Friday, April 29, 2011

The pity party is over, but the contest isn’t!

Some of you guys are awesome, but the contrary soul crushing blog posts I have been posting the past few days—they are mostly long forgotten to me. I still get mad about my personal failures but it doesn’t have a grip on me anymore. I’ve moved on.

The end of the month is near! But you still have a couple of days to follow me (and comment) for your chance to win an Amazon gift card.

Details below.

Also, next month I start 30 days of PIGMENTS OF MY IMAGINATION. So see you for that on the 1st. Until then, tell your friends, make them tell their friends. This is only the first of many awesome give a ways!

BLOG FOLLOWER CONTEST:

I am going to give away an Amazon gift card. I will add .50  for each follower up to 200 followers or $100. Contest ends April 30th. To win, you must be a blog follower, and you must comment on at least one blog post. You can receive a new entry for every post you make a comment on, but only one per blog post.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Contrary Ken & The Ultimate Revise & Resubmit Spectacle

I struggled with this, because I was thinking I might just copy and paste parts of the e-mails I received from agents, not revealing their names or agencies of course! So that you could get a clear view, but in an effort to save space and not shoot myself in the foot I’m just going to paraphrase.

Let’s say Agent Bob, who works at one of those holy grails of lit agencies contacts me and says: My writing is good, my story is essentially great, he points of 4 plot points he considers less than perfect. AND he says HE is totally into the idea of this sort of hipster anti-hero/hero. BUT he thinks Barneby Knotts is all his wild adventures and attitude comes off most of the time as being 17-18-19 when if you look up and catch the pitch. He is 15 going on 16. He asks if we can work together on an unagented revision.

Go Google that, and then all the happily ever afters. This is not one of them.

I am about to type in a “Heck yeah Mr.Da MAN” email when honestly less than 45 min after the first email I received another from a different kind of agent.

Lets say Agent Jane Doe, who runs her own small agency DISAGREES with everything Agent Bob says. Say she thinks my hero comes off at maybe 13, and that I should make him younger. Cut 10k words, tells me my writing is not quite there yet BUT does actually agree that most of my story is good. Wishes the anti hero wasn’t such an ass.

Agent Jane Don’t Wanna Know sent me 7 pages of changes. Wants me to revise and resubmit.

Later- another female agent from a medium sized agency correlated a lot of What Agent Jane Doe told me, that agent to this day is still in my top five. I have no idea if gender plays a role in how agents relate to character ages, but I’d have to say yes.

Now, here is where I screwed up. It wasn’t that I sent out too many queries to begin with, and it came back to bite my miserable butt. The original queries were sent months from each other, and I mentioned to all agents I sent material in to that other people were looking.

The problem was, I tried to do both sets of revisions at the same time. Which was nasty. One of them was in first person (it was originally 3rd) they were both +/- 10k from the original. I didn’t sleep for days. It wasn't there ideas that destroyed my book, but it was that I had no idea how to implement some of them—and that maybe some of them shouldn’t have been there to begin with.

Just because something isn’t working in a book doesn’t always mean their idea is the right one.

Is their a moral to this story? Yes, it’s don’t screw up your chances. Good luck with that. Don’t be me when you grow up. I have been saying I wanted to share this story since I started this blog, but still to this day I wish I could take it back, do it over.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mary Mary quite contrary, wont you please represent my book?

Last night over at http://www.writeoncon.com Jessica Sinsheimer did a LIVE QUERY event. It was pretty awesome. I learned a lot, and she powered on for an hour longer than she had too. In my opinion any of you guys would be lucky to have her.

There is no point in spreading false sunshine, she didn’t much care for my query. In fact she didn’t say much about it. She told me to cut the first line, because she said it was confusing. Told me I should write about pirates, because in the bio part of my query it says I used to be one (true story!) Then, she she went back and tried to connect me being a pirate to the rest of my book. I didn’t understand at first, why, but while I was questioning every decision in my life up until that point, a dear friend pointed out the line she told me to cut.

“Skeletons do regret.”

Does it look familiar? It should. Remember that awesome Twitter Pitch Contest I won from Shelley Watters blog with Agent Suzie Townsend? This one:

Skeletons do regret. Drowning was the easy part. The beautiful but ghastly bones of broken boys & false flesh are now Marlow's whole world.

My dear sweet, unqueried friend, that I love so VERY VERY much. Was pointing out, what I spent a year of my life living. No two agents like the same thing—like EVER. You shouldn’t take it personally, because it’s true, but if you are like me you wont be able to not.

