What’s up Wednesday

TreeWUWWhat’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of Jaime or Erin’s blog.

What I’m Reading

A lot of amazing beta reading happening here. I got to read my critique partner Susan’s incredible novel about a teenage Reaper who falls in love with the brother of a girl she reaps. I seriously laughed out loud and was brought to tears reading this manuscript. Not to mention, I am in love with one of the characters (not the love interest, though he is also dreamy) so it was extra fun for me. Then I read my friend Alex’s Middle Grade Fantasy manuscript about a girl who can talk to animals with a really unique magic system and interesting world. Lots of love for this manuscript and the well-drawn cast of characters. To sum up, I am a lucky girl.

Now I am doing more beta reading, along with reading an ARC of The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas. I seriously loved The Burning Sky, especially Titus and the Crucible and Eton College. This book is going to break my heart, I can feel it.

What I’m Writing

I did a revision on my recently completed MS, which is now titled Of Blood and Promises, then I wrote a query description, after that the synopsis. I switched gears to work on a screenplay I put on the back burner while writing my novel. After feedback from a trusted advisor, I am anxious to complete this screenplay and incorporate her notes.

I have been working on posts for I Believe in Story, the literary blog I contribute to. Last week I wrote a post about handling query rejections like a boss, which was a lot of fun, and kind of liberating.

What Inspires Me

I think Susan Dennard may be the best ever at explaining things. When preparing to write a query or synopsis — no matter how many times you have done it in the past — check out her blog for help. I know I have talked about it before, but it is worth repeating.

My brother and his wife are here from Israel. I haven’t seen them in a year, which means these last few weeks with my niece and my new baby nephew, have been precious. Talking with them about life in Israel, listening to them describe their home, and looking at my brothers incredible pictures, is definite food for the creative.

What Else I’m Up To

Tomorrow I am filming a promo video for my friend Lindsay Cummings’ upcoming debut, The Murder Complex. It’s awesome to use my filmmaking connections and experience to help her put something fun together for future readers.

My husband and I have been working our way through Veronica Mars. We are into the third season and it is a bummer to think we are almost finished.

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Easter Egg hunts with my kiddo. That’s hunts, plural. And then Church, which he was disappointed didn’t also include a hunt.

So…What’s up with you?

5 Steps to Handling Query Rejections Like a Boss

photo courtesy I Believe in Story

photo courtesy I Believe in Story

The life of an aspiring author is often likened to living on a rollercoaster. We are inspired to write a shiny new idea, we spend months pouring over said idea, writing and deleting, outlining, drafting, romancing the characters and their story, until we have a complete manuscript. We send it to critique partners or friends or husbands or wives who have no choice but to read. We revise our very soul onto the page and then we seal it in blood.

When all that has been accomplished, and a polished manuscript stares brightly back at us, we write our query. If we’re smart, we spit shine that baby as much as our manuscript. We pour over literary blogs for agent interviews, follow the #MSWL hashtag, make spreadsheets of agents we love who might love our book. Then, and hopefully only then, do we hit send.

More often than not querying results in rejection. Google query stats and you will find numerous blog posts on the subject. It will make you want to delete your query letter and go have a stiff drink in the afternoon.

Don’t do that. Read my guide instead.

Handling Rejection Like a Boss Step #1

Recognize that your query and the manuscript it’s pitching are not perfect, not right for everyone, and in the end, not the only thing in an agent’s inbox that needs attention. Agents have no obligation to you. Accept that and stop feeling entitled. Acceptance is the first step to almost anything. Really, it’s not that hard. Don’t be a whiner.

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To read the full post check out I Believe in Story, the stellar literary blog I contribute to, by clicking on the link below!

5 Steps to Handling Query Rejections Like a Boss

What’s Up Wednesday

whats up wednesdayWhat’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of Jaime’s.

What I’m Reading

I finished reading the ARC of Tandem by Anna Jarzab. I really enjoyed it. If you are a fan of sci-fi that deals with multiverses and has romance simmering beneath the surface, you will love it.

The book I decided to pick up after Tandem, is one I’ve been meaning to read for a while now. I heard such praise about the world building and romance, not to mention the protagonist, that I actually became reluctant to start. Maybe because I was afraid I wouldn’t get it. Maybe because the hype was too much. Or maybe just because I knew I would become obsessed. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass has already delivered on the hype and I am officially obsessed. My fear realized, and I’m thrilled.

What I’m Writing

Still working my my new project, though I’ve only written about 1000 words on it since last week. My weekend was sort of…full. I didn’t get as much writing in as I would have liked. Also working on the sequel to my manuscript and plotting some more. Much of my writing on that project is mental and notes right now.

