Your hair looks awesome. Seriously. Did you do something new? Lose weight?
Because you look AMAZING.
And it's been too long, yes?
Sorry about that. Things have been...busy. And the holidays are in full swing, making it all even busier...but in a more fun way. *yippee!*
Speaking of holidays~my critique buddy, friend, and all-around-person-of-awesomeness, Kristin, is co-hosting a seriously cool Giveaway in celebration of my recent agent news and you DO NOT want to miss it. I'm so excited about it, guys. It's going to be tons of fun and there will be lots of prizes (five different things up for grabs). Something for everyone--readers, non-readers and aspiring writers!
So be sure to check back Wednesday for all the juicy details.
Speaking of details...
see what I did there?!?
Anyone up for some query stats and deets? Because I love numbers of all kinds, even when they mean something different to everyone, and in all reality, don't tell you a whole lot.
For what it's worth, here are mine:
Queries sent: 61
Form Rejections received: 32
Full MS requests: 16
Partial MS requests: 1
Closed/No response/Changed Agencies/Etc: 12
I feel like it's important to tell you that this query experience was FAR different than my last one. It sucked way less. The book I queried before this one (that in retrospect was SO not ready), had only three full/partial requests out of 120 sent.
But you know what? I love to write. And instead of giving up, I read MORE, wrote MORE, and studied the craft MORE. And I could tell, though the writing took me longer, that I was getting better. And this time, when I queried, agents were more receptive, more helpful, more friendly.
A few things I learned during the process that might be helpful:
*Don't just read to read. Learn what you like and why.
What books can't you put down? It's different for everyone, but learning what I personally loved (voice), helped me define what I needed to work on in my own writing. I concentrated hard on voice with this last book, (because it's what I love in books I read) and from the feedback I've received, it worked. It's what people love about it. And it wasn't easy at first, but the more you practice, the easier it gets. By knowing what you like, you begin to discover your own style~your very own blend of voice mixed with details and action that fits you and your very own preference as a reader. Being a reader and a writer are so closely entwined, it's ridiculous.
*Like reading~writing and agent preference is subjective.
If you're querying, you're going to get rejected. It's part of the process, and while it's hard at times, try not to take it too personally. Everyone has different tastes. Every book I've ever loved and thought was truly amazing/outstanding had low ratings as well as high ones. We're all different people and we all gravitate towards different things. Agents are no different. Remember that when querying and try to do enough research to figure out which agents tastes will be similar to your own.
*Twitter is like publishing and literary gold.
Anyone on Twitter will tell you it's true. I've learned more from being on Twitter and following agents/editors/authors than I have anywhere else. They share pet peeves and helpful articles on a regular basis, not to mention all the #askAgent sessions, where you can ask participating agents anything you aren't sure of or can't find the answer to online. They love to help aspiring writers and Twitter allows them to do that on their own time, at the drop of a hat. And you can really start to get to know agent's personalities and get a feel for if you would mesh well with them, which, for me anyway, was very important. I joked with a writer friend once that my query list was mostly composed of people I'd followed and loved on Twitter. I wasn't lying. Trust me, I was scared to drink the Kool-aid at first too, but I'm so glad I did. If you follow the right people, it can be a huge resource.
*Critique groups and writing friends are a must.
I'm sure there are people out there who could do this alone, but I can't. My critique group and the writer friends I've made over the years are irreplaceable. Not only will your work be stronger for having gone through the intensive critique group style edits, but you'll have people who truly understand the journey, who "get it", and who will cheer you on. More importantly, they won't let you give up. I would admittedly be nothing without my girls. The writing community as a whole is just truly inspiring and loving. Seriously. It's the best group of people to link arms with and I promise they are all very accepting. Make friends. Share work. Succeed. Repeat.
And more than anything? No matter what you do? HAVE FUN!
It's important to remember why we all wanted to write in the first place, because if we're honest, getting published wasn't the reason we started scribbling stories and poems into old notebooks and typing away on a laptop. It was the furthest thing from our mind. We write because something inside of us needs to do it...pouring out words onto the page feeds a part of us that few other things do. And that, my friends, never changes.
And, so, until Wednesday...
Peace, love and books!