Friday, August 26, 2011

Technology is Depressing... I mean, uh, Wonderful!

I don't understand Twitter. 

I made one yesterday to try and follow agents and debut authors.  I was horrified to know that there are e-mail alerts involved whenever you follow someone.  It made me feel like a stalker, even though the agencies have a "Follow me on Twitter!" button on their websites.

Some have been nice enough to follow me back, even though I have absolutely no posts--after all, what should I say to my handful of random followers?  I'd feel as if I were randomly talking to myself.

Then, comes the Yahoo Mail app on my Droid.  I'm beginning to regret installing it, but I don't want to be out-of-the-loop at work.  What if I get a promising e-mail and need to view it immediately?

Too bad every time I hear the Mail alert go off, I think, "Oh, there's another rejection."  Or Twitter alert.  I need to turn those off, but haven't for the same reason I haven't uninstalled the app.

However misleading this post may seem, I haven't given up hope!  I know someone will like my idea--which is a dystopian take on Beauty and the Beast; did I ever mention that?--and if they don't, I'll just move on to the next project. 

Speaking of which, I'm currently in the middle of another YA manuscript, GUARDIAN.  I'm pretty excited about it! 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Most of us know the groove by now, right?  Query, rejected, revise, query--rinse and repeat!

Previously, I was querying from Jeff Herman's Guide to Literary Agents of 2011--which I would highly recommend!  However, I found an easy way to keep track with everything, and if you aren't a part of this website, you should be!

It's free, so why not sign up?  You can browse agents accepting queries by a particular genre, view comments (which usually give query dates and response dates, as well as other helpful information), check graphs that show how many received rejections and how many received offers for partials/fulls, as well as get access to the agent's website, blog, and e-mail!

But that's not all! 

You can even select the agent to go into a list on your account, as well as type notes about the agent, so you can keep track of who likes what in one place.  Then, you can record when you queried, when you received a response, and what kind of response it was.  The list keeps track of how many queries you've sent, as well as how many rejections or positive feedback you may have received. 

I have to admit, I'm impressed. 

The site also has a forum, so you can post your query for review-- or your synopsis, the first five pages, etc.  The people there are very kind, and their criticism is usually right on the mark. 

On another note, since I'm off work today, I'm working on sending out queries again.  I just revised a new query, and I'm very pleased with it; I cut the word count down by almost half.  If I get any bites, I'll post it here. 

Good luck!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Writing a Brief Synopsis

How brief is brief, exactly?  One page?  One and a half? 

I've heard that when it comes to agents, the shorter the synopsis the better.  For those of you that may not know, a synopsis is a summary of your manuscript.  It's like the blurb on the back of book, only to my understanding, it's supposed to be simple and concise, describing the bones of the story, and it MUST include the ending. 

Now, how do you summarize the events of hundreds of pages into a single page--double-spaced?  It's important to cut out unnecessary words.  My suggestion is to start from the beginning--well maybe when the main characters meet, and be sure to try to limit your descriptions of side characters.  Introduce the conflict, describe their struggle to resolve the conflict, and be sure to include how they resolve it and what happens afterward.  Include any major twists. 

I'm no guru on the subject; I've only written two brief synopsizes, and my most current one didn't quite fit onto one-page.  But since the agency didn't specify a single page, I sent it anyway, although in retrospect I probably should have revised it more.  It's difficult to cut everything down to the bones, especially when there's so much story the author feels is important.  But, keep practicing!

Now, I won't include my synopsis, simply because mine went over what I would consider brief, and I don't want to be leading anyone astray.  But, I will include a wonderful website with plenty of samples that really helped me:

Good luck!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Getting Published: It's Going to be a Long Road

As long as I can remember, I've dreamed of writing a book.  I always thought it would be easy-- I just had to finish it, and then it would magically be on a shelf for all to read. 

I've never been more wrong.

My childhood disillusions came about through research, which I'm assuming would bring a reader to my page in the first place.  Publishers require agents before they will even consider your work, and agents are difficult to acquire when they get thousands of queries.  This is doubly difficult if you have no credentials-- like myself.  The only thing I could include on my query is a decade of FictionPress and submissions, a couple of published poems, and an article in AntiqueTrader that didn't even count because they got my name wrong and butchered the content to unrecognizable garbage.    Needless to say, I've reduced my personal information on queries to "this will be my debut novel."

But, I digress; I'm starting to miss the purpose of this post.

I want to be published.  I have an original idea, a slew of well-developed characters, and a burning passion for writing.  I'd like this blog to document my journey toward that goal, and connect with other people that are trying to break into writing as well.  This long road will end with publication, even if it takes me years. 

In the meantime, I'd like to post information about agencies and resources, discuss queries, writing prompts, and all other things related to writing.

It's going to be a long road, but I'm in it for the long haul.