Last Year Nathan Bransford (when still an agent- but who cares he is still awesome) wrote on his blog “How to Deal With Contrary Query Advice” here:

http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/09/how-to-deal-with-contradictory-query.html

It’s a fantastic starting place, but for what happened for me, this didn’t even scratch the surface.

The first book I ever queried, was a MG urban Fantasy, called Barneby Knotts. Here’s the pitch:

Barneby Knotts is fifteen, going sixteen, and he has the attitude to prove it. He comes from a long line of illustrious heroes and has epic amounts to live up to. In nothing but his hipster jeans and high-tops he will save the world, or something.

All this week, I am going to be talking about the contrary advice I received about Barneby Knotts. I am also going to talk about how I handled it completely wrong, and how that nearly destroyed me as a writer. No joke.

DON’T FORGET about the contest! Tell your friends!!
http://bit.ly/efKguO

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A measured moment.

I measure success, in crushed diet coke cans, and empty stylus’ of ink. I don’t measure success in the form of content as art is subjective. I don’t measure success by word count. Jimmy could write a 350,000 EPIC middle grade disaster. 300,000 words of which are probably the wrong words.

If you are a nobody writer like me, it’s hard to gauge what your level of success is. I’m 27, but I have wrote around thirty books. At some point in my life, that was enough to make me feel good about what I was doing. Damn good at that. Then, I became aware that I had written thirty books that no one had ever heard of.

And then nothing was enough. I could crank out 10,000 of the right words a day and I was still be a failure.

I measure my success, in my ability to do more with the same amount of hours as everyone else. I encourage this behavior, as I step over my pile of used pens. I wrote this whole blog in my head. If you will notice it’s becoming something of a trend. This time I was in the shower, gnawing off my nails because I couldn’t waste the time or energy to find the clippers. I haven’t bit my nails since the seventh grade when I discover I worked best under pressure, but they were slowing down typing, and we couldn’t have that.

I measure my success in half chewed, half moon crescents.

I measure my success. Make sure you know what you are doing is enough for you. Never let other people gauge your success, or tell you that you are less than you are.

This is likely the best advice I have ever given you.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I’d stab myself in the back, if my carpel tunnel wasn’t already keeping me up at night.

I am the self sabotaging type. I’ve convinced myself I can’t sleep, and since it’s likely true I wont. I wrote this whole thing in my head, as it lay on my favorite pillow. I turned on my laptop just before I could dream.

I will sleep in the nude tonight, if I sleep at all. Today everything restricts too much, cuts too much, is simply too much. My self made deadlines are upon me, and in a rush my soul lays withered, dead, before the line. It taunts me as I lie awake, insomnia my friend, please piss off. You are the worst sort of acquaintance, you don’t pay rent, you keep hours that no woman should, and you leave ruined words on crumpled bits of paper by my bed at night.

Tonight I read words that were not my own, and normally, as I don’t always do three pieces at once that’s normal. This week it’s borderline barbaric, but I needed sweet, sweet release.

I messaged my critique partner and said “My book sucks.” With a period and everything. The end. {I won’t tell you which book I was talking about.}

Then I grabbed the book I have been meaning to read for a week and dove in. If it had been a contest, I would have found myself being counted off for the splash. I must have read the first paragraph five times before I realized I wasn’t reading my own work, and there weren’t any missing commas.

You try turning of AngelaEditNow mode after a week. It can’t be done. If it could I wouldn’t be writing this blog in the middle of the night.

I wont tell you which book I’m reading but it’s a big to do book with a big to do writer, it had a lot of buzz.

The story is great, but AngelaEditNow finds all sorts of things she wants to change. Repetitive use of the word: Knives. The same mediocre descriptive phrase only a few pages a part to describe completely different events. Sentences that ruin the poetic feel of the words.

It’s not perfect, I realize on page 127, and I think I should have picked up on that before. Maybe the standards I set for myself, are so out there, even the people who make more money doing what I love-- even the people who are supposed to be ten times better than me-- maybe they aren’t.

Maybe I feel better now.

I am the self sabotaging type. I have convinced myself I can’t sleep, and since it’s not likely true, I will. I wrote this whole thing in my head in the dark, on my favorite pillow. I turned off my laptop just before I could dream.

Friday, April 15, 2011

How editing can make you physically ill, and alternatively why this table might be a euphemism for my life.

I can’t edit here. The table isn’t clean. But I can’t edit there (points) because there lies the internet. Sparkly, shinny, and containing a million things that aren’t editing.

Normally I camp in front of the computer. Pen twirling in my left hand like a bad evil villain's mustache, 140 Characters or less being cranked out with my right as I brainstorm what went wrong.

