I got the Low-Down Rejection Blues

Rejection is inevitable in this business. Let’s face it, most writers will hear more, “No’s” than “Yes’s.” It’s hard not to let yourself get down hearted. It’s hard not to lose faith in your work. As much as agents say “It’s not personal,” rejection is just that. In essence it’s saying, “You’re not good enough for me.”

Now, I am not trying to take frustration out on agents. They have a hard job too. They have to go through thousands of queries and pick only a handful to represent. I get that. I can completely understand that side of it. I wouldn’t want their job. I’d hate to have to be the one rejecting.

That doesn’t change the fact that when a rejection comes in, it is personal. So with all that whining in mind, how do you deal with it?

For me. I’m going to have a nice drink and relax this evening. Maybe sit down and watch a movie with my daughter, forgetting all about writing for the rest of the day.

Writing Competitions

Since I have no previous publishing credit, I've been told I should write a few shorts, enter into competitions, and try to get work published in whatever way I think possible. This might make me more appealing to agents and publishers. At the very least, it gives me something to put in my Bio.

With all that in mind, an online friend sent me this link

Writers Digest Annual Writing Competition

I've never subbed to a competition before and I am wary of just sending my work out. I'm sure you all know how that is. I've got a short 2k word memoir that I could submit to this but that little voice in the back of my head (paranoia maybe) keeps telling me to hold off.

So I guess I want to know how legit this is.

It appears to be hosted by Outskirts Press , which as I understand it, is a Vanity Publisher.

Anybody out there in the internet void ever submitted to this competition? Is this legit? Should I bother?

I sound like such a newbie don't I?

Book Titles

I have title envy when I see other peoples work. I'm a terrible namer. I called Immortalis, "Book," for the longest time before I decided on it's name. Even now I'm not sure it's good enough.

So how about you? How did you come up with the titles for your books/stories? Are you happy with the names you've given your work?

As I write book 2, I'm finding I'm still no good at naming. Looks like it will remain "Book 2," for a while.

One from the hubby.




Hubby wanted to try his hand at making our kitty into a lolcat. What do you think?

The real reason I don't get any work done.




Remember my little feral kitty, Lucky?

Well, she is much bigger now and has decided to take on the career of editor.

She is currently reviewing my query letters, let me know if you want her to take a look at yours. =p

Query Review - What do you think?

Thought I might share a little of my work. Here is my current working query.

*****

IMMORTALIS is a 75,000 word urban fantasy about a newly turned vampire fighting to accept and keep an immortal life she never wanted.

Life was numbingly routine for Alyssa, until one bad night caused her to be a victim of a brutal mugging on the campus of UNLV. Thankfully, a stranger named Lysander was there to save her, bringing with him the gift of immortality. There's only one problem, Alyssa didn’t want to be a vampire. She has problems with the fact that she now has to kill, drink blood, and stay out of the sun.

Unfortunately, Alyssa’s turning doesn’t go unnoticed. Before she has a chance to come to terms with what she’s become, Alyssa is brought before Kallisto, a rancorous vampire coven mistress. Kallisto informs Alyssa, that she and Lysander are marked for death for breaking an ancient coven law: Humans must be approved before being turned into vampires. Kallisto uses this opportunity to get revenge on Lysander, her old lover. She gives Alyssa a cruel choice, kill Lysander and keep her immortality, or die with him. Before Alyssa can act on her decision, Kallisto’s coven comes under attack from, The Acta Sanctorum. Led by Santino Vitale, the Sanctorum’s best hunter, they are out to destroy all vampires in Las Vegas, starting with Kallisto and her coven.

Few will survive this attack. If Alyssa wants to keep her newfound immortality, she will have to learn to accept what she is and trust Lysander. Together they will have to fight both Kallisto and the Acta Sanctorum.

IMMORTALIS is my first full length manuscript. It is a standalone story with potential to be expanded into a series. I would be happy to send more if you like what you see here.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
*****

As I have mentioned before, it's not getting anywhere. 16 rejections and counting (thats just from the agents who have responded).What do you think? Any suggestions? I've been debating about sending it to the Public Query Slushpile. Has anyone sent anything to them?

