Saturday, February 26, 2011

Days 174 and 175 - Agent submission!

I know that I said that I was going to rant more about the publishing industry, but yesterday I took the plunge and submitted something to an agent!

I've never been so absolutely terrified, hopeful, cautious and obsessive about checking my email all at the same time. Of course, it might take months to hear back, but I can't help the fact my heart beats a little faster every time I see I have new email. Then I have to remind myself that my chances of being accepted are small anyhow given the sheer number of submissions they get and not to get my hopes up.

I'll be trying to work on my job application (...sigh - I hate selection criteria) and my mind will just be whispering "But what if you get accepted? What if THIS is the start of everything? You'd be a published author! You'll make thousands.. well, HUNDREDS of dollars! You could totally buy some cool stuff with that money..." And then by the time I stop daydreaming lunch is over and I have to go back to work.

And while I have a problem with the fact that while I'm daydreaming, I'm not writing, I love to just spend half an hour pretending I won $32 million at lotto. I'd buy my husband a mini (he wants one with a British flag painted on the roof...I know.) I'd build my own house that has a 50m swimming pool and a library that goes up three floors and has those awesome sliding ladders around the walls. And then I'd get all my friends to take leave with pay and take them on a world tour in our own private jet (or maybe cruise ship) - stopping at Venice for Carnivale, Cannes for the Film Festival, Los Angles for Disneyland, the beach for fun etc.

Gah! I just did it again! See what I mean? Living out the future in your head sounds nice, but I've got to stop letting it get in the way of, you know, actually doing things. Tomorrow I have a nice full day of writing and studying planned! Should be excellent!

Word count - 0

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 173 - Who you gonna call?

There are a couple of real problems with the way authors are treated by the industry, and it's one where most of the people who could do anything to fix it see it as firmly ensconsed in a Somebody Else's Problem field.

Picture books are something everyone thinks they can write, mostly because the very best picture books have text that is deceptively simple. It's like poetry, but it has to jump the hurdles of making some kind of sense, being interesting to a toddler and not being patronising or pedestrian. As a consequence, agents and publishers are innundated with tidal waves of slush to sift through in order to find the next Maurice Sendak or Pamela Allen. (I love Pamela Allen - I really get into reading Bertie and the Bear to my son and Who Sank the Boat? is still one of my favourite books)

And so these people build walls and barriers and hoops and hurdles, all designed to discourage the idle wannabes who wrote a story about their kid going to the shops. The problem is that, looking at it from the other side, the wall they've built sometimes seems inpenetrable.

In Australia at present, as far as I have been able to discover, there are two publishers who accept unsolicited picture book manuscripts from unpublished authors. One of those has a waiting list of four months, and the other has a list of documents you need to send through that make it feel like you're applying for a bank loan. On the agent side of the fence, there is ONE registered agent who currently accepts picture book submissions, and I'm not even 100% certain about that.

So what are you supposed to do? You've written an excellent book, you're sure it's great - you go to the publishers, and none of them will even look at it. Most of the publishers have something akin to "Sorry, we're not accepting submissions at present, but you can contact your local writer's centre for information on how to get published." The problem is, no where else is accepting either, so what are the writer's centres supposed to tell you?

At the moment I've got two options, and I'll give those my best shot first. But at the end of the day, there is a real problem with how the industry deals with aspiring writers. I'll say more on that in my post tomorrow.

Word count - 550

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Days 159 to 172 - Second Draft - Complete!

I have worked so hard over the last few weeks, all I really want to do is curl up and fall asleep! But instead I sit and pretend to write while I'm really chatting to people on the Romance Writers of Australia forum :-)

The 5DI competition entries closed last week. I took two days off work to get my entry done in time, but even then I was pushing it. Not to mention that I stuffed up and sent the wrong file through when I did enter! That was a bit of a nightmare - I accidentally sent in the draft where my henchman was still called by his placeholder name of Genghis!

Nevertheless, I got a lot of writing done and I'm really happy with it. If I don't get into the 5DI (the more likely scenario) then I'll just do a third draft, a polish and start sending it through to agents. Either way, it's going to be a very exciting second half of the year!

At the moment I'm working on a Regency romance between a woman in debtor's prison and one of the guards. It's really started well, but I'm rapidly approaching the part where I'm going to have to start winging it. That's fine - sometimes I write absolute gold when I have no idea what happens next. Sometimes, however, it just means I have to rewrite half the novel in the second draft!

Word count - 28,169 FTW :-)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Days 146 to 158 - Argg! (And cute kitten photos)

Why is it so hard to get back in the habit??

Well, back to keeping on trying.... And be distracted by cute kitten photos!

Word count - 1,973