How To Get Published
Okay, I'm not published, but here's how I'm going about it. I am writing an awesome story, and that has to be number one. I will estimate that I have spent two-hundred-fifty hours a month for seven months thus far writing a total of about 200,000 words, including all of the edits and deletions. (The finished MS should be around 100,000-110,000) I write whenever I can. Literally.
Right now, my four year old and two year old are sitting on my bed with me, playing with a deck of 'Go Fish" cards. Yesterday, when all four of the kids were playing on a big inflatable water slide at the neighbor's house, I sat out there and edited a chapter. (Thanks again for the laptop, hubby. Best birthday present ever. Ever ever ever.)
I remember when I was a kid, my grandma would pick a Harlequin Romance out of a big box that she and her sisters passed around, sit on the the swinging bench on the edge of the pond, and watch us swim for eight hours every summer day. I still don't know what she would have done if one of us had gone under. The water was brown with tannic acid from the cypress trees, and she couldn't swim. None of us drowned, so I feel okay about following her example.
Potty training while writing a book is a little more challenging, however. That's all I will say on it.
As the writing improved, I tried to get some home grown criticism, but decided it would be better for my relationship with my family if I sought impartial criticism from...impartial sources. That was tough for me. I honestly felt sick to my stomach waiting for that first crit. Down to the twentieth email notification of a new review, they all made me ill.
I'm over that; now I just get a little excited. There is a whole world of writers out there, and some of them are going to like what I'm doing, and some will have other preferences. They've all been helpful, though, since the different comments have given me new insight into what other people are bringing to the table.
So, do I start a blog, write some things so clever and interesting and helpful that people pass it on and a new weed is born? Perhaps, but I don't expect that.
Mostly I'm writing this because I want to. I have read a lot of blogs on writing: queries, synopses, hooks, POV, even articles as forward thinking as how to get a good contract!
What I hope is that the more contact I have with the writing world, the more I will understand the mindset of agents and publishers, and what they are trying to do. Why some books are published and others are not.
Is there really such a book as "this is fantastic, I couldn't put it down, but the timing is just wrong"? I'm not sure I believe in that. I think that is a nice way of saying "this is pretty good, but I don't think it will sell because it's missing 'something'."
I will not let 'something' elude me! I will be patient, waiting to query until I can read through the MS without having to stop and change anything. Seeing possibility for change is okay, but seeing something that has to change is not.
Here is my anticipated querying process, step-by-step.
1. write query (this is the hardest part. I've done four versions already)
2. send query via email (no stamps needed, no SASE- very good)
3. wonder if the query has arrived (SKIP this step! I love it! I will save three days of obssessive worry right here!)
4. wonder if they've read it.
5. three months later, still wondering if they've read it?
I am hoping that the turnaround on emailed queries is faster than this, as it is purported to be. I have a short list of agents that claim to reply within a day or two most of the time. That is extremely attractive to me. Even if it's a no, I'm okay with that.
My query is developing, just like the book has, and they'll both be ready one day. In the meantime, it has helped me answer coherently when someone asks me what I'm writing, instead of 'it's about this girl, and, um...she has this uh....problem..."
I hope that I am correct in assuming that, though I will be sick about the first round of queries I send out, it will not kill me. Then the second round will not be too bad, and eventually, agents will be just as much 'real people' to me as crit partners are. Real people who should just give my book one little chance. Pretty please?
That's my plan. Editing and persistance.
Excuse me now, I have to go mop...somehow the floor got wet.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
How To Get Published