25 things

I'm jumping on the ol' bandwagon here. I was perusing my blog list and ran across a post from The Philosophy of KLo. Apparently this listy thingy is spreading all through the blogs. I've seen a few other instances of it here, and here , and here.

Here goes

25 things about Immortalis

1. The story wasn't officially named until I was finished with the first draft. I'm still not quite happy with it. It's full name is Immortalis - Carpe Noctem.
Immortals - Seize the night.

2. Many of the characters are drawn from people I know. That's probably no surprise since many authors do this. One character in particular, who only plays a small part, is named after the woman I found hiding in my ex-husband's closet. Needless to say, I kill that character off. Personal therapy. =)

3. The story is set in Las Vegas, I use many places in this story that were once real. The cafe I mention in the beginning of the story was actually a cafe I frequented regularly. Sadly that place burned down. I have many fond memories from there and wanted to immortalize it in writing. Cafe Copioh, I miss you!

4. The original concept for this story was Sci-Fi. The idea came to me in a dream. In the dream I was a vampire, trapped in a cage, while people were draining me of my blood to use for experimental purposes. Yeah, I know, crazy. I was going to use a secret military agency as my antagonist. They were supposed to be harnessing the power in vampire blood to create a super soldier. But, (there is always a but), the idea didn't pan out. So 4 years later, I chose a different path for the story.

5. The new direction the story took, was more drama. How would you deal with being turned into a vampire? How would you deal with drinking blood? How would you deal with never seeing your friends or family again?

6. I've rewritten the end to this book probably 15 times.

7. This isn't a Paranormal Romance. There, Ha!

8. The Nicholas character in my story, is a cross between House (I love that TV show), and my husband (who just happens to be named Nicholas. So unoriginal, I know. =p ).

9. I've been known to stay up all hours of the night writing/editing this story. My favorite time to write is when I am alone. I can't write with distractions all around me.

10. I have a whole series planned for my characters. All pending the first book taking off. *fingers crossed*

11. Immortalis takes place in the span of one month. Short huh? A lot can happen in a small amount of time.

12. I've written many chapters while hiding in my office at work. Shhh, don't tell the boss.

13. I let more people live in my story than originally planned. A few characters got pardons as the story progresses.

14. It's a vampire story, there is blood drinking!

15. Yes, there is SEX in Immortalis. And that was the hardest scene to write. I turn beet red every time I send it out for a critique too.

16. I've never let a family member, (other than the hubby) read this story. I don't think my family will like it.

17. No animals were harmed by vampires in this story. =p

18. I got to use a flamethrower in one of my fight scenes. Do I get points for really cool weapons?

19. I fell in love with the name Lysander while researching ancient Greek names. I just had to use it.

20. My character Santino Vitale's name translates to, The Vital Saint. That one characters name obviously got the most attention.

21. Immortalis is my first attempt at a novel, however, at age 14 I was in the process of writing a vampire story. That year I moved from Texas to Nevada and lost everything I had written. I stopped writing for a while after that. I wonder what would have happened if I still had those pages.

22. There are some bloody and violent scenes in this story. Half way through chapter one, My MC gets mugged and almost raped.

23. My MC has to kill someone. In fact, she kills a couple of people. I didn't go the vegetarian vampire route. I wanted to show the internal conflict of having to kill for your own life.

24. I can read when I write, but I can't read when I edit. While writing Immortalis, I read many vampire books. Part for research and part for the love of the stories. Once I started editing the book, I could no longer read. I kept trying to pick apart the work of published authors. I'm just now getting back into a little reading. I'm attempting again to read the Charlaine Harris books.

25. If, after exhausting all of my efforts to obtain an agent/editor/publisher/etc..., I can't get this book published via the traditional route, I will self publish. My ultimate goal is to see this book in print someday, even if it is only good enough to share with friends and family.

