An Exclusive Invitiation

Since I’m pretty open on this blog–especially when it comes to my bygone attempts to be a “traditionally published author” I’m going to discuss an e-mail received this evening…

In the past few month, since I finished my book and started this blog, I’ve embraced my moniker of “Indie Author”…it’s sort of my thing…a thing I never really intended, but adore nonetheless.  I went into writing, when I decided to publish, wanting to be traditional, thinking that if I managed to push open to gates to the literary world, I’d feel legit.  Give me an advance, an agent, an editor, a thick hardcover, an e-file, a trade paper back and a contract that encouraged me to keep writing.  It would be success, I would be a success.  Let’s be frank, that’s the carrot I was chasing.

Those were my grass root wants.

The reality was something very, very different.  But, I like to believe I embraced it.  My new wants and needs are something different–maybe even more exciting.

So that brings us here….

This evening while I was checking my e-mail, I noticed an “exclusive invitation” from one of the agent’s I queried before.  She had said no to me and my book, and I moved that reply to the trash along with all the other rejections.  But today…that agent reached out again.  Only this time, it wasn’t about my book–but about my query.

What she is offering me is this…

For $50.00, she’ll edit my query, read the first 20 pages of my book, help me use my author-voice to make a salable agent-friendly finished, polished, mainstream product.  No, she’s not going to represent me…no, she doesn’t want too. It’s unethical according to the AAR. But, she does want to help.  She wants to give me industry relevant feedback.  That’s all.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

Self published authors are saying…NO, NO, NO…RUN AWAY.

But I wonder…can it really be that bad?  What are the risks?  Do they outweigh the gain?  Can learning to be better–even at cost–be that bad?

The thing is, all of this (every little bit, in every little corner, in every little room) is new.  I’m not a seasoned professional, I’m hardly a paraprofessional, I’m hacking away at this whole “author” thing every single day.  And the truth of the matter is this: it’s not easy.  Every little bit of advice, kindness, help…it matters, it makes a whole world of difference.  It’s where I build confidence to keep going when doors and windows are closing.

I’m getting better at what I do because I’ve sought the people who are already good at those things.  I’m learning.  I’m growing.  I’m figuring out what my potential is by taking the chances required to discover that.

It’s true..what they say…nothing is free.  I pay for a book cover, an editor, press releases…why wouldn’t I pay for a working professional to look at my query with the eyes of an editor?  It’s just not an opportunity every author has…I just happened to query one agent who, although not willing to take me on as a client, is still willing to work with me to make me a better author.  $50.00 won’t break me…but missing the chance to learn…well, that might just be my undoing.

I’m curious.  I wrote this book, I think it’s good–this is my chance to find out why she didn’t agree.  What did I miss?  Where was I lacking?  If she can show me those things, then–although I don’t believe I’ll continue querying– I can jog the lesson to blurb crafting moving forward.

I’m going into this applying the motto that I’ve lived by since the start…nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Stay tuned as this trip takes a whole new turn…I’ll post a follow-up blog where I’ll share my before meets after.  Hopefully we can all learn from this.

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Put Down The Pen…

Here is what I’m finding… I’m becoming “content obsessive”…I unearth myself worrying about if she shrugged or maybe she looked up at the ceiling, did she say that or just think it…should I spell it out in detail or let the conversation speak for itself (no pun intended).

Basically, the longer the story stays in my hands, the more editing I find myself doing.

Great!  You say to yourself, she’s taking this seriously.

And yes, I am.

But, here’s the problem…I’m approaching the red zone…the place where I’m cresting dangerously close to 100,000 words, and as anyone knows–that’s the limit.  Unless, of course, you’re writing an epic, historical novel, spanning the length of time…which, by the way, I’m not…my feet are firmly planted in the light, breezy world of Chick Lit.  

Stephiene Meyer once said, that even with the extravagant success of Twilight, she still looks at her book and would change things.  As a fan of the series (Edward is my hunk of sparkly stone ::swoon::) I can’t imagine how it could be better.  I know she’s caught a lot of flack for her writing style and the prose of it–but as a reader, I don’t worry those things, I am way too caught up in the world she created and the beauty of it.  Whatever her flaws may be (imagined or otherwise) she did something really, really right.  How could she possibly change a thing and make it better?  It’s amazing, as is.

Maybe that’s the hex of the writer.  The responsibility of the author.  The nagging feeling that it could always be just a little bit better.  I feel accountable for my characters.  I want them to resonate with a reader, and give them a chance to really make an impact with their own gravitational pull.

We’ve all read the “sizzle-less steak” novel.  The book that almost goes there, but not quite.  I don’t want to be that author who could have gone there, wanted to go there, and failed.  It’s an abject fear of mine.

I guess the thing is this…I’m a writer, or trying to be a writer, not an editor.  I’m a reader, not someone who can critique a book with the facts to back it up, I can only go forward with gut reaction and feeling.  I write like I speak, I didn’t go to college (well, I did…but dropped out because math is H.A.R.D hard) so I don’t know where the exact placement of a is coma all the time.  And I over think it.  But what I give away when I send this book out into the world–that’s me.  Those are my thoughts, my words, my story.  And I want it to be fantastic, edge of your seat, blow your mind, make you think, inspire you to feel, good.  I want to write a good book.

So…in closing…every time I think it’s time to put down the pen, I don’t…I pick it up and make one or two or ten more tweaks, because that’s me…I’m a tweaker.

But, just incase I ever go overboard…I read this article…

http://www.theonion.com/articles/novelist-has-whole-shitty-world-plotted-out,21193/