I scurd

<——First off, I added a subscribe by email link on my left sidebar for those who want to keep up to date on my ramblings. 🙂

Now for the real post. My mama warned me about getting into the wrong crowds. The pastor preached about the media I put into my head. They were right.

It all started with Zoe Who? and her crazy ideas of selling books in the Walmart parking lot. I mean really. That Zoe girl has a lot of nerve filling my head with ideas and such. Who does she think she is?

I was perfectly unhappy to wallow in my pile of rejections. After all, I only revised my query letter about 36 times. Maybe I’ll revise twice today just to outdo Brad.

Seriously though. I’d stopped writing for a long period of time. A couple of months I’ll say. The whole traditional publishing thing is such a downer. You know it took me a two and half months to write the first draft of Shadow Cat? I was so excited and motivated. I’d beaten the odds and finished a book. How many people could say they’d done that? Yet I’ve still to finish another book.

Then I got into the critique groups, which are invaluable for developing prose as long as I don’t let them take over my work. There’s always more to learn, but I’m getting there.

I’ll be honest though. Eventually I did stop participating in critique groups. The negativity really dragged me down. There was always someone who didn’t like something about my characters or the way I laid out a scene. No matter how many changes I made, someone was always unhappy. Just too many hands in the pot. I guess that’s why agents tell their clients not to read book reviews. Then again, that goes back to not letting critters take over my work.

Okay, I’m rambling. So, I’ve tried to be strong. I’ve played the game. I’ve gotten my fair share of rejections. And you know what? All it’s done is sap my will to write. The whole process of doing the traditional publishing route is just so exhausting. Not just that, but depressing. I have a few works in process now and dread the idea of going through another query round when I finish. I’m confident in these works in progress.

I’m excited about these pieces, like when I finished Shadow Cat. I don’t want to feel about them the way I feel about Shadow Cat. Just the idea of opening the file makes me apprehensive. The phrase “not good enough” comes to me again and again.

Funny thing. In my mind, I still think Shadow Cat is a great storyline. Deep down, I still love it. I know many writers look back on their old work and think it’s crap. But I haven’t gotten to that point yet. I’m still wondering why agents don’t want it. One agent was kind enough to give me insight after reading my query: “I’m a little oversaturated with shapeshifter UR and PR and this one doesn’t stand out as anything fresh or different.”

As a PR junkie myself, I can understand that. It takes a bit to get me revved about PR these days also. Yet, I’ve not read any stories like mine. Of course that means nothing since I haven’t read EVERY PR out there. 🙂 Still, my research shows it’s yet to be done. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just wishful.

I know, I know. Get on with it. You’re probably thinking, if you’re book rambles like this, it’s no wonder you’re not published. 🙂 So what I’m getting at here is, why can’t I self-publish. I’ve had readers in critique groups excited to read more after the first 3-5 chapters. I get apprehensive about posting more than the first few. It’s just a bit too public for me to feel comfortable offering more. But perhaps they’d enjoy the rest of the novel too.

Lately I’ve gotten a boost of motivation at the idea of not having to go through the traditional route. But like I said, I scurd. I don’t want to embarrass myself by publishing crap. The appeal of traditional publishing is having many, many eyes on my draft before going to print. I also don’t want to bore readers with scenes that drag. But as someone so close to my work, how do I know what’s what?

Then there’s editing. Who will I get to edit my work? So many people advertise editing services, but I don’t know where to start. wah wah wah. I can go on, but you get the point. I’m just so overwhelmed with the venture, it’s paralyzed me into inactivity.

For you self-publishing gurus out there. How did you get started? What was the first step after writing your book (and polishing it, of course)? Someone needs to publish a non-fiction called “How to Self-Publish a Book that Doesn’t Suck.”

Now for a bit of a self-advertising. I am looking for a beta readers. If you’re interested in checking out the first three chapters of Shadow Cat, fill out the Beta Reader Form or go to my Got Beta Reader? post for more information.

So, share with me your fears and successes of self-publishing. Offer advice. I’m listening. 🙂

Let’s talk about…

Do agents get together and decide which blog topics to discuss with writers? I swear just about every agent is talking about burning out on writing this week. Okay, I’m going to hop on that band wagon late.

I haven’t been so much burnt out as unmotivated. Don’t get me wrong, I did hit a burnt out stage. That faded into this current blah, I’d rather do something else than write stage.

I’m hoping that’s about the change. For some reason, my motivation to write has been growing exponentially over the day. Yet I haven’t really done anything about it. So, I pulled up one of my many works in progress (WIP) and looked at it all of three seconds. 🙂 Then I remembered! Friday is almost here. I need to get my blog post up. Yep…As I said, I’d rather be doing something else. 🙂 And it looks like I’m doing just that.

Shame on me for not staying with my WIP. After all, writing is supposed to take precedence, right? Oh well, guess we’ll play by my rules tonight. But I will get to writing tonight. I promise!

