Venturing into the trenches…

So… as I’ve been mentioning on and off for the past few days, I’m moving towards querying again.

Call me weird, but I’ve been looking forward to this for some time. However, I’ve forgotten how soul destroying it can be. (And I haven’t even mailed my queries yet.)

I spent most of today going over my old agent list to see who’ll actually represent Adult Urban Fantasy. I’m about half way through the list, and it feels like my brain is turning into goop.

“I’m attracted to stories with a fresh voice and strong story.” At which point it takes me five more minutes to find the small sentence at the end saying “But not Fantasy.” 

Or… “I’m not specific on what I like.” Except he/she doesn’t sell any fantasy. Which I have to check, because it’s just not said. 

I can go on, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who went through this. Yes, I know that they can put whatever they want onto their websites. Just saying that it’s mind-numbing when you’ve screened over a hundred agents in one day.

So yeah… needless to say, I’m going to go curl up with a book.

I present to you… Birds vs Bastards

Hey all! So… As I mentioned, I’m going to start querying again and soon.

In the interests of that, I thought I’d share my query letter. Please feel free to crit me. Yes, I know it’s a SHORT book. I also know that lengthening it just for the sake of adding 20k words screws up the pacing. And my pacing is AWESOMESAUCE.

And no, the irony of me querying a very short book after querying a very long one isn’t lost on me. Ahem. The query.

First, do no harm. It’s an oath Blake Ryan took to become a doctor. Ironic, given that he spent most of his thousand year life sucking souls out of other immortals. 

Aleria had changed that. She’d given him mercy when he deserved death, set him straight and let him loose. Even though everyone she cares about wants him to die. He hasn’t let her down yet. Thanks to regular shots of morphine to keep his inner monster at bay, he’s led a quiet life since WWII. His thrills now come from saving lives, not taking them. 
Then Aleria’s wheeled into his hospital ward, and his carefully controlled life teeters on the edge of disaster. Her life is vibrant. Basically, crack to immortals like him. And she can’t even remember her name, let alone defend herself. Deserting her when she needs help isn’t an option. 
The small problem is, Ryan will have to unleash his inner monster to protect her from those who want her dead. 
The nightmare is that his inner monster wants to kill Aleria himself, when the sane part of him is falling for her.
FOREVER is an Adult Urban Fantasy, complete at 41,000 words. 
I’m a published author of a YA Epic Fantasy novel under the pseudonym M. Gerrick. (The Vanished Knight, published by Etopia Press.)
There you have (a bit of) what this story’s about. Thoughts?

And… she’s back.

So… Yesterday had me in a bit of a slump. But fortunately for me, I have more than one horse in the race at the moment.

Which is good, because this lady’s getting herself an agent.

Oh stop groaning. I know you’ve heard all this before. But really. The one upside to having worked with the editor who’d quit is that I’ve learned a lot more about writing and the craft than I thought possible.

In fact. *whispers* I even know why agents didn’t look at Doorways back then.

This time. This time I’m not making the same mistakes. I’m making new ones, but hopefully smaller ones, that’ll have an agent interested in the new work.

But for now, I’m copy-editing like a fiend. My draft query is written and I’m working on that.

Soon, lovelies, soon, I shall cry like a girl take over the world!

No. I’m totally not on uppers or anything.


And now… home made pizza! O_O

Who’s joining the query trenches with me?

Guess I’m my own worst critic…

Hey all! Today I’m at Tossing It Out, having tossed out some serious opinion on YA writing. Hope to see you there and read what you had to say!

In the meantime, I thought I’d do a short post about a dream I had:

I woke up and read my e-mails first thing as I always do. In it were two e-mails from agents. I clicked on the one I’ve been waiting for with bated breath, and this was the message. 

Dear Ms. Gericke, 

Wow, I have to say this. At the beginning of the query, I was quite keen on your story, but by the end of it, I’d lost all interest in ever meeting any of your characters.

(Agent name forgotten) 

I woke up smiling, quite grateful that I got either form rejections or nice let downs.

Any of you ever dream about queries you didn’t send yet?

A to Z Challenge: Querying

Welcome back, ladies and gents. Today, I’m going to dangle a carrot before you. You want to get published, right? Excellent.

Here’s the thing, if you want to go the traditional route to publishing, there’s this small technicality between a completed novel and the publisher of your dreams. 
Veteran novelists, stop wailing. You’re scaring the new kids. 
Okay… so honestly, it’s more than a tiny technicality. It’s… well… Honestly? 
Querying is a bitch. 
It’s about being told no again and again despite the fact that agents keep saying they want what you have. And then they don’t even tell you why. You don’t even get to ask. 
Then I’m not even talking about the absolute agony of drafting the query letter in the first place. You see, you can do what you want. 250 words will never do justice to your story.
And more often than not, you’ll have one shot at catching that agent’s assistant’s attention. 
Basically, what I’m telling you is this. Querying is like going into Category 5 hurricane with an umbrella. What you don’t want is to query with an unfinished novel. 
And no, you definitely don’t want to query a first or second draft. You want to go querying with the absolute best you have to offer. In other words, a story you can’t imagine editing again. And the best query letter you can write. 
Without those, you haven’t a hope. 
Any other query tips for a new novelist? 

Insecure Writers’ Support Group

Ah! It’s nice to get a chance to share my insecurities with you all today. Although I tend to be really honest when I blog, I do try to tone down on worrying here, since I think it would really annoy you if  I shared my insecurities all the time.

