On Safari

Our ammunition is the query, synopsis (of various lengths), and  first pages or chapters of our book. Our bullets are stuffed into either an envelope or email and our hopes ride on them finding the target and bagging an agent.

Picture of unseen person wearing a safari hat and binoculars peeking through grass

Yet how does one make their bullets powerfully enough to hook that agent’s overwhelmed eye? Well, isn’t that the book-contract-question? If I knew the magic recipe I’d have done it already. So it’s back to the basics.

The two most important things to snag an agent:

  • R.I.F
  • content.

R.I.F. (Reading Is Fundamental): Search for agents and only submit to the ones who want your type work. Did you write a killer spy novel but blindly submitted it to a romance agent? Boo on you. Be respectful of the agent’s time and yours. Read what they want, how they want to be submitted to and then follow their wishes.

Simple, yes but don’t get your material thrown off the to-do list because you didn’t feel like cutting your synopsis down from the ten-page monster you are in love with down to the requested two-page one.

Content: Again a no-brainer yet you can’t over state the obvious. Clean up your work. Get feedback from people who are actually submitting and doing the work. Befriend someone who is a grammar stickler. Ask for help. Always look for ways to be a better writer.

So while it’s tough being on safari and polishing your guns for that big hunt over and over again (and you feel like everything you write is rubbish), have faith. And if you don’t have faith in your work, keep writing, learn how do better, and find support around you to keep going when the brushes seems to snare you.

Remember one of the best author out on an agent hunt story I’d hear was Kathryn Stockett. You know her little book called The Help. She had over 60 rejections letters from agents and it took her over 5 years to finally down a live one. But she decided that her book and her work were worth it. So don’t get too discouraged just keep reloading and putting yourself out there, in the hunt.

Shh, did you hear that twig snap? They must be close; look alive and release the hounds.

Tallyho,

Melissa

Is it just me that the thought of eight books coming out in six months is crazy? I mean even Nora Roberts said she can crank out an entire book in 45 days. So that’s a today of eight books in a year not six months.

Yet despite the numbers there are a few authors that are churing out double that amount, how are they doing it? Co-authoring. That’s right. Now there is a difference between co-authoring and ghost writing but this one seems like it’s skirting the line.

I’m not against a good paring of authors to pen a book but when you mix one best seller with a fairly new name and the style seems no where near the best seller’s work, who’s work is it really? Is this a good thing for the non large font author? Yes and no.

Yes, because this brings the authors level of exposure up and expands their reach. No, because if the big name’s brand/style is what the readers are looking for they may never try their writing again. But the upside for the best selling author that they get money from all those books with their name on it. I’m not against the co-authoring approach but they only need to be conscience of the reader’s reaction.

So if a few of my favorite authors happen to be interested, I’m available to collaborate.

Always helpful,

Me

A Book for Two

Perfection Devil

Nothing like waking up on a Tuesday (or for most people Monday) and realize that your to-do list never was culled. Oh, no, when you weren’t looking the dang thing bred like rabbits. Now with my 40 hour work week starting, I don’t have time to chase down the fury little rodents and get stuff done.

Yet in my defense, you perfectionist ego self that is nagging at me, I managed to finish reading three great books. So I may not have got more words on my work in progress done but I’ll get to it. Maybe this weekend was to allow me to take time away from the story so I can come back refreshed and ready to make the story move.

I know I am very hard on myself so I’m cultivating ways to let myself off the hook about my own personal deadlines. Though that may be my wish, every time I say something about being “nice” to myself or to “cut” myself some slack, in my ears all I can hear is a little dark voice telling me that I’m copping out, I’m lying to myself, and that I’m a hypocrite since I push others to complete their goals by sticking with them.

I must be gentle with myself because I need to keep me filled up with hope, love, and joy for me so I can overflow such sentiments to those I see, speak, and interact with every day. Deep in my heart that rings true. Because that is how I want to be treated and if I can’t stomach giving those responses to me, how do I plan on receiving the same things from others?

Sparkles and Love,

Me~lissa

 

 

Mechanical Troubles

Another week gone by and I’ve failed to make my word count goal I had set for myself. Well, I have two options degrade myself for my slothful performance or I could take stock of where I am and adjust my goal. Only one is helpful but it is harder to do the latter.

So how can I cope with my falling short of my goal?

  • Know that I will fail some days. It’s natural so be kind to myself.
  • Know I can’t fall behind because it’s my plan. Cut myself a break.
  • Know why I didn’t make the old goal. Was the original goal too difficult? Am I striving for perfection? Once I assess make the next goal reflect my findings.

Even if I didn’t make my small goal I am still on my path to achieve it. View it as a filling up of my world allowing me to come back to the task refreshed. Then hit it. Carve the time out of my schedule to do the work. If it’s important enough for me to be angry for missing it rededicate myself to it. It’s my dream if I don’t make time for it, who will?

Love,

The Struggling Writer

Secret Sauce Treasure Hunt

My little linear mind loves to make goals, to-do lists, and the such. But when it comes to this creative game called art, my neat little organizational mind needs to go into hibernation. The lists can suck fun and creativity right out my ear. So how can I make a satisfying meal for both sides of my brain?

I haven’t found the secret sauce ingredient yet but here’s what I’ve found thus far:

  • Set goals with creative things as my reward.

(For example, I wanted to start reading the long In Death series by J.D. Robb but I know once I start a series, I will inhale the whole thing without coming up for air. If I did this I would get through the series but have no writing done of my own to show for it. SO now once I finish a large task while working on my book I get a treat; I get to read the next book in the series. Win-win, in my book (yes, pun was totally intended).)

  • I must open the document up every time I’m at my computer. And if at the end of the day I’ve haven’t done anything on it, I’m OK with it because I at least opened it and maybe reread a few paragraphs.

(Sometime it’s good enough to allow my mind to mull things around in my subconsciousness without me trying to strong arm it to do something.)

  • It’s fine if I watch cartoons, comedies, and do things that bring me joy instead of writing that day.

(I do this because my reason to write is to be in joy not because some mass market is dictating that what I’m writing will be perfect for this year’s latest and greatest writing trends.)

  • Appreciate being a noncontracted author.

(Seems hinkey, I know, since I am trying to get an agent/publisher to pick me up but I cherish this time because I decide what I want to write or how I write. There are no demands on my skill. Bliss is my only goal with my pen and story. I am my audience so if I don’t enjoy it neither will anyone else.)

I am excited to keep forging ahead chopping down the jungle as I go along. Some days will be easier than others but I above all write because words are my dear friends that can light up someone’s day. When the days get bogged down I just need to channel the joy and reflect on it from time to time.

Words are my life boat in this sometimes crazy world,

Me~lissa

Path Less Traveled: The Writer’s Version

Day two was long and I had my appointment with a big publisher editor and she didn’t like any real part of my book. No problem because I really wasn’t too sold on them either. In 10 minutes I mainly found out what they were looking for, which told me that for the moment they are not the place I should be looking. No harm, no foul, and no query letter for you.

This frees up energy to find somewhere my work will fit better. Maybe I’ll have something they would want later but for now I feel great about my 1st shiny rejection. All I can say is “Hey, I’ll finally a real author.” It’s realistic that as a creative people rejection is key to our world. Every no is not a door closed but making you path clearer to what you need to do and where you need to go.