Then I fix it.

I’m cleaning the table. I’ve used wood cleaner and I like the smell, but I don’t like how it reflects the light from the ceiling fan. I don’t like faux sunshine, but apparently I’m ok with fake lemon scent.

None of that matters though, because now the table is too clean.

I clutter it up with every pen I can find and half a dozen notebooks I’d kill to be writing something new in. It’s not enough.

I find a vase of half wilted flowers, and plop it down in front of my laptop. My laptop that has been denied network access. Petals fall onto the keys below, and I think for a second I could write a poem about that. About decaying purple petals—my mind fills with metaphors for light and death and I like it, I smile, and then I stop.

You know what I should be doing? Sending my full manuscript to Suzie Townsend. But I can’t even read past the first paragraph, and I have to read it again before I send it.

I can’t read past the first paragraph because the table is too clean. There are too many buts. It isn’t Monday, and I’ve already edited this book one time too many in the middle of the night.

Why can’t I just blame twitter? My kids? The coffee maker and its inability to know to make me caffeine via physic message? The butcher? The baker? The candlestick maker? !

Why does it have to be my fault? I’ve sent more full manuscripts to more agents that I am likely to ever admit in public. Trust me, I am a walking statistical impossibility.

It’s my fault, because I made it out to be my last chance. I can’t edit here, there are too many tears on table. There are too many thoughts on my mind, too many things I have to get over before tomorrow.

I read the second paragraph. I can edit here, because the words can take me away. The world dissolves at my feet and I don’t notice any buts.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A bit of bread for the starving man’s soul.

Yesterday I won a contest! That really awesome Twitter Pitch Contest over at Shelley Watters blog. You rock dwellers should even recall me blogging about it. Tweeting about it. Obsessing over it for several days.I never thought would win.

http://shelleywatters.blogspot.com/2011/04/winner-of-epic-follower-blogfestcontest.html

I went to read said blog, got to the end of the honorable mentions totally depressed I didn’t manage to get one of those slots. I didn’t expect I would, but I had hopes when I realized those people got an invite to query.

I didn’t even see my name toward the top of the post but I won. Suzie Townsend said even in a 140 characters she was impressed with the writing in my twitter pitch.

Suzie Townsend.

!!!!!!

And because of that I get to send her my full manuscript. Not PIGMENTS OF MY IMAGINATION. But a dark YA Paranormal Romance called SKELETON LAKE.

Here is the pitch in case you missed it:
Skeletons do regret. Drowning was the easy part. The beautiful but ghastly bones of broken boys & false flesh are now Marlow's whole world.

Have I mentioned I have written quite a few books? Something like thirty. Some of them are terrible. Most of the more recent ones however… well I have high hopes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Write like a butterfly, sting like a businessman.

Once upon a time, people used to pay me to do marketing. As I was young, and it was for a huge company I made very little decisions and mostly copied things out of a book. Why I am telling you this? Well, while I wasn’t responsible directly for any marketing strategies, that time taught me a valuable lesson in aggression. The effort involved in constantly putting yourself out there has to be crushing for some writers, but even at the butt crack dawn, the day after Thanksgiving, I’m only breaking a sweat if someone denies me my mocha. 

I really think marketing is sort of my natural habitat. I like it, and I am ok with wearing many hats. I don’t think people realize that when they are a writer, even if they have a traditional publishing contract, that they are something like an independent contractor. Ultimately they are responsible for their level of success. All my favorite authors, even best selling ones, can be found on Twitter. They all blog, have contests, they all do work that is other things but writing. In this day and age, if you are going to sell books, you are going to work for it.

While AngelaWriteNow loves all writers no matter their goals or skills; AngelaAllBusinessNow gets annoyed with people really quick.

The business me, breathes fire when her friends make bad business decisions that she could have prevented them from. If only they had asked listened to her unwanted advice.

AngelaAllBusinessNow knows it will never make sense to spend years of your life painstakingly restoring a car (first draft) that you pulled out a junk yard, if when it comes time to sell it, you slash it with mud and insist that people will see the art behind the mess.

I’m sure granny only drove the book five miles to church on Sunday.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Late Night Pigments Tweets

If you missed it, tonight I started tweeting bits of PIGMENTS OF MY IMAGINATION seen below. Remember it will be available for purchase on Amazon by the end of May.

PigmentsOfMyImagination-CoverC1Tonight’s Tweets: Hand picked by my very own @Karenof4
 

She opened her mouth to speak to him, just as one of the swans gave a loud squawk. Lucia watched, as it pulled itself effortlessly into the starry sky of the painting--she gasped.