Nathan Bransford asked this week in reference to burnout, “How Do You Escape It?” Well, I don’t know the answer to that question. If you’re looking for some profound answer, feel free to search the answers his readers gave. 🙂

I will tell you how I got to the burnt out stage in the hope of avoiding it in the future. It all began way back when. (I need someone to do that wave screen thing so we can fade to the flashback). I typed the final word of my novel and was ready to find a publisher. Do you hear squealing brakes? Yeah, I was naive enough to think a first draft was ready for submission. The only thing which stopped me was the desire to receive a little validation on my work. So I found a critique group and submitted the first chapter. I tell you what I didn’t get: VALIDATION. 🙂

The next few months I learned about deep POV, showing versus telling, and a bunch of other things I can’t remember right now. 🙂 Then I applied what I learned to my manuscript. If only that was the easy part. But no…there’s querying and writing the perfect query letter, which I haven’t mastered, by the way. But that’s another story. Then there were the contests and editing and revising and querying more and revising and editing and and and and… <big breath>

And then there was complete confusion. What the heck do these people want? Unique, but not so unique there’s no market for it? Uhm…okay. I’ll find something that hasn’t been done even though I haven’t read everything and have no idea what hasn’t been done.

So now that I’m working on new projects, I know what I won’t do, which led to my initial burn out. OVER EDIT. I kept thinking if I edit my work enough someone would want it. Though I’ve had a few bites amongst the many rejection, I’ve determined that’s not the case. Of course the writing needs to be there, but no amount of editing will change the initial story line. Either an agent/editor likes the story or he/she doesn’t.

One day I’ll revisit Shadow Cat and see if I can revamp the story line (mostly for my personal amusement). But as far as editing and revising in the hope of snagging an agent or editor, I’m done with that. With only 1% of writers landing an agent and even fewer making it to publishing, my focus needs to be on writing what I like and doing the best I can with me in mind. If something wonderful comes out of it, then Yay me! No more 42 revisions (which happens to be the answer to the meaning of life, by the way) until my brain feels like an old dusty cloth (you’d have to be my brain to understand what it feels like). Just the satisfaction of knowing I did my best, and my next story is on the horizon.

I’ve rambled too long. Anyway, I need to do something with my writing motivation before it fades. But before that, Tell me: What’s something positive you’ve taken away from the query process? And I’m not being sarcastic. Really, I mean it. For me it’s that the 1% agents want is so vague, it’s better to not flake out over what agent’s want and just enjoy writing for the sake of writing.

Reuser: Now’s the Time to Lay those Ideas on Paper!

Do you ever post a comment on someone’s blog and thing, man, what a waste of a good post! Okay, I do that all the time. And here’s a recycled comment I’m stealing from myself which I left at Booksend a couple of weeks ago. Just another reminder to keep writing and don’t let the rejections get you down.

When I first starting querying, I never expected a rejection. Honestly, I thought my work was art. I only had to sit back and wait for the offers to roll in. Oh my goodness. How would I chose amongst the many agents who’d want my work?

Then I got my first rejection. My thoughts were more on the line, oh bummer. That’s odd. Oh well, they must have a full plate. No matter. That’s just one.

Then the rejections started rolling in one by one. I couldn’t believe no one in my first batch of queries wanted my work. It hit me that maybe my work wasn’t as spectacular as I thought it was. I had that moment that maybe I sucked as a writer. (haha maybe I do, for real and it’s not maybe).

Regardless, I had to make a choice. Either I’d get back in there and try again or I wouldn’t. Simple as that.

I hear the phrase “writers write” so often. Yeah it’s true. However, even you’re favorite food gets old after eating it everyday for a year. Sometimes writers need a break from the writing lifestyle. Most people don’t work 7 days a week 365 days a year. So, why is there that expectation for writers?

Take a step back and refresh. Let the excitement bubble back in you again. Then hop to it. Learn more about the industry, improve your writing style, and accept that your first work may need a bit of tweaking before sending it out again.

Start that next project. Remember all the ideas which popped into your head that you didn’t have time to write because you were focused on the now completed work. Time to put those to paper. Surely you expected to write another book eventually, right? Now’s the time.

Querying Too Soon

A big piece of advice I read on so many blogs is: Don’t query too soon.

Sound advice, if you ask me. Did I query too soon? You betcha! You dork, some might say. 🙂 So why did I do it? Honestly? Lack of knowledge. Really, there is so much advice out there…great advice! Problem is, new authors don’t always realize what they don’t know. Hey! That’s me. I know it frustrates agents; I see the blog posts all the time about some faux pas a novice writer made–a mistake I likely made over the last several months. All of them are screaming, “LISTEN, DAMN IT!” or darn it for some.

Really it’s a shame. The information is out there. Trust me! I’ve run across so much I didn’t know. And I cringe every time I pick up a new piece of information which shows I’ve flubbed again. I have so many burning bridges for Shadow Cat, I have to toss it to agents from a distance these days. Here, catch! Thankfully those bridges mend themselves when it comes to new projects. 🙂

So! You’ve queried too soon. Now what? I’ll tell you what! Do more research! Make those revisions! Write more! and get back out there and query (but hopefully not too soon). 🙂

Are you one of the naive ones who’s queried too soon? Share your story.