megwrites: Beast, from Beauty & The Beast looking coiffed and unhappy. (WTF?)
So, the agency that was being referred to in the article that started #YesGayYA has said that the authors (Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown) were lying about their article and that (direct quote): "these authors have exploited the topic."

I've read both, and while I can't know the precise words said in these conversations, I can say that I'm more than a little suspicious and unconvinced by anyone who's defense is this statement:

Our second bit of editorial feedback was that at least two POVs, possibly three, needed to be cut. Did one of these POVs include the gay character in question? Yes. Is it because he was gay? No. It’s because we felt there were too many POVs that didn’t contribute to the actual plot.

The thing is, it's not enough to say "oh, but we also wanted these straight characters reduced/cut out/etc" and then think that it's enough. Because it feels a lot like the intention argument and the "but I did this to a [insert privileged group] person, too!" arguments I am beyond weary of.

There was a damn good point made, and it's obviously been missed.

In which I alternate between analysis and rage on the issue. )

ETA: For the sake of accuracy and fairness, it should be noted (as is stated here) that the agent who made the defensive post, Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, is not the agent in question who had the discussion with authors Sherwood and Brown. Rather, Joanna Stampfel-Volpe was merely an agent speaking on behalf of the agency.
megwrites: Dualla from BSG. Dualla > EVERYONE ELSE.  (dualla)
Authors Say Agents Try to “Straighten” Gay Characters in YA by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith.

You need to read all the words in this, and you need to think very carefully about it. Especially if you work with or want to work with the big names in the U.S. publishing industry.

The money quote?

The overwhelming white straightness of the YA sf and fantasy sections may have little to do with what authors are writing, or even with what editors accept. Perhaps solid manuscripts with LGBTQ protagonists rarely get into mainstream editors’ hands at all, because they are been rejected by agents before the editors see them. How many published novels with a straight white heroine and a lesbian or black or disabled best friend once had those roles reversed, before an agent demanded a change?

This does not make for better novels. Nor does it make for a better world.

Let’s make a better world.

I have no doubt (and by no doubt, I mean I've heard the stories) of the same happening in adult genres as well in the NYC-centric U.S. publishing industry.

This is what I mean when I get angry about what's on the shelves, when I talk about the lack of diversity in the genres of fiction that I read. This is also why I get really furious in discussions about agents and submissions when agents want to claim that it is "just business" and don't want to have the discussions about how they, as a group, are engaging in these shenanigans either by asking people to straight/whiten/etc their characters or just by rejecting things out of hand.

This is why I laugh when people pretend like editors and agents are always acting as benevolent gatekeepers who only let the best manuscripts get through, and that people who don't get published obviously just weren't good enough. This is why my opinion and the way I look at self-published works has really changed in the last few years.

This is why I can open a book and see certain specific genre agents' names in the acknowledgements and know better than to bother because I can actually, physically track the books that I've hated, the books that have been chock full of racist, sexist, queer hating ickiness and see that a lot of those books were all handled by the same agent.

This is part of the reason why I've very much stopped believing that getting a mainstream publishing contract is actually even anything to strive for and have largely shelved the idea that my writing career should center around such hopes.

Because in the last few years, I've really had my eyes opened to the fact that it doesn't just take a good book to get a deal and some sales - because things aren't that fair. Because there are a lot of people - agents, editors, etc - who are literally weeding out diversity because they only care about straight, white readers, who don't think that the queer/POC/disabled/etc reader even count.

If you ever wondered why I'm perpetually angry, or why when people talk about e-book prices, book sales, and piracy that I feel like ripping furniture to shreds because there are so many layers of fuckery going on that it can never just be a simple case of anything - you know why now. Because of things like this.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
This link Ten Rules for Writing has been circulating around my f-list for quite sometime. It's a collection of writing "rules" from various authors.

I almost didn't click the link because the idea of writing rules is something I despise absolutely. But I did.

Thoughts about writing rules and on the querying writer-agent relationship. )
megwrites: Beast, from Beauty & The Beast looking coiffed and unhappy. (beauty&thebeast)
Author Cherie Priest ([ profile] cmpriest) has a great post about What authors do and do NOT control about books, and I think this is a good thing for people, especially those outside the publishing business, to read. What is most important, especially for those of us who are already painfully aware that the author has little control over the covers, distribution, and price of a book are these two things:

Things Authors Mostly Control

The words. Yes, we are subject to editorial review, revision, and rewriting. Absolutely — and sometimes, quite a lot of it. But we are responsible for the content, and we usually have some negotiating room with regards to how it is handled.

