Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A great query is worth...

A million words. Well, not really. But at least 70k. (Or however long your manuscript is.)

The query is what will get your foot in the proverbial agent door. Or get it slammed in your face. With no personal offense intended. I wish I could say that my first query was amazing and landed me an agent. That, however, would be a lie. It wasn't the worst query in the world. It got a partial request from my "number one" agent. Unfortunately, my writing wasn't where it needed to be and I got rejected. Four months later. And it was exclusive. Ouch.

So I edited my book, and revised my query. I got some more requests. Then I got more rejections. Rinse and repeat. Over and over. When I got that first partial request, I was sure I'd made it. I was going to be the next Stephenie Meyer with 14 rejections and one yes and a 6-figure deal within months. Ha ha. Ha. When I hit the year mark of sending out my first queries, and I was still querying, my bright eyed hope had worn just a bit thin. To say the least. It ended up taking me over two years to get an agent from when I first started querying. So let me share some tips I've learned along the way.

Since it would take too long for one post to go into all the details about tricks and tips I've learned for querying, I'm going to do it one post at time. I will also tell you more about my journey to getting an agent as we go.

Key component #1: Make sure your query actually sells what you claim to be selling. Does that make sense?

Let me try to explain. If you say your book is a paranormal romance, but half of your pitch paragraph(s) focuses on your MC's hard home life and her desire to escape her town and how she was teased mercilessly as a child... oh oh. Rejection. The MC's love interest should be in the first sentence if it's a romance. Second sentence at the absolute latest. The paranormal element better be disclosed right away. The conflict to their romance is your hook. And that is pretty much the whole enchilada. Your query should ONLY show the part of your plot and the hook of the MAIN genre you're pitching it as--aka, if it's paranormal romance, you pitch the romantic plotline and THAT'S IT.

I was very guilt of trying to do too much with my queries. My plot is just so amazing and complex, I can't whittle it down that much! I have to explain more or they won't get it! I have to show the agent how many stunning subplots are woven into my main theme! But! But! But!

No, you don't. Agent will be thinking, "Huh. I thought this was supposed to be a paranormal romance, but it doesn't seem like the romance is even a main part of the plot. I'm already confused, so... pass."

So that's hint #1. Keep it basic, and stick to your genre in the query. If it's fantasy, you pitch the fantasy. If it's horror, you roll out all the gruesome hookiness you can. (Yes, hookiness is a word. I promise. Okay, not really. But I'm an author, so I can make words up. Right?)

Let the agent discover your subplots and deeper themes gradually as they read your amazing manuscript--after they request it because of your simple, concise, and awesome query.

Since I'm headed off to FLORIDA you may not get the next installment of this until ten days from now. However! I have a couple of awesome guest posts lined up to help inspire and motivate you until I return. I hope you enjoy their posts as much as I did! Until then, have a great 4th of July and I'll be back before you know it. :-)

Monday, June 28, 2010

The five letter word


Just reading that word is enough to give some people hives. Or to go into a catatonic state of shock and fear. That little one page letter that is the difference between getting an agent or getting rejected. True, the query itself won't actually get you an agent; but in order to get the coveted request to read your manuscript (which will then--hopefully--get you the agent), you have to nail your query.

If you aren't quite sure what a query is, there are TONS of great blogs and websites that explain it and I'd be happy to recommend some if you'd like. For now, the quick explanation is that you have one to two paragraphs to introduce your story in a way that is intriguing, unique, and shows your MC's voice, one paragraph to introduce yourself, and that's about it. Simple, right?

Yeah. Except that, as I mentioned, everything rides on those two little paragraphs. Think of it as a back of the book or cover flap summary. What makes you decide to buy a book in the store? It's the same idea for your query. When you read the jacket flap of a book at the store and put it back on the shelf, have you ever stopped to think about what it was that made you put it back? Queries are the same way.

