Truthfully, after I got the last review from QueryShark, I started thinking about my writing. While the criticism was hard to take (as the truth often is) I did take it to heart and realized I needed to ‘tighten up’ my writing. So I’ve spent the past few months going over my manuscript chapter by chapter to try to make it more interesting and cohesive. I’ve been neglecting my reading, so I wanted to pick that up again too.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about publishing — like what happens to a book once it’s published. I was in Albertson’s yesterday and noticed a whole bin of books that were 80% off; they looked like castaways, all jumbled in there together. Last week, as I walked down the book and magazine aisle at Kroger I wondered if any of the books were even selling? With so many options for downloading books, are hard copies becoming irrelevant?
I’ve been following several authors who are self-publishing and have decided it takes a LOT of work to self-publish, although on the plus side, you have more control over your manuscript.
All this has caused me to ask the big question — where do I want to go with my book? What do I want to do with it when I have it polished up and as presentable as I can get it? Do I want to just find someone who will bind some copies and I’ll give them out as Christmas presents? Do I want to try to actually find an agent to represent me and my book?
Maybe the bigger question is…am I a writer, or not? Maybe THAT’S why I haven’t posted in a while…still searching for an answer.
In the meantime, I’ve started my second book, which ties into the first. At least I’m having fun and learning. How could that be a bad thing?
…because this query letter business is kicking my butt! I have been trying for two weeks to narrow it down and make it a concise representation of what my manuscript is about. It took a while for me to finally figure out the genre — romantic mystery with magical elements….is that an actual genre? Anyway, my bigger problem is that the two threads…the ‘feelings’ portion of the novel is as important as the ‘mystery’ portion — I don’t want to do either a disservice by minimizing one or the other. Thus my dilemma. I think it’s time to pour myself a glass of whine (yes intentional sic) and drown my sorrows in a delicious J Lohr chard.
I’m having one of those ‘you didn’t REALLY think you could write a book’ kinda days. Glad it’s Friday.
Several weeks ago, I had a dream. I was at some sort of function with lots of people milling around, holding drinks, plenty of chatter. I was speaking to a very professional-looking lady, quite polished. I was explaining to her my dilemma — I wanted, no, I NEEDED someone to read my manuscript and help me edit it. She looked me straight in the eye and said firmly ‘YOU be your own editor.’
These words keep coming back to haunt me. It’s not that I don’t want others to read my manuscript; I have a great CP who makes wonderful suggestions…and I would love to find more beta readers (hint, hint). But the bulk of the polishing needs to come from ME!
So I have taken to heart the admonitions to ‘read your work out loud’ and ‘cut out as many unnecessary words as possible.’ I’ve even gone so far as to break out each chapter, reading each one over and over to try find as many errors as possible.
I keep thinking about that query letter I need to revise, but how can I work on that when I’m still editing my manuscript? And how do I start writing anything new when I’m still trying to polish up the first book? AARRGHHH….
Still, I sludge forward….what the heck is wrong with me? Shouldn’t I give up about now? Shouldn’t I throw in the towel and proclaim ’this is WAY too much work; I’m going for a swim.’ In the past, I probably would have. But I’m possessed. This writing bug has infected me. I’m compelled to finish….really finish…at least ONE book. Who knows if it will be published or not. For now I have to just go with my heart and complete this one thing. So at least when it’s all said and done, I can look at myself and say ‘You didn’t give up; you didn’t quit. Good job, Jan.’ That in itself will offer at least a modicum of satisfaction.
Now, quit rambling, and go edit that next chapter.
I thought I’d post something that wasn’t about my book writing process.
This picture was taken last night as my husband and I sat on our back patio enjoying the rain. It’s been so dry here in Dallas; it was nice to have a little relief. Rainstorms are amazing – the way the lightning crackles and sends its tendrils reaching across the sky. We still have fun using the old-fashioned method of calculating how far away it is by how soon we hear the thunder. And the breeze that blew in was so refreshing, we didn’t even mind getting sprinkled by the intermittent gusts of rain.
Okay, I lied. I will make a comment about writing. As I posted this picture and thought about rain, and it’s purpose — to refresh, renew, bring back to life, inspire new growth — I realized…I need rain. Not only for my yard and my flowers, but for ME.
I have to admit this query letter writing is getting to me. I know it needs help…I know I need to ‘punch it up’ and make it ‘enticing.’ That is so much easier said than done. I’ve been letting it beat me down a bit. I need some new inspiration, a revival of spirit.
So here’s hoping that I experience a big ol’ Texas thunderstorm … soon!
Several weeks ago, I sent my query to a site called ‘QueryShark.’ The premise is that literary agent, Janet Reid, will select a query and post it. She then comments on it herself and allows others to also make comments. Today I received an email from Janet Reid saying that my query had been posted. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself, for two reasons – 1) she specifically stated that it could be up 120 days for a query to be posted after submission and 2) only a small portion of the queries she receives are posted. That being said — I got over my excitement REALLY fast when I started reading her critique. Let me just give you the first sentence of her response. “I’m voting for both of them to die in a wolverine attack.”
Now the happy part is that when I do a revision, I can send it back to QueryShark and have it chewed up and spit back at me…AGAIN.
Okay, I’m being facetious. The reality is that while it does sting, she did give good advice. And I think in the publishing world, one really is swimming with the sharks. If I can’t take the tough comments now…imagine what it would be like to have something published and read the reviews….that’s why they are called ‘critics.’
So bring it on, QueryShark! I’m not ready to pack up my toys and go home yet!