How we present ourselves to the audience. What we wear, the language we use, and the level of accessibility we offer — both online and in person — these are things within our purview.

Whatever else we cannot control, the words are ours. The stories are ours. It's frustrating, but in the end, you do what you can and you make sure you're always writing the best story possible, because that's your job. You're not the editor, marketer, agent, or bookseller. You're the writer.

Another link is this one, The five rules of getting a book deal. I don't disagree inherently with any of the article's content, I just really hate the title. Anyone who tells me the "rules" for writing, or the "rules" for getting published, or the "rules" for a bestseller gets on my last good nerve. Why?

Because there really are no rules in writing or publishing. There are things that work and things that don't. Yes, some strategies (networking, researching) have a much higher probability of getting you a positive result than others. Some strategies (arguing with agent rejections, asshattery on the internet) have no probability of getting you a positive result.

But there are no rules. If they were rules, it would mean that all you had to do was follow five simple steps and Ta-Da! Book Deal! It doesn't work like that. You can do all five and fall flat on your face repeatedly. Some people get lucky and their book is good enough that they send it in, an agent loves it, and somebody that's never attended a convention or workshop in their life gets a deal. There are cases where the agent doesn't enter the equation until the writer is already in talks with the publisher (it's happened).

I get that "Five Probable Strategies That Have Been Shown To Be Successful In Many Cases Over Time for Getting A Book Deal" isn't as snappy - but let's not call them rules. Because there are no rules. Especially for #1. "Write Something Extraordinary" is a sentence in which every single word is a case of extreme YMMV (your mileage may vary).

Also, the article is missing something. And that something are the words: "Getting book deal does not mean you are a successful writer. That's a whole other mountain you have to scale. Repeatedly."

Meanwhile, [ profile] jaylake has posted the rather funny The larval stages of the common American speculative fiction writer. I confess that I've gone through all the stages except the last one. Also note his quick little footnote about the new environmental perils to the modern larval American speculative fiction writer. Most aptly:

2. During my own larval phases as a writer, we did not have the Internet we have today. When I was enraged at a rejection or convinced of the banal evil of publishing, I didn't have the conveniences of email or a blog with which to project my ass hattery for the review and amusement of the entire publishing field. All I could do was bitch to my workshop buddies over beer and burgers. Today's aspiring writers have so much more opportunity to achieve high name recognition prior to ever (or never) selling their work, thanks to these new technologies. And with Google, that ass hattery is permanently recorded for future generations to remember you by! Isn't the future awesome?

Remember, my fellow larvae, our habitat is perilous. The population of petards upon which we might find ourselves hoisted (notably our own) has greatly increased. I suggest taking a cue from those you have pupated already: if you've gotta vent, go the buddies, beers, and burgers route. Or: bitch, moan and wine (just not on the internet). And for your information, nothing takes the edge off defeat like a nice, full bodied, well rounded Shiraz.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
Something else to tack onto last night's post about American Idol and writers.

After watching the auditions, I now want to smack every writer who's ever argued with a rejection letter from an agent or editor. Seeing people argue with the judges was as bad for me as the horrible singing. Possibly worse.

Disappointment sucks, but you know what? So far, I've never heard of anyone getting to the next round or getting an agent deal by arguing with a rejection. So seriously, my fellow writers, take your polite "sorry, no, not for us" and move on. Because you are why we can't have nice things.

Oh, and if you're lucky enough to get some personal feedback? For the love of cheese and crackers, do not argue or make the agent regret ever having reached out to you, because then you've just messed it up for everyone who comes in behind you!

Okay, now I've gotta go do that writing and looking for a job thing that I do.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
I just discovered that I started Invisible!Book about twenty pages early, and that it should start around the middle of chapter two. Luckily, I discovered this 6,000 words in rather than 30,000 words in like I did with Soul Machines. I'd be writing faster, but, my computer is in it's death throes. *sigh*

I want to write faster, because I feel like I'm failing right now in all aspects of this and I really don't want to fail.

