Thursday, July 15, 2010

After The CALL - What makes for a good ending?

Today I'm blogging as part of the Golden Heart Spotlight. if you have an extra few minutes, hop over to Elisabeth Naughton's blog where I'm blogging about what the endings of novels do for us, sharing some of my favorite books and my thoughts about that all-important moment of Catharsis. That's the moment when we fulfill our promise to the reader and give them the emotional release they deserve for following us for hundreds of pages. It's also the promise that our next book will supply more of the same.

Come over and share your thoughts on this subject.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I got the CALL - Not the race to the finish

If I ever do a memoir, 2010 has to have it's own section, if not very own volume. This year is a whirlwind that keeps picking up size, strength and velocity.


I signed with an agent, Andrea Somberg from the Harvey Klinger agency. She began submitting PULL to editors.
February Rejections arrive. (I swear, someday I'll put up the highlights of the rejection emails I got for that book. Some are simply priceless.) I'm dejected, but she maintains her enthusiasm. I remind myself it's only a month. And at least with an agent you don't have to wait six to eight weeks for your rejection, that's got to count for something.
March I hear the first nibbles from WestSide Books. They want my story. Andrea sends word to two other editors looking at the book, they’ve got competition.
AprilI get THE CALL from WestSide. Forty minutes later I’m taking deep breaths and sitting back down in my chair – I was attending the Chicago North RWA Spring Fling Conference at the time, and sadly missed an entire session. But my book was on the road to publication. And I know everything has to be pulled together in record time. WestSide wants PULL as their October 2010 release.

Meaning, I’m off to the races.
MayAndrea and WestSide enter contract negotiations. I begin working on revisions because no matter how much they love your book there’s always something that needs to be changed. WestSide’s artist design the cover. Meanwhile, WestSide pitched PULL to booksellers, who agreed to place orders. I have to say, I couldn’t have asked for a better cover. It made me look, not once but twice, and I realized if I passed it in a bookstore I would at least pick it up to read the cover blurb. What more could I ask for?

Speaking of cover blurbs, this intense introvert was given the task of soliciting for YA authors to read and provide blurbs on PULL. And they wanted award winning or best selling YA authors. During this process I discovered two dismal truths.

1. Award winning and best selling authors seldom have free time, their responses to the requests begin looking a lot like rejection slips.

2. And, if you make enough cold calls, even the most hardened introvert eventually learns to just shrug when it’s time to make another.

There was also one happy truth – make enough requests and finally someone says they’ll take a look. Thumbs up to Tanita Davis, who promised to tell what she really though. And Thank God PULL actually impressed her. You can see part of her review on my website
June I began promotion activity, including getting a website up (mostly), creating a custom PULL T-Shirt so I can walk around advertising my own product. Getting business cards to hand out in answer to questions the shirt provokes.

Andrea and WestSide complete contract negotiations. I get to sign the fifteen-page contract. OMG!!

By the end of the month I begin working on line edits. Like I said, there’s always something that needs to be changed. BTW – people warned me I would get tired of re-reading my own book before the process ended. I’m beginning to feel like I could recite the thing from cover to cover in the dark.

July, August and September will have their own set of trials. Including ARCs, reviews, final edits, Marketing, marketing and more marketing. And then, October and The PULL Book Launch.

I’ll keep you posted next month. Meanwhile, I’m off to get that author photo for the inside back cover. Like Alice's White rabbit, I'm late, I'm late.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I got the CALL - But that's just the beginning

Yes, there was a long journey from the moment I first picked up a pen and began PULL (Don't laugh, I'm still a pen-and-paper first drafter) until I found Andrea Somberg, my wonderful agent. I can't count how many drafts were involved, but there were numerous contests and queries. I never did pitch this one --interesting. I received form rejections and really nice personal rejection letters. I even wrote back to some, thanking them for their encouragement. Still a rejection was a rejection. Even after the story won first place in the Golden Rose and I learned the agent wanted to read the full I said, "Ah, another nice rejection coming." I sent it to Andrea, along with another copy in response to a request for a full after a query.

Then the magic began. Both agents wanted to represent me. It wasn't a real problem. One liked my manuscript, Andrea LOVED it. I wanted that kind of enthusiasm working for me.

After signing with her in January, she took on the job of pitching to editors. I took on my own issue. Unexpected bleeding that turned out to be more than just uncomfortable. In many ways 2010 has been like a novel.

An OUTER Journey:
  • Me vs. "tumor behaving badly,"
  • Me reading countless rejections - yes, even agents sometimes get form rejections.
  • Me obstinatly insisting that I would go on my planned vacation, in spite of it's nearness to my surgery

And an INNER Journey:

  • Learning that I wasn't alone as countless people rallied to help me
  • Learning to enjoy the rejections, especially when one said the ending was too predictable and another that the ending came out of the blue and needed more foreshadowing.
  • Learning that it only takes one acceptance, and having that come in March, 2010 as I sat alligator watching during that vacation.

The deal Andrea formed with Westside Books called for for the story I called Pull My String, and they renamed PULL, to be published in October.

October, 2010!

Next - The six-month race to the finish.