Sifting through the query piles I come across all kinds of fodder for blog entries that I keep telling myself I'm going to write and then find little to no time to do so. Today, I've put aside a few things and dedicated some time to actually update my blog.
In talking with a few of my clients, friends and family about what I do and the projects that have come across my inbox, I've realized that much of what I do is so multi-faceted and completely away from the limelight that it is easily overlooked. The worse part of it is when I overlook it myself because of everything I have going on! Here's where you, potential and/or existing client, can help (in a very Jerry Maquire way of helping me help you)!
- Read, Review, Revise - But don't stop at the first revision. No. Find an editor who's not afraid to "tell you how it is" and LISTEN to this person (or group of people). Friends and family are great for our self-esteem and ego but they are not going to tell you that your story sucks. They don't want to hurt your feelings. A real editor is going to read your manuscript and point out the POV changes, the subject-verb disagreements and the times they were completely lost in your story and had to put it down because they couldn't keep reading it. As harsh as their criticism can sound, these are the people whose advice you should be seeking. Their input is what will improve your story and make you a better writer. Your bruised ego will be the last thing you think of when you see your published book. It's like labor, every pregnant woman will tell you we all remember labor... but the memory of the pain diminishes the minute we see our child in our arms.
- Don't Stop Writing - The minute your manuscript is in the submission phase with your agent, pick up your next project. Some authors start writing their next book the minute they finish their first book but I think they're more the anomaly than the norm! Yes, it's important to take a break from writing from time to time to recharge the batteries, get the muse going and give your carpal tunnel a break but if you're going to make this a profession then make sure it's a break, a holiday, a vacation... not a sabbatical.
- Network - Take some time to get your name known in the social networking sites. Your name, after all, is the most important thing to your growing business. Readers become fans and fans like to "know" their star. You may not like to spend time on Facebook or Twitter but that's where the readers are. Prime your readers for your next projects and when your books publish, you'll have instant sales!
- Submissions Take Time - Some submissions can be out to publishers for MONTHS. Why? Some publishers don't accept multiple submissions. If I send your manuscript to one of these publishers and they're backlogged at the time, it can take them several weeks to get to the manuscripts. After they read them, they may want to send the manuscript to another editor (or executive editor) for a second opinion. This could take another few weeks for a response. If they want the manuscript and send a contract it's still not a done deal. Contract negotiations can take a few days (to a few weeks). If it's NOT accepted, submitting to another publisher means starting the clock all over again. So what should you be doing during this wait period? Yep, see #2 above!
- Touch Base with Me - If you're my client and have not heard from me in a while, don't hesitate to "poke" me via e-mail, through a DM on Twitter, a text message to my cell phone, a ping on Yahoo Instant Messenger... I think I'm even available via smoke signal. I've heard it said that the agent/author relationship can sometimes feel like a marriage. In some instances, it's more like a parent/child one. Those of us with children understand the demands each child puts on our time and how important it is to spend one-on-one time with our children... how quickly we come to realize that it's just a pipe dream! Sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day and inevitably I will miss out on catching up with one of my children and they feel neglected and hurt because of it. Unfortunately, it's not any different with my clients. Yes, your project is important to me. No, it's not the only one I'm devoted to at the moment. Yes, I plan to get back to you on it as soon as I can. No, it's likely not going to be anytime in the next week or two. No, that does not mean I hated it; just means I ran out of hours in the day. Yes, please keep writing.
- Know the Industry - There are so many great blogs and articles available that will help you stay "in the know" about the changes in the industry. I sometimes learn more from these articles and blog entries than I do from one-on-one time with others in the industry. One of my favorites is BookEnds. If you're not following this blog, be sure to start now. Great information and always chock full of wise advice that I need to remember to take more often. ;)
Don't let anything stand in the way of your success!