But enough about me, have some links:

Conventions and Writing, or Schmoozing 101 by Mary Robinette Kowal - a good guide for networking and interacting for writers at conventions. Since one of my biggest New Year's Resolutions is to network with writing and publishing folk and not just on LJ or the interwebs, this is really useful stuff. Especially since I've never been to a convention, ever. (Thanks to the ever-awesome [ profile] ecmyers for the link via Twitter).

Alien Water World found. Kind of awesome science stuff. I'd never heard of ice-seven, but now I just have to use it in a story somewhere because it just too awesome. I didn't realize there were different types of ice to begin with, but apparently there are many ice phases, even up to an Ice XV. Wow, they keep making ice like Saw sequels. Subway Map. A very useful tool that I can't believe I'm just now discovering, but it's actually better than Google Maps for getting places. I mention it because those of you who write about NYC but don't live here might find it useful if you need to plot a character's travel route through the Big Apple. It plots the route for you, so you can see what landmarks your character might pass.
megwrites: Shakespeared! Don't be afraid to talk Elizabethan, or Kimberlian, or Meredithian! (shakespeared!)
My computer is finally starting to say it's long goodbye, which is putting a cramp in how much writing I can get done. Cut for those who do not care about my technological woes )

Woke up to a rejection in the inbox. It was a very nice form rejection that included an apology for sending a form rejection. It made me smile, because while that's a very sweet gesture, I don't think any agent should feel the need to apologize for a form rejection. The fact that you bother to send any notification of rejection is actually quite generous on your part. So it's like saying, "I apologize for being extra nice!"

Query Score Card update time! The score is changing not only to reflect the rejections I've gotten, but that I found yet another agent who accepts fantasy that I missed when I re-checked.

Requests - 2 (1 full, 1 partial)

Rejections - 3

Timed Out - 0 (from round 3. All of round 2 has timed out, rejected, or requested)

Still Pending - 4

I'm thinking of posting the agents I've found, thus far, that accept SF/F fiction along with a more specific list of what they have/do accept. I know other lists like this are out there, so would it be helpful to anyone else if I did this or no?

I've found that a lot of agents who will look kindly on vampires, werewolves and leather-clad heroines have no interest in science fiction or higher end fantasy, and I think it's a bit deceptive on the part of some search engines to say that a writer accepts "fantasy" - because that's like saying, for example, that Scott Lynch and Laurell K. Hamilton are writing the exact same thing and if you've ever read The Lies of Locke Lamora or any of the Merry Gentry or Anita Blake series, you know they're not.
megwrites: Shakespeared! Don't be afraid to talk Elizabethan, or Kimberlian, or Meredithian! (shakespeared!)
Yes, I'm spamming you. Don't worry, the flood should cease soon.

All this talk of Agent Appreciation Day has reminded me that I haven't updated the Query Score Card yet.

I've found another agent to submit to thanks to the SF/F agents thread at AbsoluteWrite - one caveat about the thread though. That list includes agents under the heading of SF/F who only represent paranormal or supernatural romance. Which is great, but if you're querying a space opera or a sword 'n sorcery type novel, they're not for you. So, as always, do your research!

The Card as stands:

Requests - 2 (1 full, 1 partial)

Rejections - 2

Timed Out - 0

Still pending - 4

I'm not expecting to hear from anyone before the end of the year, even those who have the full/partial in their hands. I figure with a scant two weeks to go before Christmas, a lot of people probably won't be touching queries until the New Year's Resolutions Flood comes in. Plus, holiday shopping and vacations and family time (which agents definitely deserve!), so I'm pretty much going to try to ignore my inbox except for a once daily check until 2010.

In non-query news, I've gotten nearly 5000 words on Invisible!Book, which is good and I think I know what happens after the first third of the book. I know the beginning and end and the middle is sort of going to have to come together, I think. It's the one part of the outline that is most vague for me.

Now that I don't have jury duty (it's over, yay!), I can get going on getting to chapter three, which I where I want to be by the end of this month, and thus this year. I'd like, ideally, to have the first draft of this book knocked out by Valentine's and have a second draft that's in queryable shape by the end of spring, start of summer. I think that's a reasonable time frame, all things considered.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
First with the bad this time:

Science-fiction author Peter Watts was detained and beaten at the U.S.-Canada border. Quoting from the article:

When Peter got out of the car and questioned the nature of the search, the gang of border guards subjected him to a beating, restrained him and pepper sprayed him. At the end of it, local police laid a felony charge of assault against a federal officer against Peter. On Wednesday, he posted bond and walked across the border to Canada in shirtsleeves (he was released by Port Huron officials with his car and possessions locked in impound, into a winter storm that evening). He's home safe. For now. But he has to go back to Michigan to face the charge brought against him.