The only difference is that agents are reading hundreds of them every week. Imagine if you read that many jacket flaps of books all the time; would it make you more discerning in what you decide to pick up and read? So tell me, what makes you pick up or put down a book - and how could you apply that to your queries?

In my next post (before I leave, woot woot!) I will discuss a few tricks and tips I've learned that helped me polish my queries and eventually helped me get an agent.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Home Again... for now

Well, I'm baaaack! For five days. Ha ha.
Yep, I leave for Florida on Thursday. But don't despair - I'm working on lining up some awesome guest posts to fill your days with brightness while I'm gone.
In the meantime, a couple of you asked for pictures of my trip, so here's a few to give you a taste of Portland. It is so green and beautiful!
Our hotel was on an island in the middle of the Columbia River, how cool is that? (A very big island) This is Mt. Hood, and one side of the river, as we were getting off the freeway to go to our hotel.
This is Mt. St. Helen's (sorry, taken again from my car). I was obsessed with this volcano as a child, so it was fun to see it in person again. We were going to drive to it, but Son A got really upset and didn't want to. (He was afraid it would erupt.) Oh well.

The Columbia River on our drive home.

The whole place is just gorgeous! (Yep, another picture taken from the car. We couldn't stop because Son B took a lot of his naps in the car and stopping = him waking up = not good.)
I love travelling, how about you? That's something I love about books. They can take you places you've never been--real or imagined. They can be an escape from real life, or from where you are at the moment. That can be truly physically and emotionally. Writing, for me, is often the best form of escape. I can dive into the lives of my characters, into their settings and emotions, their troubles and their triumphs. When I'm feeling grumpy, my husband will often ask me if I've written anything recently. I'm surprised at how often I realize the times I'm more on edge correlate with having not written anything for a while. I'm not talking about editing, or revising--I mean WRITING. New words, new ideas, moving my characters forward. Speaking of writing, I need to go do some more.

I made it back last night in time to make it to a BBQ with my old writer's group. (Yes, I'm gigantic. And I even took off my heels for this pic. Oh well!) We don't do a big critique group like we used to anymore, but we still get together to see each other, celebrate each other's accomplishments and have a great time. Janette Rallison came late, so she wasn't in the picture, but we were so glad she was in town so we could see her, too! She's too hilarious. So, from left to right back row: Me, Erin, Ally, (Teddy, Erin's little boy), Jamie, Pam, Julie, Carla. Bottom Row: Carolyn and Stacey. I love these ladies. It is so important and fun to have friends who really understand this crazy business. Thanks for a great night ladies!

So tell me, do you have a writer's group or CP? How did you find them? We all met at a writer's conference a year ago. (Some of us knew each other before) Also, do you find writing to be an escape, or is that just me?
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

From the road...

Well, we made it to Portland. Phwew. That was a LONG drive. Even split into 2 chunks. The boys did really well though, so that's a relief. I spent all afternoon and night entertaining them alone while hubby went to meetings. They are both sleeping now (thank heavens) and I'm sitting here staring at my computer. My eyes are burning, I'm exhausted, and I can hardly think straight. I should go to sleep. Instead, I'm blogging and then going to read. I would try to write, but I'm pretty sure anything that came out would be drivel. Much like this blog post.

So the moral of the story is that you should get other people to do guest posts when you're travelling and still want to do blog posts. I will keep that in mind when I leave for my even longer trip to Florida next Thursday.

Yeah, you heard my right. My whole family is going to FLORIDA (courtesy of my awesome parents). DISNEY WORLD. HARRY POTTER LAND (or whatever it's really called)! Daytona Beach! For 10 DAYS! That trip is NOT a work trip. We just get to go be together and have fun the whole time. I am SO excited (even though it will be crazy busy and murderously hot). But when you're trying to get ten people's schedules to coincide, scheduling can be tricky, so July is when it could happen. The point is, I will make sure and line up some guest posts for that trip, because I pretty much guarantee my Internet time will be slim to none. Even though I know you're dying to read more awesome, rambling posts such as this one.

