Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's In A Name?

A lot, actually.

"If people have to read your book to know what the title means, you're not there yet..."

I found out from Writer's Digest magazine that my book's title needs to change. Fine, since I was thinking about it anyway, but really... In theory, it's like renaming your kid, after s/he has already been Anne or Kyle for seven years, and then having to remember to call him/her by the new name that s/he has chosen for him/herself- no doubt something like Gwendolyn, or Atticus. Needless to say, I've tried a few different ones, and nothing seems to fit as well as the original- except, as shown above, some long, fancy one that is three times the length.

Admittedly, I hated my name as a kid, and didn't grow into it until I was 16, or so. Still, I was born, and will probably also die, with that name and I sincerely doubt that I'll be changing it to Alexandra or Catherine (apologies to my sister!) anytime soon. It may sound more fluffy and romantic (great, if I wrote romance), but I've kinda grown on 'Laura'- it's a strong name and, as a book-title also should, represents me (the hapless subject-matter) and what I'm about.


In other news, the agency that I've been dying to pitch to has finally reopened to submissions, and I stayed up all night writing a killer query. Thing is, I'm beginning to think that the only thing I've killed with it is myself- while accurate to the plot, it made me find a couple of holes in my manuscript that need filling in, and I now have to rewrite the whole thing before I even think about submitting... Argh!


Off to give my little Atticus another makeover,


Monday, January 24, 2011

What They Say Is Greek To Me.

... More like Japanese, or Hindi. You catch my drift.

So far, I've spent the morning looking at submission-guidelines for literary magazines and journals (start small, I say!)- after all, these agents are going to want publishing credits before they accept anything I've written. Needless to say, I now feel like a dyslexic person trying to crack a binary code- completely and utterly confused.

(Or, as M. might say, "lost in frustration". Yep.)


The rejection-letter I received on Friday is now hanging on my wall- I've heard they make great scrap-paper. :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now...

...But, despite what the title of Andre Jordan's biography (and this post) suggests, I am not miserable at all. That's just the name of the book that I picked up at Chapters today, and it is rip-roaringly funny- this guy is a genius, and I love his funny little drawings.

Got my first formal rejection today- it reads:

"Thank you for allowing us to consider your work. Regretfully, this is just not right for us, and we wish you all the best in your literary endeavours (sorry, endeavors- the agency in question is American)."

Short. Sweet. Generic.
Chalk one up for the Wall of Rejection.

Still, rather than letting my inner M. (read: emo prodigy and super-sensitive literary genius) loose on the world, I'll let K's awesomeness take over- she would never let something so simple as this get her down, and that's why all of my future readers (except the emo-y ones) will like her better.

In all, can't really complain- as far as rejections go, suspense writer Jack King says that the average writer sees at least 12 of them, before getting accepted. So, not to despair just yet- rejection, at least, is a form of acknowledgment; someone must be paying attention. :)


Acceptances: 0
Rejections: 1
Manuscript Requests: 0

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sordid Tales of Aspiring Writerdom: The Redux.

This entire week has been a total waste of life.

Being sick has done nothing to help further my career. I've been meaning to do productive things, like join up with the WFNB (Writers' Federation of New Brunswick); instead, I've spent it curled up on the couch, either sleeping or drinking lots of tea whilst crying into my cough-suppressant- not a pretty picture, but I'm sure that every aspiring writer has done it.

Last night, I started rewriting my final draft. I just feel that there's so much of the story that hasn't been told; so many important details left out, due to the perspective/narrative style I'd chosen to use; and that some of my characters have so much more to offer than what I've given them time to say. Don't ask- they tell me what to do, rather than the other way around.

I haven't been checking my emails all that much, either- I think that a part of me has preemptively admitted defeat. That's the M. in me talking, though- my inner K. is kicking me in the ribs right now, pushing my buttons and telling me to quit being a whiny bitch; sorry, K.


Now, back to sobbing into my Nyquil.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Query-Wh*ring: You're Doing It Wrong!

Okay, so I lied.

Between sleeping, sniffling, and hacking my lungs out, I've been more than a little occupied with things other than my writing. I figure that recovering will give me a bit of a break- at least long enough until my submissions can be considered 'exclusive' again.

Being off from work, of course, I've had time to think about things like query-letters- and the different, conflicting advice that everyone and his/her cat is hitting me over the head with. Looking back on my previous submissions, I've followed each agency's individual guidelines- I even used a template from a bestselling-author's website as a base- and not done anything more or less than what's required: synopses, keeping my rants to less than a page... You name it, it's there. But my novel-writer's-market guide tells me one thing; then, Writer's Digest says something else, and the Writers' Union of Canada, and so on... ad nauseum.