This is completely unacceptable and a clear violation of civil rights. There's a defense fund for Dr. Watts and donations can be sent (according to the BoingBoing article) via PayPal to

Another good link is here about the incident, [ profile] pecunium, Root and Branch. Definitely worth you reading. Because having a different president doesn't mean that all the ugliness of the old administration is gone.

And for a bit of good. Today is Agent Appreciation Day! While I don't have an agent (but would dearly like to), I definitely enjoy seeing people share the many wonderful things their agents do for them as writers.

I may not have an agent, but I know that I've received a lot of great advice, help, and pointers from agents who went out of their way to be extra kind, even when rejecting me. They didn't have to be, but they were. I'm much better for it, and hopefully am sending out a stronger manuscript than I had in hand a year or two ago.

As a writer? I can say that such advice as "you give away too much information in the prologue" is worth it's weight in gold coming from an agent - and for such advice I'm thankful to so many. And yes, that definitely does include Colleen Lindsay. I disagree vehemently with the things she says online sometimes (still do), but I won't deny that her help was invaluable in shaping up the Tower!Guy manuscript. She didn't have to go out of her way, but she did. I'm sorry there's not a day to say "Thank you even though I'm not your client" - because I'd like to do that. I imagine I'm probably not the only unpublished nobody she's reached out to, and if you're someone who's benefitted from her free-of-charge, keen-sighted hardwork, I'd recommend sending up a flag.

I also owe thanks to other agents who rejected the Tower!Guy novel and gave bits of feedback, even if they were a sentence or two on how they felt about the protagonists or the plot or the setting. Or heck, even just some advice about the market and about who is and isn't looking for my type of book.

Like I said, you wouldn't believe the benefit of having someone say something as simple as, "Your plot slows down in the middle" or "Your protagonist cries too much". Not always easy to swallow, but they help you hone in on where you need to improve that book and whatever books you write in the future.

So to those many agents who have been so kind, who I have not thanked personally because it would clog their already crowded inboxes - I salute you.

If you do have an agent that's done you a good turn, go and add their name to the list. We need to recognize the good guys and gals in this industry.
megwrites: Shakespeared! Don't be afraid to talk Elizabethan, or Kimberlian, or Meredithian! (shakespeared!)
I'm proud of myself. I've had jury duty the last two days and managed to get approximately 1100 words written long hand on Invisible!Book despite that and I'm moving on to another chapter, yay! Of course, I had lots of time to kill so maybe it isn't that amazing after all.

Sitting there getting all the nice speeches about how patriotic and necessary and heroic it is to serve on a jury, it occurred to me that a lot of industries and businesses have a "Bill of Rights". For instance, if you take taxi cabs in NYC you'll see a Bill of Rights for passengers.

Maybe what the publishing industry needs is a Bill of Rights for writers (published or unpublished), and agents. I think it might really help if there were a universal standard, especially considering that this is an industry that can, at times, make working relationships feel adversarial, as though the people who are supposed to be working together are working against each other.

If I were composing a bill of rights for the industry, some items I would add and reasons why )

So what say you, internets? If you were helping me draft this wonderful Bill of Rights, what would you add or take out?
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
Because Friday is for nothing if not walking around the internet picking up shiny things.

John Scalzi talks about his short fiction rates and author Catherynne M. Valente replies by discussing her short fiction rates. Definitely a good couple of posts about rates, the market, and making a living in this business.

Justine Musk talks about writing like a bad girl in Part One and Part Two of her "Why You Need To Write Like a Bad Girl".

My favorite line of the two posts: "Because bad girls get to go everywhere." That my friends, is one excellent statement.

[ profile] raecarson has an interesting discussion going about YA and what it is. I, of course, have strong feelings on the matter. But mostly, I just want YA to continue being a genre that under-18 readers can turn to for awesome books that are for them. Like I said in comments there. If there's ever a time in your life when you need really awesome books - it's when you're a kid.