What does this have to do with writing? Um, nothing. Sorry. Just keeping you posted on my whereabouts, because I know ya'll were dying to make sure we were here safe and sound and somewhat sane. Check, check, and check. I promise to have a meaningful post about writing soon.

In the meantime, hope you're having a great week! I'm off to read.

Tell me (because I always love to find out), what are you reading right now?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Greener pastures... or something like that

Well, I'm going to be on the road again this week. This time, my hubby is heading to Boise and then Portland for work, and since he's driving, the boys and I are tagging along for the ride (again). It's nice to be able to do that, even though it means having to take care of two young boys in a hotel room (with no car - aka no escape) during the days. It's worth it to see Daddy at night, instead of being separated for a whole week. And I also get to travel and see fun cities and do fun stuff at night.

The last (and only) time I went to Portland was when I was a teenager, probably fifteen or so. I remember it being VERY green. And gorgeous. I hope it lives up to the memories I have! I'm really excited to see it again. Anyone have suggestions of fun things we should do at night, when my hubby is done with his meetings?

So, my blogging may be a bit sporadic this week, but you never know. Wireless internet + nap time might = lots of blog posts. You'll just have to wait and see! Here's hoping to the kids doing well in the car, getting lots of reading and writing done (ha ha, we'll see), and having a fun trip!
What fun plans do you have this week?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What's in a book?

Does anyone else find it interesting how two people can feel entirely different about the same book? One might love it while the other... ya know. Doesn't. So what is it about books that can bring out such varied (and often passionate) responses in readers?

I think the fact that everyone responds differently to books is a good thing. Of course I wish every person who ever reads my book(s) will love it, make book trailers for it, place it on their "untouchable shelf" and have everyone they know buy it. BUT. If everyone only loved the same books, the publishing world would be even harder to have a chance at breaking into. Not to mention how boring the book stores would be. "Oh, look another book that is just like all the others! Yippee!"

The fact that agents and editors also react differently to different books (or manuscripts in this case) is a huge bonus to us aspiring authors. Hear me out on this. There have to be similar elements in any manuscript for it to succeed (a tight, intriguing plot; well developed, interesting characters, polished writing, etc.). However, it is the differences in our stories that help us find the agents who are right for us--and then hopefully the editor who will love it and champion it as well. Agents and editors are people, too. (All rumors to the contrary aside; they aren't out to get you, I promise.) They have personal opinions and tastes, and they know what they're looking for. While your book may be incredibly well written and have been polished until it shines like the crown jewels in the Tower of London, if they don't LOVE love it, you probably won't get that offer. They have to be willing to fight for it, and they don't have the time or desire to fight for a book that just doesn't grab them. Would you want someone to rep you who doesn't love it that much? I wouldn't. Even if it is your so-called "dream agent." (That's a whole other post entirely.)

I, for one, am grateful that different people have different opinions about books. I'm glad my agent loved my book so much that she offered to represent me. I find it very comforting to know that the person who will be pitching my book to editors adores it as much as I do. I have no questions about how much she loves it, and that is a great feeling!

However, once it's on a shelf (please, please let an editor love it, too...) I fully expect everyone to think it's the best book they've ever read.

Ha, ha. Gotchya! I only expect 98% of people to feel that way. I'm dead serious. Okay, not really.

So, the point is, even though it's hard not to--don't take the rejections personally. They are doing you a favor by telling you no. If they don't love it, you don't want them signing you, trust me. Keep honing your craft, keep polishing, and keep moving forward. You will find someone who loves it. Thank heavens we all have different tastes!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Good and Bad

If you're like me, life is full of good days and bad days. Sometimes the same day is both good and bad. Many days fall somewhere in between. What is one of the best days you can think of? For me, a recent one that comes to mind was the day that I spent at the beach with my husband and two little boys in Cali. It was beautiful and sunny, the waves were amazing, we got to play in the sand and water and have ice cream on the boardwalk, watching the sun set. That was a wonderful day.

