Tuesday, September 2, 2014

ISWG--Perseverance Has Its Rewards--For Once!!!!



It's time for another ISWG post hosted by the illustrious Alex J. Cavanaugh.  This is such a helpful group.  It's a place where a writer can vent  their frustrations about the road blocks they encounter on their journey to publication, without fear of judgment or condemnation. If you're interested in learning more, click on the linky above.     

Last month I experienced some serious query woes.  I was almost ready to throw my novel and the letter over a cliff and say,"To hell with it all." Then, some wonderfully supportive ISWG members talked me off the ledge, so to speak. For that I'm eternally grateful.

 After a few helpings of cookie dough ice cream, I slinked back to the drawing board, tail tucked between my legs and restructured my letter. It took about two weeks of hard work, maybe more, I stopped counting after the umpteenth draft, but I finally completed a well-written query (thanks to input from some of the ISWG members). At least I thought so, but the question still remained, would a professional agree?

There was only one way to know for sure, so I enrolled in a Master Class designed to help writers perfect their queries. The literary agent who taught it, dissected each of the students letters in front of the class. Although his critiques were tactful, he found problems in almost every submission. When my turn rolled around, I sat stiffly in my chair and waited for the ax to fall.   Much to my surprise, it never did. He told the class he wouldn't change a thing about it.  In fact, he said, "This makes me regret that I don't deal with adult genres."

After receiving ten form rejections from agents, it was soooo nice to know that I finally got it right.  Now, I understand the industry is subjective, but receiving that type of validation from an industry professional made my year. I hope this post doesn't sound too braggy, because that's not my intention at all. Instead, I wanted to share some good news for once.  It seems that too many of my posts are filled with woe is me's.  It's nice to write a positive one this month.  Again, I couldn't have found the strength to perfect my query without your support, and FWIW, it means the world to me.  Until next time, happy writing.



Wednesday, August 6, 2014

ISWG-What's A Writer To Do????



Another month has flown by.  Its hard to believe we're already in the throws of August's ISWG.  If you'd like to learn more about this wonderful group, click here: Alex's Blog.  

As many of you are aware, my book has been under review by editors from a couple of publishing companies.  It's been a little over a month since I submitted my novel to them. While waiting for a response, I began the querying process.  After receiving several form rejections from agents, I slinked away, teary eyed and discouraged, wondering "what's wrong with my query?"  I thought I 'd done everything right. I attended a pitch conference where I refined my story, posted the query on several writer's sites, and all the feedback was positive.   So what the heck????

One day, while whining to a fellow writer about my query, she suggested I take another look at Janet Reid's Query Shark.  I went in and read every single letter on her site and noted all her comments.  Come to find out, my letter read more like a synopsis than a query.  Needless to say the last two weeks have been devoted to revisions. I posted the new version of my letter on Query Tracker.  The problem is, it's difficult to get feedback. I crit others works, but they haven't been eager to return the favor. Since the premise of my novel is very different, switching between the sixteenth century Mayan jungle and present day, I need to know if the way I set up the plot/conflict works. It's difficult to lay out a complex book in less than 300 words.  I'm insecure that I'll never strike a balance.  How's a writer to know if it's right or not when she can't get feedback? If I send the revised version out to agents and it's still not catchy enough, then I've just wasted several chances.  What's a writer to do?  Any and all advice would be appreciated.  Until next time my friends, happy writing.

P.S.  I've considered hosting a query review day on my blog.  Basically, anyone who wants to participate can post their query and receive feedback from other writers.  If I can muster enough interest I would love to set it up.  


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Still Waiting


Wow! Time flies.  It's hard to believe we're already in the throws of July's ISWG.  If you'd like to learn more about this wonderful group, click here: Alex's Blog.  

I'm posting a bit late today.  Sometimes life gets in the way.  To begin with, in regard to writing, there isn't much I'm not insecure about this month.  I'm still waiting to hear back from the publishing houses where I submitted my MS.  One of the senior editors was kind enough to let me know she was looking forward to reading it, but that was two and a half weeks ago, and still no word.  I know, I know, no news is good news, or so it's been said.  Yet, it doesn't make the waiting any easier. 

I keep asking myself- Should I interpret the publisher's silence to mean that the book I toiled over for four and a half years isn't good enough?  I realize I have no control over the outcome, but that doesn't quiet the voices in my head. 

 I've cleaned my refrigerator, lined all my kitchen cabinets, organized bedrooms, etc.  I also finished the synopsis for the sequel to my novel and have begun outlining the next one.  This helps some, but...
Anyway, please keep your fingers crossed that I get some closure soon. Until next time my friends in the bloggersphere. Happy writing. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How Do You Deal????




Hello All,
It's time for another Insecure Writer's Group Post hosted by the illustrious Alex J. Cavanaugh.
 A lot has happened since I last blogged. As many of you may know, during a  pitch conference I attended in March, editors from two publishing houses requested my manuscript for review.

 Needless to say, I've been writing my fingers to the bone ever since.  I finally whittled the book down from 127,000  to 95,000 words. Killing my darlings was tough, but now that they're gone, my novel reads better for it.  I finally submitted it on Saturday and am now playing the waiting game.