And just for fun, The worst SF movies of the decade (also by John Scalzi). I pretty much agree with all his choices, though I'm wondering why none of the made-for-TV movies that SciFi (sorry, SyFy) puts out are on that list. Any "bad movie" compilation that does not include Mansquito is incomplete if you ask me.
megwrites: Shakespeared! Don't be afraid to talk Elizabethan, or Kimberlian, or Meredithian! (shakespeared!)
I've made some good progress on writing the first draft of my new project which I will entitle, cryptically, Invisible!Book. Clocked in a respectable 2500 words yesterday and still plugging away for today.

I shelved what I was working on during NaNoWriMo and the Vampire Book O' Doom has been given it's walking papers for the moment.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Awesome 80-year-old grandma psychics who have to rescue their vampire fathers and do-gooding werewolves and mad scientists and silly Vampire Huntresses who's leather clothing makes fart sounds not withstanding, the vampire market is kind of tired right now.

If 2012 rolls around and we're not running from earthquakes in limos (ala John Cusack), I'll see what I can do about it.

As far as querying the Tower!Guy novel goes, round two has timed out except for a full and a partial that are floating in the ether with the respective agents who requested them. I figure that they'll probably not get back to me until after the New Year because I imagine they're inundated right now with post-Nano slush, and hey, agents gotta have lives, too, right?

Buuuuut, I did research a bit and I found five more agents to query to, so I'm restarting the Query Score Card for Round Three! I'm counting the two requests from Round Two on the card because a) I can, b) it makes me feel better and c) every other query from that round is either timed out or rejected and so that round is essentially over

Query Score Card - Round Three!

Request - 2 (1 full, 1 partial)

Rejections - 0 (expect this number to rise rapidly)

Timed Out - 0

Still Pending -5
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
I think agent Rachelle Gardner wins the internets for this post here, which was a follow up to yesterday's rather contentious post which got a lot of comments both positive and negative concerning writers who complain.

I have to commend her for really listening, even when it had to be really wince inducing to do so. I'd love to see more of this kind of thing from agents.

Also? I would love it if every agent set up an autoresponse system for queries. I don't mind a "no response equal rejection" policy if I have a way of knowing the email got there. A simple, "Your query has been received, if you don't get a response in [insert time frame], we aren't interested" would go a long, long way.
megwrites: Shakespeared! Don't be afraid to talk Elizabethan, or Kimberlian, or Meredithian! (shakespeared!)
I came across this post, entitled "Agent Query Policies: Stop the Griping" by Rachelle Gardner this morning while making my way around the usual places on the internet.

It's a good post. It's healthy for writers dealing with the inevitable frustration and teeth grinding anxiety that comes with submitting to remember that agents are busy, busy people. Long response times (or no response) is not a deliberate slight on their part. They're dealing with a day that only has 24 hours in it, and well, there's just only so much any human can do - and I do not think there is a single agent who deliberately keeps a longer response time than necessary or who withholds a response just to spite a writer. Non-response and long response times are the nature of the beast.

Remembering that agents are not trying to be rude can help with the frustration.

There is also a very important warning in that post, if you scroll down in comments. Agent Colleen Lindsay says, in this comment on the post,

I rejected a manuscript that I had been seriously considering last week because upon a cursory online search, I found a LiveJournal post by the author badmouthing me and several of my colleagues for what she thought were excessive response times. Well, that blog post cost her representation from at least one agent. (OH, and it was a LOCKED LibeJournal post. You do know that Google Reader doesn't respect locked posts, right? Well, you do now.)

This an extremely good warning to writers, and to all LiveJournal folk.

a) Google Reader does not respect locked posts at all. So what you think is private may not be private at all


b) Agents are reading your blog, they are paying attention, and they are Googling you. Be careful what you say on the internet, even when you think it's private.

That comment has scared the crap out of me. I don't think I've ever said anything that can be construed as badmouthing any particular agents, it definitely gave me pause. I wonder if my strong opinions have cost me representation. Have any agents looked at my blog and said, "Wow, this woman is mouthy and obnoxious. Reject!"

Some things I wouldn't mind getting rejected over. If an agent is so opposed to the idea that I fully and vocally support same-sex marriage rights, for example, its best we never work together.

Other things are not so simple. I was very outspoken about criticizing the proposed "new adult" category from St. Martin's, including being very critical of posts made about it. BTW, S. Jae-Jones earned a lot of respect from me for her response to my posts. I was probably far too harsh in some respects, but she handled it with considerable grace.

If an agent read those posts would they believe I'm difficult to work with?