What Inspires Me

The Civil Wars new album, The Civil War. I am largely inspired by music while writing. For me, the emotion that courses through some music ignites the desires in my characters in such a way that I feel what they may feel beneath my own skin. When working on my novel, The Civil War’s song “Poison and Wine” perfectly expressed the conflicted nature of my love story, and provided an ideal platform for writing the tense romantic scenes between my MC and the Romantic Lead.

What Else I’m Up To

Earlier I said my weekend was full…full of preparing to film or filming or being tired from filming.

Swimming. My son has gradually grown bolder in the water as the summer has worn on. I really needed to float in cool water Friday evening, after a day of roller coaster emotions from…

Being Rejected. I wrote about it here, so I won’t go into it again, but will say I did receive a request for a partial the next day. The road to publication is nothing if not unpredictable, a mixture of heartache and elation, and best taken with a shot of tequila.

Have a Wednesday full of unexpected fun! Oh, and tell me what’s up with you too.

On the Inevitability of No

I had something happen today that caught me off guard: a rejection from a full request. Now, my agent situation has always been a little weird (and not something I am comfortable openly discussing on my blog), but when I received this rejection, I found myself grappling with a lot of emotions.

The rejection was incredibly kind, and actually, made a point to clarify that it wasn’t the quality of my writing or the interest in the book, but rather the agents belief they weren’t the right advocate that led to them passing.

If you are thinking, “Aw, that’s nice, at least you know it’s not because your book is shit.” Then you and I are very different people. Rejection is rejection. It all comes from the same place: not loving your book enough. Like in romance, a guy telling you it’s not you it’s him may seem like a nice reason for breaking it off, but the fallout is often the same. You, left in a puddle, feeling not pretty/cool/clever enough to hold his attention.

I am not complaining. That’s actually not what this is, though I did ugly cry for a little bit afterward. The agent’s interest and willingness to read my book was an incredible opportunity, as well as a boost to my confidence. A boost that shouldn’t be negated because this agent ultimately decided to pass. A boost I will hold on to despite my melancholy over the rejection.

Receiving a “no” must be weighed very carefully with what you already know about your book, your talent, and your belief that you have done all you can to package it in a way that appeals. You must go back to your core and make sure it remains solid. The wobblier you are on whether your book is worth reading, the more likely you are to give up.

I constantly hear agents and other writers say, “If you can do anything other than write, do it.” They say this because rejection is an inherent part of this process. Just yesterday I was speaking to a friend about books — mine, others, all of them — and I told her that at some point every writer has to get to a place where they accept that not every person is going to love their book, and some may even hate it. It takes one agent to fall in love for it to be repped. It takes one editor to want to make out with it for it to be sold.

There’s a verse in the bible that says, “Woe, when all men speak highly of you.” Not everyone should love your book or you. You will have people telling you no until the one you’re supposed to work with says yes. I remember when I was a teenager, my mother gave me this advice in the context of popularity. I wasn’t very popular, nor was I very mainstream. She always encouraged me that those things weren’t what shaped interesting people, and that embracing the fact that not everyone “got” me would allow me to be more open to the ones that did.

I respect the no I received today. I wrote the agent back to thank them for reading, and for seeing it wasn’t for them. Both things are valuable to me as a writer. Does it still sting? Was I hoping this would be it? Sure, yes, of course. I am not much for lying, I wanted this to work out.

That doesn’t change the fact that I have no choice but to keep trying. When Rae Carson was in Irving earlier last month, she shared how she was repped by an agent before her current agent (the one who was able to sell The Fire and Thorns Trilogy). Nothing was wrong with this agent other than the fact that they ultimately didn’t have the same vision for The Girl of Fire and Thorns as Rae had. This distinction made all the difference in the success of selling her book as YA.

I thought about this story today, again, as I was weeping into my coffee because I received one, very courteous and thoughtful, no. Being a writer goes beyond no’s and yes’, beyond selling or not selling, beyond the ironclad door of the industry, and the shit that you see getting published while your masterpiece sits on your computer unexamined. (Hello, Fifty Effing Shades of Gray. Not the actual title so I will not italicize.) Whether your book is really a masterpiece (it’s probably not, let’s face it, that was hyperbole) or not, isn’t what I’m talking about right now. Your passion is what makes it worthwhile. Your willingness to revise is what takes it from meh to marvelous!

And then, when you’ve done all you can and you wait for more responses — praying, crossing fingers, and jumping backwards in a circle for good measure — you write another book in the hopes that one day you get to do it all again.