Today, while not a BAD bad day, hasn't been the greatest. Between Son B throwing up AGAIN (at least it wasn't on me and my iPod this time...), coming out from getting him down for his nap to find Son A playing with his AquaSand (even though I expressly asked him not to) and making a mess everywhere, and having all my fun plans for the day cancelled because of aforementioned puking (which also means that all my efforts to stay distracted from checking my email over and over again for the email that STILL hasn't come are now unable to happen)... not one of the days that falls under "good." (Yes, I'm aware that is one of the longest run-on sentences in blogdom, but I don't really care right now.)

However, can I stop living? Go hide in a corner, rocking myself in the dark, and mumbling? Um, no. I'm blowing bubbles for my sons to chase inbetween typing sentences of this post, and trying to figure out how to make dinner with what I have on hand since going to the store is out the window.

Writing is like this in many ways. You will have times when you sit down to write and the words are flying out so fast your fingers can barely keep up. Ideas flow, plots thicken deliciously, everything seems perfect.

Then, the next day, the only thing that comes out is word vomit. Nothing goes right. Scenes fall to pieces, characters won't listen or obey you, you spend the whole time cleaning up messes instead of creating art.

But do you quit? Do you throw your manuscript in a corner and give up? No.
You. Keep. Going.
Even on the bad days, you must keep plugging along. Clean up the mess and hope tomorrow is a better day.

I better go for now, Son A is blasting the soundtrack to Jurassic Park (he loves music as much as I do) and the bubbles have lost their magic for Son B -- he's now crying and grabbing my hands trying to force me away from the computer. Since I really don't like making him mad, or having him throw up on my keyboard, I will comply.

So no matter how bad your day is in life or writing, no quitting, you hear?? Good. Because the wonderful days make it all worth it, don't you think?

P.S. Jessie, thank you for the blog award, I will try to do it soon!

Monday, June 14, 2010


Good Monday Morning everyone! I tallied up all the entries from my contest last week, and let the random number generator do it's job and the winner has been chosen. Her favorite quote from the Twilight Series was:

"And so the lion fell in love with the lamb."

She wrote that she has never won an online contest before... until now! Know who you are yet?


Congratulations! Please email me at sarablarson21 (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address, so I can send you THE SHORT SECOND LIFE OF BREE TANNER.

Thank you to everyone who entered. More contests to come in the future, so make sure and stay tuned!

So here's my random question for the day: If you could meet any author in person (who is alive right now), who would it be?

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Why do you write?

My sister asked me this on FB, and instead of adding it to the Q&A last week, I decided to write a whole post on it. Why do I write? That might be close to asking me why I breath... or why I talk... or something unavoidable and necessary. You might think talking isn't necessary and could be avoidable, but you would be wrong. Very wrong. ;-)

I can't remember not writing. My earliest memory of writing "books" was in second grade, when I wrote about premature babies and fun, lighthearted things like that. (I'm not even kidding. I have the notebook complete with the to-scale drawing of the preemie in it.) But, I'm sure I was telling stories even before I could finally write them down. They have always been a part of my life. There may be times when I don't get any ideas for a couple of months (or longer), and there are times when I have three ideas going at once. Sometimes something in my life triggers an idea, sometimes a character shows up in my mind and I just have to figure out what her (or his) story is. That was the case with my book that got my agent. Ethnie just showed up in my mind, when I was minding my own business working on a different book. A book that I love and adore and hope will someday see the light of day. Or a shelf. Or whatever. But that's another story. So, there I am sitting at my computer, revising YET AGAIN, and whammo! Here shows up Ethnie, with a story that was so intriguing and shocking I couldn't resist her. I hope at least one editor will agree, and that someday soon many people will get to find out what her story is.

