Writing Show: From Random Thought to Random House

We know getting your novel published is an arduous journey with the chance of success just shy of nil. But it can happen (perhaps enough to tease).

We know getting your novel published is an arduous journey with the chance of success just shy of nil. But it can happen (perhaps enough to tease). April’s Writing Show, “From Random Thought to Random House,” tells of one who overcame the odds. For Michele Young-Stone, lightning has struck her twice — once as a bolt through her body as a young girl, then as a streak of luck that got her novel to print.

Writing Show Panel

The local author shared her inspiring  story with the audience. Joining her was her agent, Michelle Brower and her editor, Sarah Knight. They chatted with moderator Virginia Pye about Young-Stone’s debut novel, The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors.

Perseverance does pay. Brower initially turned down the manuscript. Instead of dismissing the rejection, Young-Stone made significant revisions to her work and got another agent to represent her. But this arrangement didn’t work out and Young-Stone resubmitted her work to Brower who agreed to represent her. Then Knight entered the picture, telling the audience that by this point the novel was so well polished there was little for her to do other than convince the publishers to make the right decision.

Brower said that at any given time she has 500 email queries. Discouraging indeed. But what can help get you noticed is a great title, as was Young-Stone’s case, a compelling premise and an engaging voice.

Book Trends in 2009

Appropos of an earlier post, here is an article forwarded to me from friend Mary (thanks, Mary!).

Appropos of an earlier post, here is an article forwarded to me from friend Mary (thanks, Mary!). USA Today offers “Trends, Triumphs of the 2009 Book Year.” Vampires, of course, are doing well. Hopefully I’ll finish up soon and join the ranks.

FML Submitted

Today I triple-checked my manuscript of Full Moon Lament…

Today I triple-checked my manuscript of Full Moon Lament for any spelling, grammer or punctuation mistakes, then added the cover page, and stuck them into a manilla envelope along with a SASE and note. Went to the Post Office and mailed my first submission off to Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine. Here’s hoping the editor is as pleased with it as the writing group.

From P&W: Q&A for Four Literary Agents

Poets & Writers published a lengthy interview of four literary agents: Maria Massie, Jim Rutman, Anna Stein and Peter Steinberg.

Poets & Writers published a lengthy interview of four literary agents: Maria Massie, Jim Rutman, Anna Stein and Peter Steinberg. The discussion covers much of what the reader would expect: What grabs their attention (or repels their interest); how writers go about getting an agent; and their view on the state of the publishing industry.

It’s worth reading the entire piece, and here are some things that struck me:

  • “I don’t even read synopses,” said Stein. The other three agreed. They go right to page one of the manuscript.
  • Where do agents find writers? “Not blogs.” Three quarters of discovered writers are from referrals.
  • What could beginners do better? Take chances and not worry so much about a turning in a perfect manuscript. Also, find several friends who can give candid constructive criticism.