Tag Archives: querying

St. Louis Area Writers’ Conference, April 2010

Just signed up for a writers’ conference which I am pumped about. And not least because I actually have a friend to go with me this time!

The Missouri Writer’s Guild conference will be held April 16-18 in Chesterfield, MO. So if you’re a writer in the St. Louis or southern Illinois area (or even if you’re not but just feel like making the drive), come join us.

Agents include Kristin Nelson of Nelson literary agency, Joanna Stampfel-Volpe of Nancy Coffey Literary and Media Representation, and Suzie Townsend of Peter Rubie Agency. And by the way, Ms. Townsend is currently building a list of clients! This is your chance to snag her before she gets swamped with work. Linda Houle, co-owner of small Texas publishing company L&L Dreamspell, will also be there. For more information on these agents and what they represent (it’s a wide list of genres), visit the web site.

Sign up now, as agent and editor appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Oh, and for anyone who doesn’t know this bit of news already–one of the agents I queried requested to see the full manuscript of FLYNN. This is a very good sign, and I hope it means that an offer of representation could be in the making. We shall see.



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Ducks and Agents

What do stale bread, querying agents, the seven seas, and ducks have to do with each other? Visit SM Blooding and Crew to find out on my guest post tonight!


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A Busy Week

Pub Board discussions are going on this week at Written World Communications. It’s quite an exciting time as we look at a selection of submitted work and decide which items to pick for publication this year. We’re hoping to start the year off with a bang, and also to be diverse in the fiction we publish. We have discussed genres from romance to historical to paranormal thriller. Just have to wait and see how things shake out as far as what will be published, and when.

Aside from that, I have taken a delightful stroll with FLYNN through the first chapters of her adventures these last two days. I love the final stages of editing–when you don’t have to change much, but you get to focus on making the wording ever-more delicious and stare anxiously at your word count as you find unnecessary “that”s and “then”s and “had”s that really shouldn’t have been there anyway because, let’s face it, you cheated a little bit and used those words you weren’t supposed to use in your prose!

I’ve also been reminiscing about my time working at a small newspaper in northern Illinois. I loved all the strange quirkiness of being at a newspaper. The man we called “Captain Underpants” because he came into the office in boxers and a wife beater. The suspicious pile of dead hogs that my boss happened upon on a farm and tried to do an exposé on. The automated phone message that would always call the office and begin “Hi. This is not a joke.” Ah, good times. I never thought I would miss anything about living up north, but Ogle County Newspapers is it.

Back to work for the day. I received a message from an agent, letting me know she’ll be looking over my query soon, so stay tuned for any news!


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New Year’s Start on Queries, Editing

The holidays are finally at an end! Between Thanksgiving, preparations for Christmas, Christmas itself, and New Year’s, I’ve been off my regular schedule (writing and otherwise) for about two months straight. But now I’m back! And instead of making New Year’s Resolutions to foster new and better habits, I’m focusing on the habits I need to get back into. Here’s my list of things to do.

I’ll be back and blogging at SM Blooding and Crew on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month (that’s beginning this coming Tuesday, everyone).

I’ll send out more queries of FLYNN. The first round (of course) did not produce results. Honestly, I would’ve been surprised if it did. But armed with my subscription to Guide to Literary Agents,I ought to find someone who wants to see the full manuscript.

After NaNoWriMo this year, I have a good start on the rought draft for FLYNN II. It’s official title is under construction. I’ll be doing more work on that in the following months.

Now on to my new ventures.

I’m entering the first 500 words of FLYNN into a contest at Kidlit.com, a very helpful blog written by an associate agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

My friend Kristine Pratt (who I met at a writer’s conference back in ’08) recently started up her own publishing company, Written World Communications. She asked me to be a (volunteer) assistant to one of her editors! It’s quite an exciting venture. I review proposals, manuscripts, and also short stories for the magazine. We just sent a round of submissions to Pub Board, so before too long, I’ll begin the editing process with the chosen candidates! Not to mention that I may get to help with layout of the magazine, a field which I feel I could easily excel at but have never had the opportunity to become familiar with.

Oh yes, and I may also be getting a part-time-job. As in, one that will give me a paycheck. FLYNN and my graphic novel are already full time jobs in and of themselves, but, well….they won’t pay for a second car, now will they?

Stay tuned to this blog throughout the coming year. I’m excited about the prospects of 2010, and I hope you are too.



Filed under Contest, General Writing, Publishing, Querying/Submitting

A Painless Rejection Letter–Does Such A Thing Exist?

Yes, you heard it here first, folks. I got a rejection letter (er, e-mail) that actually wasn’t painful. Here’s why.

One year ago this summer, I sent a proposal of my then-unfinished novel FLYNN to a publishing house. I had connections through a writer’s conference, and expected to hear back promptly.

Nothing happened for months. Over time, I came to assume that they didn’t want the thing, so I counted it a loss and went about finishing and revising the novel. Over time, I came to see that FLYNN actually needed a lot more work and time to be the best it could be.

A couple of days ago, I got an e-mail from that publisher. A year later! They apologized profusely for not getting back to me sooner. Apparently the proposal was changing hands from one editor to another and somehow got lost. It was unearthed a few days ago, at which point they sent me the e-mail.

In the time between last year and this year, they closed their doors on new YA fantasy. So FLYNN was officially rejected because of an accident and a change in policy, not because they didn’t like it. That has got to be the most painless rejection of all time. Not to mention the most fortuitous–if I’d had to rush finishing and editing it, it wouldn’t be nearly as good as it is today. Thank you, happy accidents!


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Inspiring Book!

I just finished BOOK OF A THOUSAND DAYS by Shannon Hale and it was simply inspiring! Not since THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL have I read through something so fast, just because I needed to find out what happens next. Great storytelling, fast-paced plot, likable characters, and a love story that doesn’t writhe with stereotypes and sugar. This will certainly be the book club’s next book after MELTING STONES.

Speaking of the book club, don’t forget our first meeting is a week from today. That’s a Monday. We’re reading to page 85.

In FLYNN news, I’m preparing query materials. By the end of the week, I hope to have queried two new agents. I’ll keep you posted.

And finally, in blog news, some of my html messed up in a post two days ago, rendering my link to the book club useless. No matter how many times I fix it and try to save the edit, the blog continues to show it as a bunch of html gobbledygook instead of a link. I may have to give up the ghost on this one. My apologies to anyone who’s been confused by it.


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With everything we authors have to keep in mind (the ins-and-outs of writing, the ins-and-outs of publishing, the habits, the marketing, etc.) we often forget one important item: positive feedback!

I got positive feedback on FLYNN today. We’re talking the kind of feedback where my reader stayed up late because she couldn’t stop reading, and can’t imagine that FLYNN won’t get published.

After all my hard work this spring and summer, finishing the third draft and preparing to query, I think I deserved a moment of basking in encouragement. We really do need it. We can’t just give and give and give to the writing machine without ever getting anything back.

My courage redoubled, I’m going back to work on my synopsis tomorrow so I can start querying!



Filed under General Writing