Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Week in Writing #94

Well, it's one up and one down as far my queries have gone. Not that I heard back from the agent, but I didn't hear back at all within their time frame. This way, I don't know if I didn't connect with him or he didn't have a chance to read it, or, and I'm just throwing this out there, he's dead. I don't like this about the email age of queries. At least with SASE, the agent feels compelled to send you a form letter back if they do reject you.

One of things I try not to do with this blog is give too much advice on writing, I do from time to time mention something that I've found helpful or not, but I don't have any experience that other would-be authors haven't either. But there are a lot of people out there who want to give you advice. Most recently, I came across "The 5 Mistakes CausingYour Query Letter to Be Rejected". I'm not trying to advertise this, but I thought it couldn't hurt, so I read it.

I especially liked #2 on the list of five: "Imagine you’re a literary agent. You’ve just arrived back in the office from a lunch with a publisher who kept checking their phone the entire time. As you sit at your desk, you wonder if you should give up this agenting racket altogether. You open your inbox to find a new query in which the author read three other books you represented and has something that is exactly to your taste. Of course you request a sample. By querying you in particular, you feel validated in your career. You feel like you matter." I never realized agents' egos were so fragile. I'm supposed to spend a lot of time writing an agent a-you-should-feel-good-about-yourself-letter with the hopes that they might reply to me. Oh, and usually they don't, which makes me feel like I don't matter. Where's the make-me-feel-good-about-being-a-writer reciprocal? Or at least an acknowledgement that I've queried you.

Maybe it's just me, but I find querying to take a lot of time. I did do a second query on Public and Private on Friday and even though it was an online form, it still took me about an hour to do it. It's all about trying to put your best foot forward and, now of course, making the agent feel good about their chosen profession. It's all the second guessing yourself that seems to take all the time. As an example, they asked for a bio to go with the first 50 pages. I hadn't updated my bio in about a year or so, so I was concerned was it too long? Am I saying too much? Am I aging myself to this agent? Will they think that if I have a real job I should give up on this fantasy about writing for a living?

The important take away here is that I did do another query. I chose this agent because they were supposed to be building a roster and they seemed to handle the sort of genre I'm writing in. The online aspect was also intriguing. I ended up sending 47 out of the first 50 pages, since it was the end of a chapter. I'm never sure if they want an incomplete chapter or not. There are no real guides to go by, since every agent really has their own way they want things done. You have to throw yourself out there and see what, if anything, sticks.

A little work was done on the comic book. Waited all week and got two pages from the artist and one page from the colorist. Found a change I wanted the artist to make and I avoided the back and forth about paying for the change by offering to do up front. The pencil and ink differed just enough from the layout that the meaning of the panel changed. Didn't catch the change or think about it between the layout and the pencil, so it's sort of my fault, at least to get us to the end, I'll say it is.

Our letterer started and we're about four pages into the story. He's doing about a page a day, which is good. I wish the other artists were as diligent.

Still working on editing Simple Sins. I'm really shocked at how much needs to be done. A little embarrassed that it's not better than it is. It was the first of the J.D. Barrister books I had written and over time I changed the story. I've got about 140 pages still to go before I sit down and do the heavy re-writing.

Wrote and published a review over the week for the 1933 Alice in Wonderland. Originally a Paramount film, it's now available on Universal's Home Entertainment, but if you read the review, this is one you can skip.

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