I want to take this opportunity to thank you for all of your support and positive feedback on my blog, website, and writing journey! I would also like to give you an update on what’s happening in my writing life and on my journey to get my book published.
Meeting Judith Krantz
Last month, I had the great fortune of meeting Judith Krantz, the queen of romance novels. She wrote 10 New York Times best sellers. When I spoke with her at an LA Library Foundation event, and I told her I loved reading her racy books as a teenager–especially Scruples– she said “read page 36!” So I immediately ordered the book and read page 36! It’s exactly how I remember it!
The most inspiring part about meeting Judy was that she didn’t start writing novels until her last child started to drive at age 16 and she was 50. There may be hope for me yet!
As you know from my Landing an Agent This Summer, Or Not blog , I began querying agents in July. I took August off for vacation, and I started actively searching for agents again in September and October. I developed my agent spreadsheet, researched agent websites, and read agent interviews. I customized each query letter and followed the agent’s submission guidelines. I usually emailed two or three queries at a time, waited a couple of weeks for a response, then sent some more. Although it seems I have been doing this for a while, I’ve only managed to send out 13 query letters so far, and my goal was at least 25! It is a tedious and time consuming process, but I am learning a lot about what genre my book is in, and what agents might be the right fit for my book.
After I sent out the query letter in accordance with the agent’s submission guidelines, I received one of the following three responses: 1) not hear back from the agent at all; 2) get a “no thank you” right off the bat; or 3) get a yes, I am interested, please send me the manuscript and the book proposal. I explain what a book proposal is in my Day in the Life of a Writer blog article.
So far the results have been promising, although I am still waiting for an agent who will be willing to represent me to a publisher. I received three manuscript requests, but two of the agents sent me nice rejections, commenting that my “story is fascinating,” and it is a “terrific and promising project,” but they couldn’t take me on at this time. While receiving news like this is discouraging, I still feel motivated to keep going because I know my story is good, and I just need to find a like-minded agent who will champion my work. So I will query on.
I have started attending workshops and write-ins at my local library for National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo). My first workshop was on art journaling. It was fascinating! The instructor, Katherine England, is passionate about combining art with journal writing. The art could just be doodling shapes, or coloring spaces. She says it’s meditative, and has transformed her life.
She had us do an exercise where we drew a self-portrait, with a sharpie, without raising the sharpie off the page, and blind-folded! Then we colored in the shapes. Talk about letting go of perfectionism! I think it worked!
A second workshop was on the need for authors to market their books, specifically how to make effective presentations and conduct interviews. The speaker’s most important advice in preparing for any interview is to come up with ten questions about your book, and answer them yourself. Then you will be well prepared for any author interview! I plan to attend more writer’s workshops, such as “How a Writer Writes,” and attend write-ins, where I simply sit in a room with other writers and write. At the last write-in, I wrote about the thrift shop that I volunteer at. Maybe this will be the setting for my next blog, essay, short story, or book.
I also finished another 5-week writing session with my Autobiography Matters writing group. We explored emotions such as happiness, envy, and resilience over the life cycle. I wrote about my envy for curly hair as a child because it symbolized America and my desire to fit in. What happened to that envy as an adult? It’s still there, but it is definitely less intense.
My New Business Card
Finally, I am very excited to show you my brand new business card! It has taken me a while to get used to the idea of calling myself an author, but I guess it’s official. This is a slightly different design than the original cards I had printed earlier this year, and I love its unique shape. My friend Pamela from LunadaVista Design helped me design it, and she is also the brains behind my website. (We had the cards printed at AW Print Works – they do a great job of bringing designs to life.)
Thank you for reading this and for your continued support. As you can see, I am busy with my current writing activities, and my next step is to develop goals for next year. I will have more writing news for you next time! I hope you find the time this month to write something you’ve always wanted to write, start an art journal, or just do something creative for yourself. (And if you feel inspired to write right now, please leave a comment below!)
“Creativity is contagious, pass it on.” -Albert Einstein