Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Week in Writing #91

Well, promise kept. I did manage to send off one query letter early in the week. Sort of painless, but still time-consuming to try and get right. As an example, I wrote out a query letter in Word that I liked, but when I copied it into Outlook and sent it to myself as a test, there were spaces between all the lines and paragraphs, the same with the sample and the synopsis.

If you're looking at this blog for the occasional drop of advice, then here it is, send the query letter to yourself before you send it to the agent. That way you'll know what it looks like and can take steps to fix it. For me, I had to re-type the query letter into Outlook in order to get it the way I wanted it to look. I was able to play around with the spacing in Word to get the sample and the synopsis looking better. If it looks really bad you can add, and I have, a sentence explaining that the formatting might be off. I have to imagine that agents who want the first five or ten pages embedded in the email must be used to seeing odd formatting as a result. No harm in trying to make it look as nice as possible, but there are sometimes limits on what you can do.

As an example, I had a query letter for A Killer Blog that had lines in the email that turned blue. And unfortunately, one of the lines had to do with my hero, J.D. Barrister, noticing the shapeliness of a waitress in an underground bar. I forgot which line, but it had something to do with him noticing her cleavage and no matter what I did, the line was always blue in color, as if to emphasize the salaciousness of the comment. And I even tried re-copying the passage from Word, re-typing the passage directly in the email, but nothing worked, it was always blue. But knowing that I could at least make mention of the formatting and coloring as an unfortunate side effect of embedding. Now, since I haven't found representation for that book, I can't say if that hurt me or not.

Did make some progress on the comic book, but it's measured. It's still cool to see the pages taking shape, I only wish we were further along. Having an incomplete work is really holding me back from trying to talk to publishers about it. "Yeah, if you like these pages give me a couple of more months to get it done." I don't think that will fly. I'd like to see if we could possibly blow out the second part over the summer, but I'm not sure if that's possible.

Still no word back about my pitch to Comic-Con HQ. I gave them a week or so after the Beta launch to respond and then followed up mid-week. But no word by the end of the day Friday. Honestly, I think it's a good idea and it should at least get some thought before they dismiss it in favor of another show about former stars who make a living visiting conventions to sell their autographs. Does that sound bitter?

Feeling like I was on a roll, I contacted my editor to see if he was ready for another book. He surprised me by saying "yes" and now I have to scramble to get something ready to send. I thought I had a book ready to go, "Simple Sins", but when I sat down to look at it, it needs some work. I'm reading it/editing it now, hoping I can turn around a draft in a couple of weeks. I feel a little foolish since I thought I was really ready to go with something. Simple Sins is actually the first book I wrote with the character, but I've reworked it entirely once already. Still, I thought it was closer than it is.

Still writing for Trophy Unlocked. Working on a review of My Neighbor Totoro for the blog and am about 500+ words into it. Did publish a review of Girl Crazy (1943). I really like George and Ira Gershwin and am somewhat familiar with the Broadway musical the film is based on. But it is loosely based and well, you can read my review here, if you'd like.

So the week ahead holds the promise of progress on the comic book and Simple Sins and I will make a few more queries for Public and Private. And oh yeah, finish my review. It already sounds like I'm not going to have enough time for it all, but we'll see.

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