Query advice

If you havn't read this yet, go now!

Didn't make it to the bookstore

Well, I didn't make it to the bookstore. Grrr! Hubby got us all caught up in a wild goose chase to find some darn computer cable.

Anybody know where we can find a VGA to Composite adapter? Anybody ever seen one? LoL.

Oh well maybe I'll make it to the bookstore this weekend. Keep the recommendations coming. I love new books.

Recommended reading

I’m thinking of popping over to the bookstore today after work.

I’ve been on the lookout for a book called. The First Five Pages - Noah Lukeman, but have not had much luck finding it ( other than online.)

I could buy it online, but I am in a shopping mood, and there is just something about walking into a bookstore to get a new book. I love the smell. I love the variety. I love wandering through the shelves looking for something new and unique.

I’m in editing mode still so I am not looking to read for pleasure. I need research and development books.

What are your favorite writing books? Got any suggestions for me?

So far, favorites in my collection include;

Grammar Girl – Mignon Fogarty A big thanks to my older sister for sending this to me!

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers - Renni Browne and Dave King I love this book. I keep it next to my desk when I am editing my chapters.

Spunk & Bite - Arthur Plotnik - Keep a dictionary handy when reading this one. You will learn lots of new words. LoL!

Words that trip you up.

I'm poking fun at myself here. This may just be a bit of dyslexia messing with me. I’ve never been diagnosed, but there are just some words, that for some reason my brain feels the need to twist.

One in particular is Unite.

Unite – to bring together, to combine, to join, to adhere, (you get the idea).

Whenever I see this word, my brain sees

Untie – to undo, to loosen, to free, to separate, (you get the idea).

And vice versa.

It happens almost every time I see either of these two words and I love how they mean the exact opposite. Just by swapping the “I” and “t” you completely undo or combine everything. Ha ha ha.

Makes for some funny reading. Just try it. Think of the Untied Nations, or Uniting your shoes. *snicker*

So what words, if any, trip you up?

Professional Editing, is it necessary?

My oldest sister messaged me the other day on Facebook. She asked how my book was coming. She does this from time to time at random. It just so happened, that the message got to me right after reading another rejection letter. Needless to say I wasn't in the best of mind-frames at the time to answer.

"16, rejections now... It's going...," was my reply.

Mental note- Allow at least an hour to reply to anything after reading a rejection letter.

She responded back quickly with, "(insert other sister's name here) sent hers off to a book therapist. You should talk to her about it."
(Yes, thats right there are two aspiring authors in the family!)

Thankfully I waited a little before replying again. I get cranky when I get a rejection.

I've thought of book doctors, professional editors, or whatever you want to call them.

I've wondered if it was really worth the investment to send out my work and have it professionally edited?

Let's face it, it's not cheap!
I've seen quotes of $700-$1k for an 80k word manuscript. That's a lot to invest in a gamble.

What are the benefits and are they really worth it? Will an agent take my work more seriously? Will it really give me an edge?

Professional editing is no guarantee. If the story doesn't catch the eye of an agent or editor, the money is lost.

Still, I really want to be published. I've submitted my work to critiquing groups, I've bought books on grammar and punctuation (let's face it, we all know I fail on this subject), and I've tried to go over my work with a fine tooth comb.

Does it really make the difference to professionally edit? Has anyone out there in the void used these types of services? Any recommendations?

How do you write?

The question came up in a forum I read.

Do you plot and plan out every part of your book/story, or do you let the story write its self?

How much planning do you put into your work?

At first, when I came up with the idea for Immortalis, I wanted it to be a SciFi piece. I wanted to have a secret military unit testing the effects of vampire blood on mortals to create the ultimate soldier.

Well, that didn't work out.

I tried to plan it out, but the story just didn't work for me. First, I'm not a SciFi person. I'm more a Drama/Fantasy person.

I ended up giving up on the story entirely because I couldn't make myself plan to the end. In short, I got bored with it, and packed the files away.