So, for me, writing is just a part of who I am. It's my love, my passion, and my work. (I do have other loves, passions, and works though--which is good for my hubby, kids, and my sanity. I firmly believe as an author you must still LIVE life, if you want to write great stories. Yet again, that's another post altogether.)

So here's my question: why do YOU write? Or why haven't you started yet, if you want to? Or why do you read, if you don't write? In one way or another, writing and books are a huge part of most people's lives.

**And don't forget to enter the contest to win Stephenie Meyer's THE SHORT SECOND LIFE OF BREE TANNER - the contest closes at 11:59 pm MST on Sunday. :-) **

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I've decided I never win contests. Out of like fifty online contests I've entered over the last year, I've won one. I'm so glad I won that one, but seriously! I've entered at least ten to try and win MATCHED in the last two weeks. I haven't won ONE of them. And one of the contests only had 11 entrants, where you had to try and say what five covers had in common. I didn't even win that. *big, pouty, sad face* Oh well!

But lucky for all of my many amazing new followers *waves at shiny new followers!!* I'm going to hold a contest so I can make someone else a winner! I was planning on starting it tomorrow, but I'm just too pumped up from the awesome response to Elana's guest post yesterday. So I'm starting it a day early! Yay! I hope all my new followers will enjoy my blog. Welcome! Let's celebrate by giving away a book to one of you. :-)

Anyone heard of the book series Twilight or something? And how Stephenie just released a surprise book about someone named Bree?

You have? Shocking! :D

Would you like to win it? You would?? Great! because I'm giving away a brand new, first printing edition of it!

All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me what your favorite (or least favorite) part or quote from the Twilight series is. Whether you loved it or hated it, Twilight has become a phenomenon that has helped rocket YA books to the forefront of the book world. Team Edward? Team Jacob? Love or hate Bella? Her characters have created very strong emotions in almost every person who reads her books, and that says something! So comment away for your chance to win.

You can get extra entries for the following:

+1 for new follower
+2 for existing follower
+2 for tweeting or FBing (with a link to my contest) - please put the link in your comment so I can prove you did it.
+4 for doing an actual blog post about it (again provide the link)
+1 for any person you refer (and have that person reference you for credit)

Please tell me what you've done in the comments, and add up your points for me. Because while I was once good at math, having children and stuff has wrecked all parts of my brain except the writing part. At least I hope that part is still intact.

Anyway... the contest will close on Sunday at 11:59 P.M. MST and I will announce the winner courtesy of the random number generator on Monday's post. Good luck to all! May the contest force be stronger with you than it is with me. :D

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to have Elana J. here today. She is amazing. Seriously, people. Not sure yet? Just read her post today. Wow.


Okay, so Sara’s letting me take over today. She wanted me to talk about how I got started writing and how I kept going, even during the hard times. Not sure I did that in this post, like at all, but here we go…

First, let’s get something out of the way. I’ve felt like quitting every day, in some capacity. There’s two words you need to keep going: FINISH STRONG.

It doesn’t matter how fast you’re going right now. It doesn’t matter if you don’t write every day. It’s okay to take breaks. Fling yourself from the ledge. Eat a lot of Oreos.

But don’t quit.

I know, I know. Sounds easy coming from the girl who has a book deal.

Let’s get some numbers out there.

Elana’s embarrassing stats:

Novels written: 12 (seriously)

Novels queried: 2 (CONTROL ISSUES was my third penned novel)

Months spent querying: 14 (that’s FOURTEEN, and not a typo)

Queries sent for CONTROL ISSUES: 189

Submissions sent: 42

Rejections in 2009: 188 (41 people passed on CI. Again, not a typo)

Months spent writing for the QueryTracker blog BEFORE I was agented: 11 – AND I was the last of the QT blog authors to be agented.

Agent phone calls BEFORE an offer was extended: 5

Revisions done for agents BEFORE an offer was extended: 2

Number of rejections received in 2010: 0

The point of sharing this is to show that I had many opportunities to quit. Too many. But I didn’t. You shouldn’t either.

