Thursday, November 5, 2015

Exactly what I needed to hear.

The last year has been a roller coaster of ups and downs, triumph and self-doubt.  I have screamed and cried and actually vomited from the overwhelming emotions that have come from this journey to publication. Today brought more tears, but this time a whole different kind.

After participating in #PitchSlam and not making it to the agent round, I decided to get together my submission package and query agents directly.  So I started looking for editors to help me polish up my query and first 10 pages. With my past experience with freelance editing, I was weary about paying someone to look at my stuff.  Luckily, nearly every editor I found this time offered free sample editing.  After trying out a few, I settled on one that fit my style and needs.

For a VERY reasonable fee, she looked over my stuff and VERY quickly sent me back so of the most helpful feedback I've ever received. I have to admit, I was frightened by the amount of notes she had after I'd already been through three full edits. My fear was that since so much had been missed in the first 10 pages, that a LOT more had been missed in the rest of the manuscript.

So I asked Kimberly (that is the new editor I used) if she thought I needed a full critique. Understand, if she says I need one that means a payday for her. Other editors (less scrupulous editors) would have said yes just for the money. But not Kimberly.  Kimberly told me that she could not in good conscience charge me for something she knew I had the skill and drive to do myself. She gave me some amazing notes and suggestions.  She said that she believed I was almost there. 3/4 of the way to the agent stage. She said that after a couple of months of intense revisions she really thought I could get there.  And she offered to take a look at my first 10 pages again once I've finished my revisions.

So I won't be querying this year, but that is not at all a bad thing.  I will be using the tools and suggestions I have now to make this book the absolute best it can be and THEN I will query.

I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have a complete stranger be so supportive. Kimberly didn't have to do that. She could have just given me straightforward notes, with no encouragement at all. She could have let me hire her, taken my money, and lead me to stuff I could have found on my own. But she didn't. She took the time to let me know that I could do this and show me how.  Her exact words to me were "Whatever you choose to do, know I'll be cheering you on!"

Wow! Just Wow!

Friday, May 22, 2015

New path

So my latest report was not what I expected.  Along with some notes, it was suggested that perhaps it was time for me to move on from this story.  Write something else, and someday I'll see that this story was either just a learning experience or something I wasn't ready to write at this time.

As much as I have valued Taryn's opinion and grown from her recommendations, I cannot do this.  Not yet.  I've spent ten years of my life working on this.  I'm not ready to move on.  I'm not ready to give up and write something else (if even temporarily).  I will always be grateful to Taryn for how she  helped me grow as a writer, but for now, I have to go my own way.

So here is the plan:

First, (just because I had the voucher and I really really just wanted to hold it) I printed 2 copies of my book through Createspace.  If anyone is looking for print on demand services, I highly recommend them.  Their tools made it super easy and the finished product amazing.  They're also affordable...even if I'd paid for the books they'd have been under $6 each.

The title is blurred because it's not the real title. I couldn't use the real title if I want to publish later. That is also not the real cover. I don't really have a cover yet.

Next, I'm going to try my hand at a contest.  On June 4th is the next quarterly round of #PitMad.  This stands for pitch madness.  During the 12 hours of #PitMad, hopeful authors pitch their work on twitter (using 140 characters or less).  Etiquette dictates that each writer can posted a 2 pitches per hour for each manuscript they're pitching.  Throughout the day agents will be browsing the #PitMad posts and starting (favoriting) pitches they like.  Writers will then look at that agents submission guidelines and send the desired information the the agent.

In preparation, I have downloaded an excel template that counts my characters.  I will prepare 24 different pitches. 

 I have taken the 4th off work, so I will be at my computer for 12 hours (7am to 7pm CT), but I may still download a tweet scheduler so that I can make sure my tweets are scattered.  

For the next few days I'll be working on my pitches, researching when various agents plan on being online that day, and polishing my query.

After that...we'll see where it goes.  If #PitMad is successful, then I'll have an agent and we'll go from there.  If #PitMad isn't successful then I'll try to figure out why, regroup, and come at it again in a different way next time.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Wishin' and Hopin'

I sent my third draft to Taryn on April 16th.  After a couple big re-writes and a lot of little changes I am really confident with this draft.  It is amazing to see how the story has grown and changed over these three drafts.  My first draft was just barely over 52k and now I'm nearly at 60k.  I have developed characters to a level that I never could have expected.  

I've had a few people asking what's next.  Well, that depends.  If Taryn has more notes for me, then I will start to work on my fourth draft.  If Taryn says "Ok you've gotten this as good as it is going to get," then we begin working on my submission materials.  This is writing my query and making sure my first 10 pages sparkle.

I'm really excited to have come this far.  I've been working on this for so long that it's hard to believe I'm actually getting there.

So for now....we wait....and see what Taryn has to say.