He was suddenly so close, she could smell what she assumed was his soap. It mingled with the smell of oil paint, and was oddly comforting.

Enjoy!
And don;t forget I am running a blog follower contest. One entry per post every time you make a comment to enter and win an Amazon Gift Card.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Judge a Book by Its Cover

PigmentsOfMyImagination-CoverC1

I originally wrote this whole long complicated post included the WHY but really, that should be for another day.

This is me, revealing the Cover to my new book PIGMENTS OF MY IMAGINATION which will be available to purchase on Amazon on May 30th, 2011

PIGMENTS OF MY IMAGINATION is a YA Urban Fantasy ::ROMANCE::

The eyes are the window to the soul, and Lucia paints them better than anyone else in the world.

I plan to blog about PIGMENTS at least once a week until release day, so don’t blink. Sorry, inside joke.

Take a sec and tell me what you think about the cover, and if you are curious about the amazing artist responsible for this work you can check her out on twitter. You can find a link to her website, and she will be talking about it soon too!

@JenBrookman

Also, don’t forget about my blog contest, after that I will be running a brand new one that has more to do with the book.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

True Words of an Actual Double Negative

Attention dear followers! I hate to be the barer of bad news but alas, there is a plague upon the internets! A sickness not spread by vermin, or through the air, but by well meaning bloggers, not unlike myself, that have been infecting rainbows and sunshine on the known writing universe.

I know what you’re thinking (Unless you are a vampire) What’s wrong with Rainbows? What’s wrong with sunshine?

A ton if it’s only a bunch of half truths.

It has become a major blog theme, stay positive, keep going, BE HAPPY.

So what if I want to be miserable? I don’t, but what if I thought emotions, not all of them bliss, and rocks and hard places were more rewarding than any amount of fake sunshine could ever be?

How many of you have read ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis? For my afore mentioned Rock Dwellers you can buy it here (do it):

http://www.amazon.com/Across-Universe-Beth-Revis/dp/1595143971

*Spoilers- sort of*
You know how on The Godspeed, there was no sun. There was a ball of light, a giant bulb in the sky that made crops grow and let people survive, but it wasn’t real?

Would you want to live like that? Live some where the sun was fake? Be it, on another planet, or only in your head? I wouldn’t. I’d rather have a thousand days of real rain clouds than a thousand days of false sunshine.

It’s not that I have a storm cloud over my head all the time. It’s just that sometimes I am sad, miserable even, angry at myself. Why waste time or energy telling myself otherwise? It’s not worth it, and I need you to know, that despite what others might tell you, you don’t have to feel guilty about being unhappy about rejection, being sad something didn’t work out. Feel. And then don’t cover those emotions by pretty and positive exclamations all over the internet. You are killing people who haven’t figured it out yet.

When I started getting revise and resubmit responses on the first full manuscripts I ever sent out,I felt like a failure. So many people had read it, so many people wanted completely different things from it, and alas this story is for another day. But I needed to tell you that to tell you this. So many people said it was some miraculous awesome thing, and all I could think was  THIS REALLY SUCKS. Yes, I understood how it was a good thing. No one sent me a hundred form rejections on my birthday at least, but at the same time I started to feel like maybe I’d never succeed because my attitude was all wrong.

Because I wasn’t always rainbows and sunshine, and sometimes after a bad day I think maybe I should just quit.

I thought it was just me, but it’s not. I just prefer telling the truth to faux stars, and rainclouds to plastic rays of light. I just like to feel. I just want to write.

Friday, April 1, 2011

For Once I’m Not a Coward.

It’s April first.

This isn’t a sick joke, it’s my 140 characters or less Twitter Pitch Contest Entry!

I am really sure that I am not kidding. What I am sure of, is that I have less than 4 hours of sleep, a 3 turned 5 hour drive to the Grand Canyon under my belt, and feet that hurt! Though maybe not as bad as posting my work where others can rip it apart. It’s hard for me no matter how many times I do it.

Shelley Watters is having an awesome blog follower contest here:
http://shelleywatters.blogspot.com/2011/03/epic-follower-blogfestcontest.html

You will recall from that one time you were living under a rock.

Now on to the killing of my soul, in very few words.

“Skeletons do regret. Drowning was the easy part. The beautiful but ghastly bones of broken boys & false flesh are now Marlow's whole world.”

My book is a dark, young adult paranormal romance about creatures you have never seen, but that everyone has.

Would you like to help me make it better? I knew you would ;) And don’t forget when you comment (up to one a day) you are entered to win my follower contest!