If you are one of the agents who has or ever will have something by me under consideration, I'd like to say: I'm actually easy to work with. I take editorial direction well, I don't expect you to return calls or emails instantly, I understand that you're busy, I'm open to having anything I write torn apart for the sake of a better story, and I do try to conduct myself as a professional.

In the future, I'm definitely going to be twice as mindful of what I say online, even when I think it's private. Also, I'm possibly going to lodge a complaint with Google Reader for not respecting locked posts.

If you're also a writer querying about? I'd recommend the same.
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
Good on the SFWA for coming out with this statement denouncing Harlequin's self publishing imprint. And while we're at it, a pat on the back to the RWA for also not tolerating these shenanigans, either.

My hats off to both organizations and those that made the decisions. Especially the RWA. I can only imagine that it was not an easily reached decision on their part, but they acted correctly. Proving that the romance genre does, in fact, possess some of the most awesome people on God's green earth.

Frankly, I'm appalled that Harlequin would do this. It's so clearly a grab for money meant to prey on naive and desperate writers. It's little more than a confidence scheme. The name change tells me that Harlequin knows this and there is some sense of corporate guilt in knowing that they're basically trying to line their pockets on the desperation of the unpublished.

I'm reminded of the guiding principle of the con from Hu$tle, "Find someone who wants something for nothing and give them nothing for something."

[ profile] arcaedia also known as Jennifer Jackson, has a pretty good write up on it as well, and I echo her sentiments entirely.

There is a time and a place for self publishing, and it's for people who want to stay strictly amateur and have no interest in profits or distribution or recognition. Want to put out a cook book for your church bake sale? Self publish! Want to distribute some family stories and memories amongst relatives and loved ones? Self publish! Want to give a book of your short stories to a few friends who've asked to see them time and again? Self publish!

Yes, some have gotten extraordinarily lucky, but so have some people who buy lotto tickets. All the other millions who buy tickets just blow their money and have nothing to show for it.

When you want significant money and distribution to enter the equation, you need to work with other people on professional terms that ensure that you get compensated for your work.

Unfortunately, the self-publishing con doesn't want you to know this. They want you to think that you're cleverly by-passing those stodgy, elitist publishers and agents and editors who sit around cackling like the witches of endor while breaking the dreams of innocent, unpublished writers who are delicate, special little snowflakes that just need someone to recognize their snowflakeyness.

Those editors and agents and publishers are not some big scheme to break your heart that someone put there just to be mean. It's a system and an industry that functions the way it does because that's, more or less, what works best.

Yes, there are kinks in the system - but the fact that enough people make money (including writers) for it to be an industry should tell you that something.

Even if the industry went paperless and electronic tomorrow, agents, editors, and publishing companies would still exist in some form. The business of getting a lot of people to read this Really Great Book Over here still requires the same steps. Someone has to write the book, someone has to check that the book is actually good, someone has to distribute the book to places (virtual or real) where readers can acquire the book, and someone has to tell lots of people about the book so they will go to that place and buy it.

Which means that companies will still need to exist who profit from marketing and distributing books by having a wider network than a single author could muster on their own, and go-between agents will still exist to mediate between writers and those companies.

And that means that anyone who tells you that you, too, can be a famous author in a few easy steps just by paying a small free is still going to be giant crook. Even a big company like Harlequin.
megwrites: Shakespeared! Don't be afraid to talk Elizabethan, or Kimberlian, or Meredithian! (shakespeared!)
Got a super nice rejection in the inbox last night on one of the two fulls that's still circulating around. The agent said she loved a lot of things about it, but just couldn't put her full passion behind it.

This brings the score card to:

Requests - 2 (1 full, 1 partial)

Rejections - 8

Timed Out - 6

Still Pending - 0

Which means that round two is hanging by a thread. I don't intend to do another round of querying for this novel if it bats zero again, because I feel that I've revised and edited and reworked the story as much as I can. I look back on it and I still am not sure what I could change that significantly that would make the novel different enough to deserve re-querying it.

I've gotten a lot of "I loved so much about it, but..." which tells me that there's something good in the novel, and maybe some of that "I just can't give it enough passion" is more of a "I have no idea how I'd sell this sucker."

Of course, I could be telling myself that to feel better, but hey. Until someone tells me different, I may as well preserve what's left of my self esteem, right?

Plus, the pool of agents who even want to deal with fantasy is quite limited and I do think in this market there may not be anyone willing to take the chance on an unpublished author with no record.