It doesn’t matter if you’re first, last, or in between. Publishing is NOT a race. It doesn’t matter if your critmate got an agent—the same one that rejected you. It simply doesn’t matter. The only thing you can do is work hard at improving your writing and FINISH STRONG.

So do that, okay? Okay.

What do you think? What does it take to finish strong? Can you do it? (Yes, yes you can.)

SEE? I told you. AH-MAZ-ING. Did this inspire you all as much as it inspired me? Thank you so much Elana!! This was perfect. Exactly what I was hoping for and more. Thank you for being willing to share your story with us!

Her blog is so awesome, too - if you aren't a follower already, get over there and add yourself right now. You can thank me later. :-)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Answers + upcoming guest blog AND contest!!

Ya'll ready for this?? Next week is going to be made of awesomesauce. I'm not kidding around here. Wanna know why? First of all, I'm having a FABULOUS guest post on Tuesday and then.... I'm having another contest on Thursday! So make sure and stay tuned for both of those.

Thanks so much for the questions on my last post. Here are my (hopefully somewhat interesting) answers!

Aubrey asked:

Where do your ideas come from? Oh wow, I'd have to say everywhere. Real life. Daydreams. Songs. Anything can spark an idea. I admit, sometimes I've had to really dig hard for ideas, but other times, they just come to me. As we were driving home from CA my hubby and I were talking about how many people there are everywhere--all the time, day or night. How many cars are always on the road. That little thought process/conversation sparked a whole new idea I'm playing around with right now!

How long does it take you to go from idea to finished first draft? This varies, but I'm pretty fast. The fastest I've written a book (rough draft) was about 2 weeks. Well, unless you count the books I wrote in high school. Once I whipped one out in one day. Yeah. It was amazing. My best work ever. Why are you laughing? I'm serious! Okay, yeah, not really. :D The longest was about three months, but that one has needed the least editing of all of my books because even though it was so much harder to write, it came out very clean.

What is your favorite thing about being in the YA author/book world? Well, I haven't totally "entered" it yet, but the authors I do know and have met have been SO friendly and so helpful. The YA world just seems so tight-knit and everyone seems to be friends. I'm really excited to *hopefully* be a part of that when I get my deal. (Crossing fingers and toes!)

The Dixon Family wrote: Congrats on getting an agent! Any idea when we will hear about a book deal? I don't know yet. I hope sooner than later! Any extra finger crossing is greatly appreciated. ;-) (*looks around slyly and winks*)

Elliot Grace wrote:'s one I ask many bloggers/writers, how do you handle the rejections?
Myself...I realize getting slushed is part of the biz, but sometimes...okay, just breathe:)
Oh man, this is such a tough part of the business. And it doesn't end! I have an agent now (Phwew!), but now I have to worry about editors rejecting me! I have to admit, somedays I handled rejections really well--I brushed it off, didn't take it too hard. Other times... yikes. I would get pretty down. I tend to be really hard on myself, and think I (or my writing) just isn't good enough. But I wanted it so badly, I would keep going. Thank heavens I did! I think the times I handled it the best were the days/weeks when I was keeping busy with something else. Janette Rallison gave me that advice, and it really does work. Once you are querying something--start a new project. Don't wait. And do not have it be the sequel!! When you have something else (entirely different and new) to work on, it helps you realize this isn't your one and only shot. When all else fails, try chocolate. Sugar highs help. For like 5 minutes. ;-)

I'm Erin Wrote: Ok, how in the world do you map out a book. Because I know you write fast, so do you think of an outline with all the sub plots first, or do you do do that along the way, and add them in later? Help please. I don't want to start my next book until I can figure this out. In highschool I used to write by the seat of my pants (and often ended up with a big old mess about halfway through with no idea where it was going to end up), but when I got serious about writing to get published a couple years ago, I've pretty much always had some sort of an outline, or at least a few pages of notes to guide me. I find I can write much faster and much more effectively when I know at least a general outline of my plot. For one of my books I have a chapter-by-chapter outline (that I followed pretty closely, although I'm always open to changes as I'm going); most of the time I just have notes for the character arcs and the main plot points. I may not write down all the subplots, but I do try to have them in mind as I write, and I usually at least jot down a note or two about where to include it. Although sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised at how some subplots evolve organically! Even though you may not stick to your notes/outline completely, I think it helps a lot. But that's just my opinion and style. I know lots of great authors who write completely organically, no outline at all. You have to find what works best for you.

