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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Agents are People, Too

A recent comment from a reader really made me stop and think.  I talk about agents and publishers from my own very specific point of view--that of a writer trying to get published.  I know I have made a few somewhat bitter remarks--not here, I hope, but aloud, to family and friends--about the seeming futility of my publishing quest.  

But what about those agents?  Surely I know, somewhere in my heart, that they aren't all villains, sitting in dark offices, rubbing their hands together in glee at the idea of crushing the dreams of yet another aspiring writer.  I know that, in the paraphrased words of my sister's fourth grade teacher, "agents are people, too!"  (She actually said something far more icky and gag-inducing that had nothing whatsoever to do with agents.)  They have full and busy lives, and they are working to find the books that will sell to publishing houses for the highest price and thus bring THEM income, too.  I know that they are courted by thousands of writers, and I know that they must get really sick and tired of reading unsolicited queries.

Although my books are not necessarily faith-based works (that's a complicated subject, and one I'd love to address later), I do feel that I was led to write them.  And before I send each query, I pray that it would reach the hands exactly the right agent and then editor.  So while I have to admit to feeling a little disappointment with each rejection letter or total lack of response, in my heart I know that it really only means I haven't queried the right agent yet.

I'm going to try to stop thinking of agents and publishers as commodities and remember that they, too, have responsibilities and needs.  I'll even try to stop whining about how tough it is to write the perfect query letter (emphasis on the word try!).

And agents and/or publishers, please, feel free to share any insights or suggestions in how we writers can treat you right.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Life Gets In The Way!

When I first began writing seriously, it was as though I were treasuring a precious secret, not unlike a newly pregnant woman who knows the world will find out sooner or later but is happy to keep it to herself just now.  I loved the writing process; I loved my characters and I loved my story.  Any time I could steal away, be it late at night or early in the morning, I was writing.  It was a heady experience.

It was also a unique time of my life.  We had lived in central Florida for about a year, but we hadn't yet made an friends or social connections.  Things were pretty quiet.  I wasn't driving kids to classes or activities.  The freedom was amazing.

But as often happens, life changed.  Suddenly we had friends, we had commitments. . .and finding dedicated writing time became more of a challenge.

I managed to finish the first book (writing in the stands during baseball practices, in the middle of the night and in various doctors, orthodontists and dental offices) and then somehow also wrote the second.  But I have to admit, I'm finding the third a little more complicated.

This year my life has been busier than ever.  My second daughter just graduated from high school at our local homeschool convention.  We have house guests coming for the month of June.  We're getting more involved in our new church, and that's all in addition to the normal activities of homeschooling, helping my oldest daughter and my husband with their papers, housework and child rearing.

And then add in the additional writing opportunities and commitments.  I'm writing several blogs and articles for online publications, not to mention query letters, summaries and synopses.

It can be really overwhelming.  I'm yearning to get back to some simplicity in my days so that I can dedicate my more wakeful hours to writing.  This summer looks promising.  My goal is to have book three finished by the end of the summer and to have an extraordinary amount of queries out in the world by the end of June.

For now, I'm in Augusta, Georgia visiting friends, and I've realized that even when I don't have time to actually get words onto the page, I can still do character research. . .the world is full of inspiration!