Saturday, January 9, 2010

Miscellaneous mental wanderings

It's Saturday morning.

Thought number one:
It's flippin' cold outside! Yep, folks, it does get cold here in "sunny" Florida (never did understand that nickname), and it seeps into your bones because of the wicked humidity.

Thought number two:
I spent some time plotting out a novel I started a few months ago. It's completely unrelated to Finding Angel, and I'm hoping to have it finished in six months when a certain unnamed publisher reopens for submissions.

Thought number three:
I also spent time plotting out a short story based on a character from Finding Angel. It is taking on a life of its own, however, growing at an astounding rate. I think...rather than a short story, I may have a prequel to Finding Angel on my hands. Gotta finish books two and three!

Thought number four:
My short story, "A Day Better Spent" will be out in The Absent Willow Review one week from today! I will, of course, post the link when it comes out.

Thought number five:
An anthology I submitted to is closing one week from today. I've been told I'm on the "potential shortlist list" at this point. I'm SO praying I stay in the running to the end! I REALLY want to be in this antho!!

Thought number six:
I've been searching for small presses to submit Finding Angel to. I've been pondering the "to agent or not to agent" debate for a while (as I send one query after another to them). I thought about writing a whole post on this topic alone, but I'm afraid my frustration will reign supreme at this time, and I don't want to come off snarky ;). But I was led to this post on the role of agents and have been thinking lately how much sense it makes.

Thought number six:
The other side of the coin--searching for legitimate small presses, who actually take my genre, who are actually open for a time consuming and frustrating process as well.

Thought number seven:
I'm supposed to be posting about marketing, aren't I? Well, I'll delve more into the details of marketing the anthology that releases in March when I get contributor purchasing info next month. For now, I'm working on my "platform" by speaking at a writers group (local branch of ACW) in a couple of weeks. The leader of the group is Ruth Ellinger, author of Wild Rose of Lancaster, Wild Rose of Promise, and the soon-to-release Sword of the Wild Rose. She has asked me to speak on the topic of getting personal experience stories into magazines and anthologies. I am honored, excited, and a bit nervous :).

And here's the wandering part...

Thought number eight:
I have some odd "credits" that I don't know whether or not to mention in query letters and such. I've participated in judging a writing contest. Not a "real judge" but a preliminary judge who critiqued submissions to narrow down the pickin's for the agents and publishers who made the final selections. And as I just mentioned, I'm now starting to actually formally present on writing topics. I've also got a great critique of my first chapter of Finding Angel from an editor at a major publishing house, which I received at the last conference I attended. Do I use this information? Can I use her name without asking her since I have her comments in writing? Do I bug her and ask her permission? And how the heck do I put all this kind of stuff in a query letter and still have room for a synopsis of the story?

OK, I suppose I should stop here. Your eyes are probably rolling back in your head right now--but thanks for stickin' with me through the whole post!


KM Wilsher said...

Great thoughts. I think you would want to leave "8" out of your initial query letter and focus on the story. That is MY advice, I hope to see what some others say here. It is a good question. You have soem real knowledgable "stars" that leave comments here.

As for the agent. . . I read a little of that post you linked to. I just have to say that a friend of mine talked to an editor of a huge publishing house while at a conference. This guy was TRULY interested in her MSS. He said get an agent and bring it to me. This was a year or so ago and she still does not have an agent.

I wonder. I haven't even been tempted to look for an agent yet. But I have just been sending out short stories and focusing on small presses. I'll be interested to watch this question answered in your journey.

I knkow you this wasn't a ask KM's advice post, just some thoughts I had while reading your thoughts.

Btw, it is going to be 70 degrees here today. . .thinking of you LOL

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

On number 8, I would never mention it. This would lead the agent or editor to assume that the rest of your work needs a full edit before reaching the potential of the first chapter. If you had a full manuscript edit, then you could mention it because it shows that you're serious and you seek other's advice and act on it.

Kat Heckenbach said...

Ok, I think I follow your line of reasoning, Dayle, but that's not quite what I meant. I had the opportunity to submit my first chapter and synopsis at a Christian writers conference for review by an agent/editor. Mine ended up in the hands of an editor who loved my writing (she did not edit it for me--she just gave me her opinion of my writing) and she told me I needed to find a house that publishes YA fantasy. (The problem is, she could think of none in the CBA.)

So, it's not that I had help with that chapter and the rest needs work--it's that an editor from a respected house felt my chapter--as written by me, and polished by critiques of fellow writers--would have compelled her to ask for a full if her house took fantasy. The rest of the book is of the same caliber as the first chapter.

Anyway, it seems the consensus is that I should leave that info out regardless.

The reasoning behind my asking is that when an agent rejects a manuscript (or query letter) he/she is essentially saying, "I don't think a publisher would buy this." So, I thought maybe I should show them that a publisher would be interested because one has already SHOWN interest.

Anyway, it's all in God's hands.

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

I wasn't quite thinking on those lines, you're right.

I still wouldn't mention it. The work will speak for itself.

Kat Heckenbach said...

Well, Dayle, I wasn't all that clear in my wording when I wrote about it in the post. I realized that when I went back and reread it. It did sound like I had an editor go through and tell me what changes to make.

But, yes, with more thought, I agree with all that I should not mention it in my submissions.

Thanks for the comments! And for listening to my ramblings :).

Brandon Barr said...

It's been in the seventies here in Southern California for the past two weeks...Maybe we'll switch with you in florida soon.

I enjoyed all your thoughts :) You've got lots going too...but my head can't handle it.

owo xD said...

Wow. Those are quite the ponderings. I'm looking forward to that link. :)

Seems like you've got your mind made up about that query letter, so I don't need to add my opinion... but I think I will anyway. I'd say in the query letter you should only mention the major publications you've had. I think those speak louder than a quote from an editor would. In your proposal it's a different case. If you're one of those people who likes to add an endorsements section I'd say that quote's a great thing to include--so long as you get that editors permission.

That's an unfortunate predicament about the CBA. The people who do take YA Fantasy are full and will only take on the already established writers. Hopefully things will change soon.