Fast forward 4ish years. A new idea hit me. I dusted off the old leftover files from my first failed attempt at Immortalis. I scrapped all of the SciFi stuff and kept only a few bits of the original chapters I wrote.

This time, I had no real plan, just an idea. Within 6 months, the first draft was written and I have been polishing and refining it ever since.

So, back to the original question, I guess I would have to say, I just let the story write its self. It works better for me that way. I can't plan to completion, because I cannot be held to any constraints while I write.

So how do you do it?

Queries and Rejections.

After yesterdays game of “Agent for a day,” at Nathan Branford’s blog. I started to see a little of how the query process works. This was a fun and eye opening experience.

I learnd that , with so many queries out there, an agent must really be moved to decide to see more. There are plenty of great stories out there, but agents only have so many hours in a day to devote to selecting new stories to consider for representation. No matter how good they all are, an agent can really only pick a few that really speak to them. There is just no time to select them all.

In reading the 50, there were a lot of great stories, but only a few really appealed to me as a reader. In reading other responces I noticed how vastly different my taste were from other people. I can see now where that canned line, “publishing is a subjective buisness…” in every form rejection comes from.

So after playing agent and selecting a few stories out of the 50 that were provided, I was in a better mind frame to open my email up and see if any agents had responded to my query.

Sure enough, there was a fresh, new rejection.

I wasn’t that upset though. I know there are more agents out there, I haven’t exhausted all options. I just didn’t connect with this one. On to the next name on the list. Maybe the next agent will connect with my story.

Thinking positive here.

Oooh, Fun!

Go check out Agent Nathan Bransdford's blog! Start here.

It's kinda fun playing agent, and it does give me a new appreciation for what they have to go through.

And yes, I am goofing off at work today. ( Shh, don't tell the boss.)

Writing and distractions.

As a working mom, It's hard to find time to write.

By the time I am done with an 10 hour workday ( that includes commute, lunches, and breaks), gone to karate or swim lessons with the munchkin (3-4x per week), put food on the table, and helped finish homework, bath and bedtime for the munchkin, I'm wiped out.

I try to hit my computer right after the munchkin is in bed, but then laziness takes over. I goof around on the Blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Hulu, Failblog, lolcats, and other fun sites. Then, before I know it, I need to hit the sack to be well rested for the next day.

On a productive night, I manage to get 500-1k words written and/or I hit the critiquing group critiquecircle.com and complete a few crits.

It's not much, but I am trying. I know I could probably try harder. I wonder how other writers do it. How do you find the time? When do you find the time? Do you set writing goals for yourself? What distractions stop you from writing? What do you do to avoid distractions?

Shamless plugging



My best friend donated her old car to Mythbusters and they totally demolished it during their demolition derby premier episode. This portion of the show was taped on the New Mexico Tech testing grounds. Her husband is currently attending that school to complete his degree in Mechanical Engineering with emphasis on explosives. They really did a number on the car.

Enjoy.

I hate Monday and Monday hates me!

In typical, Monday fashion, i'm a bit of a mess.



Woke up at 4:30am this morning and shut off my alarm clock instead of Hubby's. FYI, I don't get up untill 5:30am. Whoops.



Hubby gets up on time, I fall back into bed and oversleep.



So instead of my usual pace, getting myself and my daughter ready for work/school. I'm already starting off in a rush. Somehow, I managed to only be 30 minutes late to work.



I get to work and things aren't looking any better. I have already injured myself ( closing a binder on my finger), I'm starving ( forgot my breakfast and lunch isn't untill noon), I'm grumpy, and I just realized I am covered in cat fur and can't find my sticky roller. Ugh!!!

Do I tempt fate and ask, "What else can happen today?"

What inspires you?

Have you ever just been struck with inspiration out of the blue? I love when that happens.

I've been putting off writing lately, using the old "writers block" excuse. ( really, it is just plain laziness on my part. I could have spent more time writing and less time blogging, facebooking, and myspacing.)