I would recommend trying an outline if you haven't yet though, you might love it!

Thanks for the questions everyone, I hope my answers were helpful. Stay tuned for next week!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lazy... or just distracted?

You know what won't get you anywhere? Laziness. Yep. Sitting back and doing nothing. It's a sure fire way to go nowhere pretty fast. Or being distracted. That's another great way to not get anything done.

Unfortunately, after a few nights of hardly any sleep, and rushing to read a mss for a friend (who got her first full request, woohoo!), and my own crazy week... I'm feeling lazy and/or distracted. I'm not sure which. I've been staring at this screen coming up with all sorts of totally awful, lamesauce-worthy posts and I decided rather than writing something totally dumb, I'm going to turn to my totally brilliant readers!

So wow me with your questions (and help me get over this hump of brain-fartness). Ask me anything--well, almost anything--and I will answer your questions in my next post.

Next week I promise some great ones, possibly a guest blogger, and keep your eyes peeled for my next contest. Remember, those who are already followers get an extra entry automatically. Just a friendly reminder. ;-)

Happy Thursday. I can't wait to see what you'd like to know... *bites nails nervously* *except not really because I don't bite my nails* *but you know what I mean*

P.S. There are some awesome contests happening right now! Michelle Hodkin has one to celebrate her new book deal (woohoo!!), and Andrea Cremer is having one, too! They are both amazing, so go check them out before they end. :-)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Patience... and lots of it!

So, one thing you MUST have to succeed in the publishing world...


Talent is great. Determination, excellent. But if you don't have patience, you won't get anywhere. At least not without a LOT of frustration. (Trust me, as someone who struggles with patience, I know. I understand.)

Things take time in this biz. Lots of time. Oodles of it. Hurry up and... wait. Hurry some more and... wait. Write that book, edit it, revise it, send out those queries and... wait. Get some requests, hurry and rush through your partial/full again to check for mistakes, read through your three sentence response to the agent(s) fifty times and change one word ten times and finally send off that email and... wait. Get an offer of representation! Sign with your new agent!! Talk on the phone about all the possibilities the future holds. Get told they want to do a round of revisions and... wait. (to get those revisions.) Do the revisions, send them back, and... wait. (Possibly repeat any of these steps any number of times.) Finally, FINALLY get told by agent that your mss is ready for submission. And guess what?? Yep! You get to wait some more. (Some longer than others.) And then you get the offer from an editor who wants to buy your mss and... ha ha! Wait some more! See a trend here? ;-)

(Side note: Speaking of waiting... Don't you just love it when people ask you what your book is about, and say "I can't wait to buy it!" Then when you tell them once it sells it might be anywhere from 12-24 months before it's on a shelf they either stare at you incredulously, or look like they want to pat you on the hand and say, "oh, ri-ight. You're a writer. Uh huh. You just keep me posted on that little hobby." Thankfully there are lots of people who understand it takes time to edit and print and market a book. But, yeah. Not everyone. )

So my advice for today? Practice honing your patience. Learn how to distract yourself and stay busy and not become addicted to "refresh" or "inbox." I wasn't too great at that when I first started querying. I'm a "hurry up and get it done now!" kind of girl. However, over the intervening YEARS (not days, or even months) since I started querying and accepted the offer from my agent, I've definitely learned how to be (at least a little bit) more patient.

How about you? What are some of you techniques to stay distracted or busy when you're in the middle of waiting?