But thanks for Alex, and the Insecure Writers’ Support Group, all of us get to share whatever worries us once a month and everyone supports each other. And today, I get to co-host as well, so welcome one and all!
But now, let me share what’s been bothering me. 
As some of you may know, I have been querying my first ever completed manuscript since September last year. 
I’ve basically been getting “no” ever since. But here’s the thing. I have a sneaking suspicion. Nothing I can prove, but that’s niggling me. 
I’m starting to think no one’s even reading my submission. 
The first few I forgive because, well. My query sucked. Now though, I have a really good one. And my book has been edited to a shine.
I’ve had positive feedback on the book again and again from people who never met me and who are from all walks of life and even different countries, so the safe assumption would be that my story has broad appeal. 
And yet, it took five months before I got a real personal rejection. And that one opened my eyes. Because this is THE agent in my genre. Who took a week extra to decide if he’d ask for more or not. (And no, he wasn’t late in responding because of being very busy. He thanked me for my patience while he decided.) 
The reason why he rejected the novel actually sucks, because what he’d seen as a problem was actually an impression created by the amount of words he’s requested. 
Point being. He looked at my query and saw something. Why hasn’t 40+ agents in two different countries? Yes, I know it’s a subjective business and all that, but if THAT agent saw something and no one else does, I’m thinking there’s something off. 
And basically, I think my problem comes down to two words. 
You see, somewhere, someone decided that it’s unpublishable and therefore not sellable. (Not a conspiracy theory.) So the moment someone sees it’s portal fantasy, they just dump the query. 
So that leaves me wondering. Do I lie in the query and take out the bit that starts on earth? Because odds are, they’ll just stop reading the moment my book starts on earth. So yeah. 
I’m starting to think that traditional publishing is out for this book. 
But as much as I know that this is going on, I still can’t help but think that maybe my book just isn’t as good as I think it is. 
So. Here’s my question. Anyone else been getting the feeling lately that agents aren’t really reading your submissions? I’m not talking about only spending a few seconds on a query before reading or dumping. I’m talking about not even giving the author a chance.

I was going to post something clever…

But I just got a personalized rejection from my dream agent. Yeah, part of me is thrilled to finally get some useful agent advice, but I’d really been hoping, you know?

It’s a bit sad, because I think what he pointed out isn’t really a major problem for the novel. It’s actually not even something that lasts a chapter. But I guess it shouldn’t have been there, hey?

So yeah. I’m just glad to know it wasn’t something terrible turning him off. That would have sucked. And it is my first novel I ever queried. Who knows? Maybe he’ll dig the next one.

Am I ready yet?

That’s the big question looming in my mind at the moment. How ready am I to return into the query trenches?

I’m both very eager and petrified of starting again. On the one hand, I know I now have a brilliant query. I also know that I have a one page synopsis that I like the look and sound of. I probably won’t be able to refine it much further than it is now.

At the same time, I have come to a decision. Something has to happen to Doorways this year. Either an agent says yes, or a publisher says yes, or I publish it myself. Point being, I am NOT sitting on it for another year.

It’s done.

So. By the time you read this post, I will have queried about 90 agents. Every single fantasy agent I know of. If none of them like the sound of my book, I’ll be going to my small publisher’s list.

And if someone still doesn’t believe portal fantasies can’t sell, I’ll go it alone.

Some of you might wonder why I’m leaving it as the last option: no reason in particular. I’m just following a progression that seemed logical to me.

As for why I’m in a hurry? I’m hoping to get my answers by March or April. That way I have a few months for my book to be edited, formatted etc. and still be finished on time.

Another reason: I no longer doubt my query. I don’t doubt my story. Not a single bit. So there will be no more revisions to my query and I’ll only revise if someone asks me to. Other than that, there’s no point for me to stretch out the process.

I know my book will go where it’s supposed to.

Wish me luck!

Anyone think I’m nuts? (I partially do.) Have you done something like this?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Before I start with today’s IWSG post, I just want to ask you to check out yesterday’s post, if you haven’t yet. It’s all about making the bloggosphere a bit more awesome, but I need your help.

Now, it’s time for another Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. In case you don’t know, every first Wednesday of the month, a group of us writers (led by Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh) share our insecurities and encouragement. If you want to sign up or just read more posts, click here.

My insecurity about queries actually vanished last night. Thanks to the amazing Erica Olson, I FINALLY think I understand how a query should be constructed.

Now, my insecurity turns to the synopsis. See, I wrote one, and I used to think it’s pretty good. Except I now have a brilliant query letter that goes with it. So it needs to be better.

MUCH better. Thing is, I don’t know how to make it so. *headdesk*

Still, thanks to you amazing guys who kept giving me tips, advice and links, I am learning. I just hope I have a good synopsis by the end of next week, because I want to start sending those suckers out again.

Anyone else querying/writing synopses? How is it going for you?

Here I am again

Amazingly, I’m still in one piece, despite a busy Christmas season. And it’s not over yet.

You see, my December looks like this:

Mom’s Birthday: 22nd
Christmas Eve (opening gifts): 24th
Christmas Day (Church and lunch): 25th
Uncle’s birthday: 26th
My Birthday: 28th (Money transfers welcome. ;-P)
New Year’s eve: 31st.

So as you can see, I’m not really getting time to sit still to blog without appearing to be anti-social.

Still, I’ve written a synopsis and revised my query again and again. I’m thinking I should send it to Query Shark before contacting agents, but that’s a story for IWSG.

In the mean time, I’m reading my friend Michael Offutt’s novel, Slipstream, at the moment, although the above-mentioned makes for some slow going. Ooh! Speaking of which, Oculus, the sequel to Slipstream is out, in case you’ve been living under a rock or missed all the posts about it this month. Go check these books out, if you haven’t yet. Mike’s one of my best CPs and he definitely knows the craft.

Alrighty then! I better get going again before my family sends out a search party.

See you again soon!

Who else have some important birthdays coming up between now and New Year’s eve? Anyone else still have family visiting?