Although an offer from a publisher would be a dream come true, I also understand that I'm just a drop in a sea of writers.  It's a long shot at best. Yet, I'm not going to let this fact get me down.  Instead,  I've decided to work on the synopsis for the sequel to my story, while I'm waiting for a response from the publishers.  Writing helps me transfer all the negative/worries into something positive.

This got me to wondering how many of you deal with the waiting game?  Do you bite your nails, continually check emails, or do you distract yourself? Essentially how do you deal??? I'd be interested to know.  Until next time, happy writing, my friends.    
 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Hope For New Authors




 
This group meets on the first Wednesday of each month.
 
Purpose: To allow writers to express their doubts and concerns in an encouraging and supportive setting.  
 
If you're interested in learning more about this group, click on the following link:Alex J. Cavanaugh   

Hello All,
It's time for another ISWG post. I realize this is the A-Z challenge, but I've decided to ignore convention and share some news which I believe will benefit many of you.

Last week I attended the Algonkian Pitch Conference in NYC.  It was an expensive trip, but I found it was money well spent. The host and moderator, Michael Neff, genuinely wanted our projects to succeed.  On the first day, he dissected each of our plots and story arcs until they were down to the bare bones.  Although his critiques were tactful, they were also brutally honest.  Many of us had a tough time accepting that our stories weren't the masterpieces we thought them to be.  

The following day, the group had an opportunity to practice their pitches on editors from big name publishing houses.  I tanked on the first two attempts, but after the umpteenth rewrite, the third time was the charm. Two editors requested my manuscript.  Though this is great news, my novel still has to pass muster. According to Mr. Neff, impatience is a new author's worst enemy. I intend to take my time and ensure the MS is polished until it shines before submitting it.

Not only did I learn a lot from the conference, but I also met some incredibly talented people. I will likely keep in touch with them for the rest of my life. We even formed a private FB page.  I am now in the throws of  major edit.  It will probably take a month or two to get through it, but in the end, I hope my efforts will pay off.  For those of you wishing to publish a commercially viable novel, I highly recommend this conference.  Until next time, my friends,  Happy writing.  



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Waiting Game


    Insecure Writer's Group, hosted by Alex Cavanaugh

Hello Everyone,
This session couldn't have come at a better time for me.   As many of you know, after four and a half years of developing my novel, I finally finished it.  Although this was a major accomplishment, the one thing I didn't share was that I had less than two months to edit it.  Why you ask? Well, because I wanted to enter it in the Amazon Break Out Novel Contest.

Throughout the writing process, each of my chapters had undergone at least ten edits.  Between submitting them to members of my writer's group and online sites, like Critters and Scribophile, I had plenty of opportunities to correct errors.  In fact, there were times I spent at least a month and a half on one chapter.  I know this sounds crazy, but it made for less clean up at the end.  The one thing I hadn't done was edit the novel in its entirety.  Needless to say, I worked about sixty hours a week over the last month and a half, trying to get my MS. up to par.

By the end, I felt confident enough to submit the finished product.  The problem is, at the last minute I learned that the first round of judging was based on the pitch.  Guess I should have read the entry requirements a little closer, because I wound up scrambling around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to compose a pitch.  Now, I'm insecure that the one I submitted is wrong.

At least that's the impression I got when I submitted it for critique on Scribophile.  I received feedback like, "Epic, Wow! and This is something I'd like t read," but then was told it was too dense. Before you say it, I now realize that I should have submitted it for review before the contest, not after.  Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time left to do this.  I've since improved the pitch, (talk about locking the barn door after the horse got out) but now, I have to wait until March 18 to find out I was rejected.  It's one thing to think you're a drop in a sea of writer's and a whole other to KNOW it.

To make matters worse, I also included the ABNA pitch in my application to the Algonkian Pitch Conference in NYC.  By some miracle I was accepted.  I'm still scratching my head wondering how that happened, LOL.  But now, I'm nervous as a cat.  This is where the rubber meets the road, reality check time. I'm insecure that I won't be good enough. Intellectually, I understand that rejection is part of the business, I even expect it, but I don't have to LIKE it.  Also patience has never been one of my strengths.  I hate the waiting game.  Even though I'm 99.9-percent certain I didn't make it in the ABNA, that one-percent chance has left me biting my nails with anticipation.

The one thing that keeps me half way sane, is knowing there are others who have experienced the same insecurities as me.  This said, I could really use some words of wisdom about now.  Any and all pointers on how to handle the stress would be  greatly appreciated.  Until next time, my friends.  Happy writing.    

 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Journey of a Thousand Miles



It's time for February's submission for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. For those interested in learning more about membership, please click on his name.

Confucius once said, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

As many of you know, my thousand mile journey began four and a half years ago when I took on project novel. Along the way there were times when I became so frustrated that I wanted to toss my computer in the trash and run screaming for the hills. The hours of writing, re-writing then writing again were soooo daunting that I often asked myself If the novel was worth the effort.  Well, I can honestly answer that question with an emphatic YES!!!!

 I finally wrote "The End," on my draft last month. There is something to be said for seeing a complex project through to completion. To some extent that, in and of itself, is the reward.  

You see, No matter how my journey ends, regardless if I become published or not, I can take pride in knowing I took that step and I completed the journey of a thousand miles. I'm now a stronger person because of it.  Until next time my friends, happy writing.