Come Along With Me As I Write My Novels
(And a lot of other new writing experiences too)
Well guys, it’s been an interesting week. I’m headed to the Chicago Writing Workshop tomorrow. I’m super excited and nervous about it. There are a lot of great workshops to attend and I’m going to meet three agents and one editor in person. I’ve never done a 1:1 book pitch before, so I’m trying to psych myself up for four in one day. My beautiful friend Margaret is going to be downtown for moral support, which will help so much.
In prep for this event, I paid to have my query letter critiqued by Chuck Sambuchino, a very well-respected writer and editor. I got his feedback on Thursday. It was thorough, spot on, and… a little heartbreaking. My query just wasn’t up to standard. I still cringe at thinking about how many agents I sent it to before getting his feedback. So, in my free time since, I’ve taken his advice and have re-written it. I wanted to make sure that I had confidence in it going into tomorrow, and that I have it ready in my ‘back pocket’ in the hopes that someone will ask for a follow-up. I also just needed to do it so that I wasn’t drowning in self-doubt. It still may need further tweaking, but the draft I have today is significantly better than the one I was using - so thanks Chuck!
I also got feedback from Laura, my trusted go-to on all things writing, and my aforementioned friend Margaret. They were in alignment with Chuck, so now I feel like I’m on the right track. Funny thing is, I did have some folks look at the first letter, but I think just not in the right way. It’s crazy, interesting, flabbergasting how much context can change the feedback you get.
I also participated in my first Twitter pitch on Wednesday. Boiling down my book into less than 140 characters was no small feat. But, I did it, and it was a good thought exercise. I actually wish I would’ve gotten the feedback from Chuck before the Twitter pitch, because the logline I now have would make a good tweet. But, I’m sure there will be future Twitter pitches too. It was interesting though… the agency that was hosting the pitch reported back that they received over 3,500 tweets! My goodness!
As I looked at the tweets throughout the day and saw which ones the agents liked (that was how you knew they wanted your query, they liked your tweet) I quickly realized they weren’t going for my style of book. So I didn’t feel too bad they didn’t bite. But, it was fun to read other people’s ideas. Some of the tweets were so well-crafted, it seemed incredible to me that they didn’t get liked. Others were like someone picked up a phone and just jibber jabbered on it. I hope I was somewhere in between. What I can say is that I didn’t love the constant checking of my phone to see if my tweet got liked. Bleh.
I’ve also been coming up on a busier work schedule, leading for less time to write. I posted both a new #WritersQuick5 and a new channillo.com chapter of Amache’s America this week, but I haven’t worked on The Samurai Prophecy in days. I figured this would happen… that as my new job got more involved, my writing time would go down… but then I also have to remember how much I’ve poured myself into these other things, like my new query letter, and realize I am still writing. Writing every day.
Sometimes I have a crisis of confidence… that maybe this won’t happen for me… that it’s too crowded of a playing field… that I don’t have the right book for the right time… but then I take a deep breath. And remember I’m playing a long game. And hug my husband and kid. And remember that even if this doesn’t happen for me the way I thought it would, I’m still a writer with a damn good book, and I’ll figure it out as I go.
For now, I’m excited for the conference tomorrow. I’ll write a follow-up about my experience. Wish me luck!