Naturally, I'm beginning to despair more than I should at this point. I realize that it's only 3 weeks into the new year- this means that I still have another 49 (or thereabouts) to find a home for this book, but it's hard not to be disappointed when no one seems to be checking their emails. I was tempted to take my Wall of Awesome/Wall of Rejection signs down today, but I didn't- it would feel too much like admitting failure, and it's too early for that.

As "E" (M's girlfriend) might say: "You can either get a grip on yourself and see this through, or let the negative energy eat you alive- your choice."

Way to go, E.


I choose all of the above.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Down, But Definitely Not Out.

Greetings, all-

As my lovely fellow Facebookers may or may not be aware, I've spent the last two days sick with something or other. Fortunately, things seem to be getting better- except for the funny, little hissing-noises that my chest makes when I try to breathe. Not exactly my idea of a good time.

So, it's Saturday again.

At the very least, my two-job nightmare has ended. This means I'll have a ton more free time to concentrate on the novel- query-whoring, mostly, and leafing through my copy of Writer's Digest- when I'm not slaving over a hot grill, that is.

Good thing I'm not like M. What with all the cuts and burns I end up with on a daily-basis, it's a surprise I'm not, like, totally emo- as a writer, my odds of being killed, dismembered, or otherwise injured on the job will significantly decrease.

In closing, I quote M. once more: "Life sucks, and then you die."

Sure feels that way, sometimes.

M., you always were the eternal optimist- why don't you do something constructive, for a change? Oh, that's right- people might actually start to like you, and that just wouldn't work with your image, 'cause you're totally hardcore.


I believe I've just been Emo'ed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Good News Travels Fast...

...Sadly, so does whatever I've got at the moment.

Just got home from work/trekking across town in a snowstorm; I've been sick since boxing day, and haven't really had any time off to recoup- this does not bode well for my paycheque, or my writing career.

Nonetheless, this is a celebratory post, for two reasons:

1. A shoutout to M. and C. (a.k.a. Emo Genius and K's BFF) whose shared birthday was today, January 12th- were the novel in real-time, they would have turned 27 and 24, respectively.

2. I met a fellow writer today at Chapters, and she gave me the name of an agency (the Sarah Freeman agency, I think it was) that is actively seeking new/unpublished writers and is interested in her book; she is a non-fiction writer, but she suggested that I check it out, anyway- if it hadn't been so busy at the store, I would have gotten her name.


This is the most development I've seen all week- now, for some tea and a nice, long snooze.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

To Query, Or Not To Query...

... That is the question.

With the lack of responses, it's hard to decide what my next step should be. I've pretty-much decided to stick with exclusive submissions, since they typically garner a faster reply (so I've heard, anyway), but I have no idea how long I should wait before calling a submission "exclusive"- different agencies have different timelines, so I'll probably wait 8 weeks (the max. amount of time it usually takes an agent to respond to a query) before submitting again. Then, I shall call it an exclusive submission, and it shall be mine, and...

Enough with the Finding Nemo references, already.

Right now, I'm frustrated and (as you probably noticed) beginning to despair a little- still, I have more sense than to give up. As C. says, in Chapter Three:

"I know, it sucks. But, just think about it- one day, the whole world will know who we are!"

Way to go, C.

Keeping my fingers crossed for a better tomorrow.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Monday Blahs, and Other Sordid Tales of Aspiring Writerdom.

So, today was a total bust.

Today was supposed to have been my day off, and I had planned to spend it researching different agencies (and possibly query-whoring, though I'd best stick to exclusive submissions for now)- sadly, it wasn't meant to be.

I'd been looking forward to today, and I now have absolutely nothing to show for my efforts- what a total disappointment/epic writing fail. Oh, and no emails, either... I'm beginning to suspect that even the spam-bots hate my face.

In the meantime, I'm just praying to things that I don't believe in, and hoping that they give me the energy/patience to see this through.

All hail the Literary gods!



Acceptances: 0
Rejections: 0
Manuscript Requests: 0

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Long, Frustrated Sigh.

So, it's Saturday.

Nothing ever happens on Saturdays- the agents are all out of the office, probably enjoying some grade-A steak and a bottle of expensive wine before a trip to the cottage for the weekend; a trip during which they probably won't check their emails. Perhaps I should do the same- stop compulsively checking my emails, I mean.

 Be back on Monday.


Acceptances: 0
Rejections: 0
Manuscript Requests: 0

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Waiting Game, Part One

Once again, not even spam... I'm starting to think that I should stick to exclusive submissions, from now on, as well as to wonder if these people are even reading my emails.

I realize that agents are busy people- after all, they receive hundreds of queries per day, and might not be able to answer every, single one within the allotted time-frame, but since when is no response the new rejection? Why would they advertise on their websites that, "we reply to every query we receive", if they have no intention of ever replying?

As K once said: "They’d have to be mentally-retarded or something to not accept you.” 

Way to go, K.

