October 13th, 2010

The Double Rejection Rainbow, All the Way

Take notes. This is one of the most repeated, not to mention most apt, pieces of advice that writers will hear. Carry a notebook with you, or use your laptop or cyberphone if you have it, but make sure that you put your ideas and observations down in some tangible form before they pass out of your head. A lot of it will be junk, but there are veins of gold to be mined from all those random scribblings.

Here’s a variation on that advice that just occurred to me: when you’re querying your book, take notes on your mental state, particularly as you receive rejections. Make an activity out of it. Not only will it give you something productive to do while you’re doing all this waiting (besides writing your next novel, of course), but it will offer [...]

September 11th, 2010

Falling Back

Last week, I was feeling pretty antsy about the two partials I’d sent out (I got a partial request from the first agent at the end of July, and in mid-August I went ahead and queried the other agent who wanted to see more of my writing. Agent 2 wanted a partial included in the query). This was premature, of course, since agents will often take two months or even more to respond to a partial, but I couldn’t help getting my hopes up whenever I opened the mailbox.  You know how it is:

Then I talked to my friend Dana Kaye, a fellow novelist and professional publicist, and she pointed out something I hadn’t thought of: vacations. Lots of agents take them in August, and it isn’t until after Labor Day that things get kicked [...]

July 13th, 2010

Here I Go Again On My Own

All right, it’s officially on. I just dropped my first Hubris query letter into the mailbox. Technically I still have a few revisions to do (a friend of mine recently delivered a full critique that’s been very helpful), but I probably have a good month before I hear back from this agent, so now I can keep up the rewrites with an added incentive to stay on schedule.

Much like when I started writing the book, this doesn’t feel all that momentous.  It’s just another query, number 62 or something like that.  The only difference is that it’s a new book I’m hawking this time.  Well, that’s not entirely true; I do feel all the optimism I felt when I was first sending out queries for The Northerners, because Hubris has yet to feel the sting of rejection.  It’s nice [...]

April 28th, 2010

It's Like Kill Bill Meets Good Omens, but Completely Different

Yesterday I did it, months before I thought I would: I actually wrote a query letter pitch for Hubris.

Charlie just wanted to reconnect with his adopted sister, Adriana. Adriana just wanted to avenge her birth mother by killing the six Gods and ending their tyrannical reign over the universe. But then things got complicated. Charlie has met the Gods, and though they’re rattled and threatened, they don’t seem much like tyrants. What’s more, they claim that if Adriana succeeds in killing all of them, she’ll wipe out the universe in the process. Adriana thinks they’re bluffing; the godishes, impish immortal beings that are not quite gods but not quite anything else, are in her corner. But even Adriana is starting to suspect that she’s being manipulated.

As Charlie races from New York to the Tian Shan mountains to [...]

April 20th, 2010

The First Waiting Game

Ah, now it’s coming back to me: the feeling of restlessness, the guilty sense that I should have gotten back to work by now instead of pouring hours into blowing stuff up in Just Cause 2.  I had forgotten about this part of the novel-writing process.  But Hubris is still in the hands of a number of my beta readers, and I don’t feel that I’ve gotten enough feedback yet to mount a proper revision.  I think I only need one significant rewrite, primarily to punch up the lackluster first chapter, before I’m ready to start the second big waiting game that is the query process.  But for now I’m stuck on the first waiting game.  You play this game by trying your hardest to respect the fact that your friends and family actually have other things to do [...]