So should it bat zero, I will start really researching and considering plans to podcast/post the novel. Because I want the story out there and I pretty much knew I wouldn't make any money on it to begin with. Thoughts anyone?
megwrites: Shakespeared! Don't be afraid to talk Elizabethan, or Kimberlian, or Meredithian! (shakespeared!)
This piece on GalleyCat asking Agents? Who needs 'em? sparked off a lot of controversy across the publishing sphere. The article posed the question about whether agents are becoming obsolete (or already are) with the advent of things like eBooks and Kindle.

I have to admit there was something of an anti-agent tone running through the piece, and there have been a lot of rebuttals:

Author Stacia Kane said: Yes, Virginia, you need an agent

Author Jeaniene Frost had some words to say as well

Miriam Goderich of the Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency responded that she also thinks agents are necessary an not going anywere

My thoughts on the subject, let me show them to you. Or, the answer is not a Yes/No dichotomy. )
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
Last night an agent emailed to request the full manuscript. I duly fired it off to him ASAP, and now I'm waiting on pins and needles for his reply.

Which brings the Query Score Card up to:

Rejections - 7

Requests - 3

Timed Out - 6

Still Pending - 3

And now is it nice to have some good news right now. Because it's been raining for two days solid and I'm very sore from trying new exercises and feel a bit crappy and still have a buttload left to write on Soul Machines before I move on to outlining my NaNoWriMo novel -- and really all I want to do curl up under a blanket and sit on the couch and watch reruns of Hu$tle or Leverage or something. Because only watching ridiculously hot people commit fabulous, over-plotted heists can heal my wounded soul.
megwrites: Dualla from BSG. Dualla > EVERYONE ELSE.  (dualla)
My good friend [ profile] vanessabrooks asked me via twitter: Why don't you buy the 1000 True Fans theory?.*

If you don't know what the 1000 true fans theory is, you can read about it here. It's, more or less, the idea that you can as an artist create a sustainable career if you have 1000 true fans willing to buy everything you produce (the number thrown around is $100 worth of stuff).

Simple math will tell you that 1000 fans buying 100 dollars worth of stuff gets you $100,000. Not bad, right?

Don't let Charlie Eppes fool you. Numbers can lie. Just like anything else that people use or create. Or why I don't buy into the 1000 true fans theory. )

*And in case I haven't introduced you to the addictive excellence of her web serial "Strange Little Band", let me do so now. This stuff is truly addictive in the way really good dark chocolate is addictive. Psychics and romance and shenanigans and some occasional lulz. It's got it all! Get thee hence to the website!
megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
How NOT to be a professional.

I'm getting tired of seeing other writers, especially aspiring ones like myself, take such an oppositional tack when it comes to agents. For all that agents are accused of thinking of us writers as barely worthwhile scum on their shoes, it seems like plenty of authors feel the same way about agents.

Plus, have you ever heard of a writer arguing with a rejection and getting a positive result? Getting representation? Getting a book deal? I haven't yet, and I'd be surprised if it's ever happened in the history of modern publishing.

When it comes to dealing rejection, I suggest allowing yourself to feel what you're feeling. After nearly 35 rejections (since April) of the current novel out on query, I certainly am feeling a lot of things, not all of them warm and fuzzy. Feel frustrated, upset, depressed, even angry. But no matter what you feel. No matter how sorely disappointed you are, ACT professionally.

Your feelings are your own, and I don't believe in listening to anyone who tells you what is and isn't right to feel. I don't believe in telling writers, "don't take it personally". Telling a writer not to take it personally is like telling water not to be wet. You invest years of your life in something, it's personal. Feeling like you're helpless when it comes to the fate of a manuscript you've had total control over can send you around the bend.

However, these feelings should not dictate your actions. Be as emotional as you like, but do not ACT out of those emotions. Act out of professionalism. And for the record? Professionalism is just another word for mutual respect. Your feelings are not an agent's business, but your actions are. There's no rule that says that you must actually be smiling on the inside when you grin and bear it - but that doesn't excuse you from grinning and bearing it like an adult.

Whether or not you feel professional, act that way. Because that's how you'll become one.

Speaking of rejections, I got a shiny new one in the inbox. This brings the Query Score Card up to:

Rejections: 7

Requests: 1

Timed Out: 2

Still Pending: 8

ETA: Borked math on the Query Score Card.

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