Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Writer's Life: A Look Back at 2016

Oh man! It’s driving me crazy that I missed posting last Wednesday, December 28th. Christmas and guests and running around doing this and that really cut into my writing time. Sorry dear reader!

Kristen Lamb, a writing blogger I follow, says she has four posts ready to go at all times. If I work hard, maybe I can do that and avoid missing a Wednesday post. I plan to spend my afternoon in front of this computer and try to do just that!

Today is the second-to-last day of 2016. At the end of each year, I take stock. I look at my accomplishments, as well as the happy/good and sad/bad personal events of the year. I always set goals for the upcoming year
Courtesy of Google Images

So, to get a picture of the writing life accomplishments of moi, I will share some of what’s been going on- as unspectacular as it is.

To date, I’ve sent query letters for THE INK OF TIME to six different agents. A query letter is an introduction. It gives potential agents a sense of what the book is about and includes a short author bio. Query letters need to be well written (no errors) and succinct. The letter’s job is to hook the agent, to get him/her to take a minute to think about the project.

I’m proud of the fact that I’ve gotten feed-back from three of the six agents. I think a 50% take-a-minute-look are pretty good odds. I believe it means I’m on to something with this ol’ story. Of course none of them want/need my project, but hey, it’s a start. In fact, the last agent I queried was on November 29th, so technically it’s not an ‘I'll pass on this’ until I haven’t heard anything from her agency within three months. (Yes, it is a very long process!)

While you may wonder, “Nadine, why only six?” the answer is this. I will not send out a mass mailing. I’ve read enough information to know that doing so would be a waste of my time. Agents want writers (authors!) who have researched and “know” them. So I comb through the internet looking for interviews, blog posts, and whatever else I can find to use in my query letter about that specific agent.

I went to a program where Gary W. Moore, author of Playing with the Enemy spoke of his journey to get published. He sent seventy-two (!) query letters before he got a bite. I think he’s published two more books since then. He’s just a regular guy, living in the Chicago suburbs. If he can do it, so can I!

This year, I’ve learned how to write a synopsis of my novel. The purpose of a synopsis is to tell the WHOLE story in short. It’s not easy to do. I had to decide what information must be included so that it was interesting and had a complete story line. I took my 51,000 word manuscript and created a less than 1,000 word synopsis. GAA!

Last March was the first time I felt ready to send out my story. I found out that every manuscript has to be formatted in the exact same way. There’s actually a formula to follow and luckily, I found a tutorial video on YouTube that I used to format my manuscript. Because agencies are inundated daily by writers wanting representation, something as benign as formatting “irregularities” can get a story thrown in the rejection pile.

In October, I joined a Quad Cities based writing group. That was a very scary move for me. I’m still kind of feeling my way. They’re all very positive, supportive people, but I’m just not totally comfortable yet.
Courtesy of Google Images.

That’s about it for now. I’m going to keep on keeping on.

Happy New Year!

Until next time,
Be Good to Yourself.


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