Monday, May 25, 2009

The Waiting Game... From the Other Side

I've been on the long end of waiting for a long.... long time.  We all have.  And just like me, everyone with queries, partials or fulls floating around in agent heaven wonder every single day, Why Haven't I Heard Anything?

It's the bane of our writer's existence, the waiting.  It's a torturous game of patience that not many of us win, at least not with our sanity intact ;)  But lately I've been trying to see it from the other side, and it's not so pretty.

I follow a few agents on Twitter.  They post funny blurbs, observations and advise.  Also the occasional link to bigger and better posts.  During one particular 'Tweet Session' I read a post from Colleen Lindsay that blew me away.  It was something along the lines of "My inbox has 1300 new messages! There has to be a better way to do this!"

What?  Excuse me?  Beg your pardon?  1-3-0-0  N-E-W e-m-a-i-l-s!!!! You have got to be kidding me!  How can you possibly weed through 1300 new emails?!?  

I tried to imagine what the breakdown of emails might look like.  Five or six hundred queries, a few hundred from industry connections, a hundred or so follow-ups... That's only around a thousand and I couldn't even think of anything else to add to the list.  

If it's hard for me to wait for a response, just try to picture how hard it must be to answer the 1,299 other people that hit 'send' around the same time I did. Then picture reading each and every email, while at the same time taking care of your current clients, reading requested submissions, and managing your day to day work.  How do they do it?  Do they ever sleep? See their families?  How do they keep track of the stuff they do request?  Will they remember me two months later when they finally make it to my manuscript at the bottom of their pile?

Putting myself in their shoes really helped to put things into perspective.  Am I going to stop worrying?  No.  Am I going to stop obsessively checking my email? Probably not.  But I'm going to try to be patient, because no matter how hard it is for me... some agent... somewhere... is looking at an inbox with 1-3-0-0 new emails!!! 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Query Tracker Turns Two!

For those of you who don't know this.... I LOVE Query Tracker!  This website is more than just something to help you keep track of the agents you've queried and their responses.  It's an invaluable research tool, a friend maker, and a teaching tool.  I've learned so much, made great friends and connections this year, and I couldn't have done it without Patrick and the Query Tracker Blog team!

Query Tracker is celebrating its 2nd Anniversary and they're giving away some GREAT prizes.... a free website (the prize that I'm personally coveting), an upgrade to a premium membership, as well as books and other goodies.  If you're a writer, I strongly suggest you sign up and take advantage of all this site has to offer.  Even if you simply sign up for the free membership, you won't be sorry you did.  If you're not a writer, I suggest taking a look at the Query Tracker Blog.  The articles are informative, funny and entertaining.  You can get a rare glimpse into the publishing industry and all of it's ins and outs!  If you're a networking fiend (like I'm becoming) check out Query Tracker's sister site Rally Storm.  You can join some great groups or start your own forums and talk about whatever you want! My current favorite is the Throwdown group started by Elana Johnson.

Thanks Query Tracker!  Someday I hope to be one of your many success stories!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Jumping Out of the Comfort Zone

For a year straight I've dedicated my creativity to a single subject.  My first novel was promptly followed by a sequel and the beginnings of another installment after that.  I gave myself a little pat on the back.  I'm ahead of the curve!  If I find an agent to rep book #1 I've already got book #2 queued up and ready to go!  Woohoo!

I currently have a couple of submissions out and as I furiously typed the 'continuing saga' I realized something: living in the story was only increasing my anxiety over my submissions. We've all been there.  Sleepless nights, restless days, obsessive email checking, the urge to not stray too far from internet access, the constant second guessing... you get my drift. Continuing with the story was a daily reminder that these character's had all of my hopes and dreams thrust on their imaginary shoulders.

The worrying (and some well-written agent blogs) prompted me to face the very real possibility that this book won't be picked up.  I may not find an agent this round.  The idea might not resonate with anyone. Then I choked on my coffee when I thought about the fact that an entire year of writing has been dedicated to one story.  The story that might not fly.  So I shelved book #3.  My subs are still out and I'm not giving up hope, but I'm not putting all of my eggs in one basket either.

I came to my laptop on a rainy Saturday morning with a challenge: write in the first person. I'm a third person, multiple POV type of girl myself, so sitting down to write "I did this" and "I did that" terrified me.  But you know what?  It's growing on me!  I kind of like literally stepping into a character's shoes; living her life and seeing things through her eyes.   Plus it's a fresh idea, so unrelated to what I've been working on that it's taken my mind off of my obsessive-compulsive worrying.

I'm not saying that I've abandoned my trilogy, saga, whatever.  I'll finish it.  I need to have closure, no matter what.  But I am going to broaden my horizons and have a back up plan, because maybe this next project will be THE project!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Call For Shorts Cont.

My friend Elana Johnson threw down the gauntlet with her short story blog chain.  The topic for May: flowers.  Go to  to read her awesome story.  Here's mine at just under 600  words:

Sascha’s heart pounded so hard that she expected it to hop out of her throat and bounce down the pink and red petal-strewn aisle at any moment.  She clutched the bouquet of wilted calla lilies at her chest, which heaved despite the slow and cleansing breaths.  The dead flowers mocked the life they had, their vibrant yellow blooms now brown and their supple texture which once reminded her of silk, now crisp and rough against her passing fingertips. 

            Her friends and family were seated.  The groom and his best man waited with bright and expectant faces at the end of the long corridor that might as well lead to the execution chamber as a happy future.  What would he think of her after this moment?  Would he be sickened, repulsed, frightened?  She fought against another round of nausea. 

            The organ music piped its first ghastly notes.   Looking down at the dead flowers one last time, she pushed her right foot in front of her and forced the left to meet it.  Again and again, her feet separated and met to the cadence of the wedding march, and she knew a hundred miles had passed before she finally met Jace face to face in front of the minister.

            His quizzical gaze meandered first from the dead calla lilies to settle on her soft blue eyes.  He titled his head to the side, a silent question, and waited for her response.

               Sascha’s lids fluttered.  She pulled from the very core of her being, and the heat flowed through her, drawing from her center, racing like liquid fire through her veins and pooling at the tips of her fingers.  She felt the transfer of energy, as familiar as taking a breath and allowed the heat to pour from her body into the stems of the crinkled and lifeless lilies. 

            As if infused with air, the withered stems expanded, becoming solid and bright green.  Dried leaves unfolded and the pathetic brown blooms stood tall, as if taking in a great breath, and erupted into a shock of yellow showered with morning dew.  The living bouquet banished every trace of death, quivering in the bride’s clutched fists.

            She looked to the brilliant blooms and her bridegroom followed suit, his round brown eyes taking in every detail.  He looked up to see a single tear blaze a path down her cheek. Gripping her hand, he brought it to his lips and bestowed a tender kiss.  Without warning, he snatched the flowers from her, blowing gently into the blooms which withered again from the touch of his breath. 

            A smile as bright as the rising sun dawned on her beautiful face.  They turned to face the minister.

            “Dearly beloved,” his voice rang out, “we are gathered here today…”