can go to Wite-out.”
“Who blabbed about my affair with Mr. Period?????”
Pandemonium erupted. A revote was quickly cast. All were happy again.
Well, almost all.
“No questions asked?” I said. “Not even one?”
“Nope.” He looked pleased with himself, like when he went mute after I asked if I was beginning to look fat.
“So, let me get this straight. This is our fifth anniversary of dating, third living together. After a romantic dinner you take me to Lover’s Leap, tell me how much you love me and how excited you are about the big change about to take place in our lives. Still no questions, not even one?”
One question answered.
Raising a baby on your own can’t be that bad.
No questions asked?
-No; questions asked.
Still, I'm sure you hid it well.
-Still I'm sure you hid it. Well?
Of course! We agreed the diamond belongs to me.
-Of course "we" agreed? The diamond belongs to me!
What, is this a twinge of conscience I hear? A laugh!
-What is this? A twinge of conscience! I hear a laugh.
You'd better not have brought the police--
-You'd better not! Have brought the police!!!
You've been found out?
You've been found. OUT!
|This is Cedar, my gaunt, 19 lb Maine Coon cat. He has a sister, however she thinks photos are très undignified.|