This is doing nothing for my nerves.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Hope For The Novel In Question

...Or, in LOLcat-speak, "hope- I can haz it nao."

Since I write teen fiction, I occasionally read stuff by other authors, just to see what's out there- I've been worried about my content being too mature for the younger half of the 12+ age-group, you see. But then, I read "After", by Amy Efaw (who is, by the way, brilliant), which is for the same audience and is about a pregnant 15-year-old who dumps her baby in a trash-can and goes to jail.

And I was worried about M.'s endless fits of emo.

If they can read about dumpster-babies and crime-scenes, they can handle a little bit of blood.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Thar, She Blows!

Yep. And does she ever.

Once again, not even spam in my inbox. I'm kind of disappointed, and starting to lose hope- the bookstore isn't keeping me, so it seems that the rest of my life is about to become the sad story of that writer-chick who just couldn't get out of the food-business... Like Steve Dublanica, except that a) he's a dude, and b) Waiter Rant was actually published.

As M. might say: "Life sucks, and then you die."

Way to go, M.

Maybe someone will redirect me some Twilight fan-mail, by mistake... that would keep me amused for a while.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Once Upon A Time, Life Really Sucked.

So, yeah.

After yesterday's query-whoring adventure, a total of 7 different agencies have my cover-letter (I guess I lied in that first post). They are:

-Anne McDermid & Associates
-Artists and Artisans Inc.
-Jane Rotrosen Literary Agency
-Andrea Brown Literary Agency
-the Amy Rennert Agency
-Victoria Sanders & Associates
-RLR Literary Agency
-Levine Greenberg agency

My inbox, however, tells an entirely-different story. Every day, I check my emails several times, hoping for a change in development, but all I get is junk-mail- even that's a stretch, since it seems that even the spam-gods aren't interested in sending me anything.

The only email I've gotten in the last few months (that was totally worth-opening) was the one with the cute pictures of my nephew, Joshua- he's a total cutie, and I could write a book about the many reasons that he is the sweetest baby ever. Perhaps said book would garner a better response than this one has thus far.

Now, for some cheesy pop-music to make it all better!

"I can almost see it-
that dream I'm dreaming,
but there's a voice inside my head saying,
"you'll never reach it".

Every step I'm taking,
every move I make feels
lost with no direction.
My faith is shaken,

but I've gotta keep trying;
gotta keep my head held high..."


I just quoted Miley Cyrus lyrics.
Shoot me. NOW.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Free to a Good Home

I feel like a serial dater.

So far, I've spent the day looking at agent-websites, rewriting query-letters, and attempting to find a match for my novel. In all honesty, it's like searching through a million profiles on Lavalife for Mr. Right (which I have, admittedly, done), without any success- I'm trying to stay optimistic, but it's not easy when the odds are stacked against us new writers. 

From most of what I've read, getting published is like getting laid- one can't get it unless they've had it, but how are those who've never had it going to get any? Of course, in the infamous (and case-appropriate) words of Moliere: "Writing is like prostitution- first, you do it for love; then, for a few close friends, and then for money." 


If that's the case, then I suppose it would be easier to just prostitute myself... I mean, engage in shameless self-promotion. As "C" (female protag K's best friend) would probably suggest: "We’ve got some convincing to do, and a little bit of cleavage never hurts.”

Way to go, C. 

Even a rejection-letter would do wonders for my self-esteem right about now.

Welcome All... my spiffy, little corner of the Web! Since you're here, why not sit down and stay awhile?

As the description states, I am a 20something writer (well, sort of), who dreams of publishing a novel before the year is out- I've already got the book, and the balls; all that's missing is the agent, and the ensuing celebration. :)

My life right now is a little less than glamourous: I work two jobs- one as a prep cook, and the other at a bookstore, which I plan to buy when I'm a famous writer... Until then, however, I need something to pay the bills (the least-fun part of growing up), since I can't exactly write this if I'm homeless and without the Internet.

Anyhow, onto the more-fun part...

THE NOVEL!!!!!!!

My wonderful characters (I'll call them K. and M. for now) have been in the works for seven (yes, 7) years- "K", the female MC, is a quirky and spirited teenager, with a sharp tongue and a bit of a nasty streak, who dreams of becoming a superstar-athlete. Male pro/antagonist "M" is K's musically-talented and romantic, albeit hot-headed, cousin, who comes from a violent background and spends most of his time trying to convince people that he's not emo.

"Really. I'm hardcore."

Way to go, M.


As of now, I've queried (I think) 8 different agents thus far. I'll be posting any rejection/acceptance letters that I receive here, as well as rants about life as a (n aspiring) writer in general. Hopefully, anyone who's ever written a novel (or tried to) will be able to relate- feel free to comment, or to share your own experiences in the comments below!

Wish me luck!

Laura VB.


Acceptances: 0
 Rejections: 0
Manuscript Requests: 0