So yesterday, as I was on my was to work, I popped in a CD and out of nowhere a song I was listening to caused a rush of ideas to spring forth. I spent the rest of the work day trying to hold on to the idea, anytime I got into my car I put that song on repeat, fearing I would lose the idea before I could get home and write it all down.

My husband thinks I'm crazy, I'm sure.

I was up until 1am last night playing the song on repeat, while writing. I felt so good, getting the idea on paper. I feel like I made good progress on book two.

So tell me, have you been struck with inspiration like that? What random things have caused a rush of inspiration for you?

Agentfail, what did you think?

Now, I am not a twitter-er and I have no intention to start micro-blogging ( I barely have time to just plain, blog. ), so I did not get to follow the original #queryfail. I'm not sure I would have wanted to. I would be too afraid of seeing my query posted all over the place, being ripped to shreds. I don't care if it is for a good cause ( educating writers on what not to do.). However, I did have the chance to read agentfail over at Bookends LLC, blog.

I didn't get very far into the comments before I had to shut down my browser. I couldn't read on because I was starting to get depressed. I'm on the road to publishing at the "agent needed," stage. Reading so many comments on bad agents cause me much worry.

Oh no! Sounds like there are so many bad ones out there!! ( I know, or at least I hope I know, this isn't the case.)

The thing is, it was dedicated to bad, "failing" stories about agents so naturally it would be filled with those horrors. I just don't feel at this stage it was good for me to keep reading on. I was either going to scare myself into never submitting again, or become too cynical.

I think some good did come out of Agentfail. It seems many blogging agents are in agreement that the "no response means no," policy is bad. Maybe more agents will adopt this thought process too and just have an auto-reply do the rejects for them. It is nice to see that your query did make it to the in-box and not the spam folder, before being rejected.

Personally, when I see a "no response means no, or will respond only if interested," I submit and then write off my submission as an automatic "no". Probably not the best way to look at it but, frankly just don't expect to hear back from that agent. I'm not going to get my hopes up, but I'm not going to avoid them, because I know I need to query widely to find an agent in this tight industry. If I do hear back from them, GREAT! If not, it's no sweat off my back. I just keep going down the list of "agents I want to work with."

So tell me, what did you think of Agentfail? Was it helpful or hurtful?

Vacation Photos








Like writing isn't enough of a hobby/ wannabe career. I also love to play with the camera.

Catching up

I can't believe how fast that vacation went. Seems only yesterday I was packing up my stuff and getting the hell out of town. Now, I'm back, staring at the mound of paperwork I have to catch up on. Ugh!

Maybe just a quick peek at what's going on in the publishing world first. Shhhh, don't tell my boss.

Oooh, looks like the blogs have been busy.

It appears that vampires are still popular. Agent Nathan Bransford's blog post show's them holding strong at 58%. Hopefully that is good news for my story. Fingers crossed!

Along that line, I am sitting at 10 rejects so far. 8 form letters and 2 personal rejections.

I'll probably sit down and do another revision to the query soon. Alas, the work is never done.

Editorial Ass wrote a very interesting blog "Hedging Your Bets," with some great advice for us newbie writers hoping for publishing success.

I have to admit, I'm scared of making mistakes along the way. I know it's a learning experience, but that fact doesn't help me sleep at night. Each time I submit a query, horrible self-conscious thoughts creep into my head.

Did I really polish my work enough?
Did I make a careless mistake that will out me as the newbie writer I truly am?
Are agent's laughing at my submissions?
Will I end up on Queryfail?

Maybe I should take a look at the Query Tracker Blog and reread the advice there on, Believing in Yourself as and Author.

Speaking of Queryfail, Looks like Bookends, LLC is offering up a chance to authors, giving us Agentfail. Not that I plan to complain at this point. I'm not tempting fate, I need an agent right now. he he he.

On a lighter side, Agent Rachelle Gardner offers up some tongue and cheek advice on what to expect if you do land an agent.

Well, I've wasted enough time today. I suppose I had better get back to work. Vacation is over.