My agent sent me notes on my latest novel yesterday, and they’re solid. They make sense. They help me see things about the novel I couldn’t see myself, and though the questions don’t show me any answers yet, they outline my challenges for how to go forward.

I feel lucky to have Kirby in my corner. He recognizes the potential in my draft and respects that writing a novel includes many evolutions. Furthermore, it’s nice to have affirmation that I’ve been working on something worthwhile all these months, something aiming… Continue reading

Writing Business Basics

DSCN1779.JPGNew writers often ask me about the business of writing, and they’re curious about what writers earn, which reminds me that the process can be rather opaque. This is partly because individual writers are reluctant to reveal publicly what they earn and partly because the range of earnings varies so much that it’s hard for a new writer to be able to predict what a project might be worth. Now with the potential for independent publishing (as opposed to traditional publishing with an established, royalty-paying publisher), writers have more publishing… Continue reading

The Secret Club

KeyHoleI venture to say that for writers, a mystique persists around publishing, as if all the published writers and people in the business were part of a secret club where they shared special handshakes and insider knowledge.  I suspect it has something to do with rejections, and the polite but impersonal way editors and agents say no to projects they must decline.  Writers outside the circle might well wonder why they can’t get in when the rules of admittance seem so capricious.  To make it worse, there’s… Continue reading

Agent Query Questions

Not so long ago, I had tons of my own questions about how the query process works and I wondered if I’d ever find representation.  I speculated whether my query would stand out or get lost in the slush pile without being read.  It was a time of careful research and cautious hope.  Since then, I’ve corresponded with dozens of agents, and I have found they are genuinely nice people with a passion for books.  Needless to say, they didn’t all want to represent Birthmarked,… Continue reading

Pondering Next Ideas with Agent

Ever since I talked to my agent Kirby Kim last week about what to write after the Birthmarked trilogy, I’ve been feeling optimistic and encouraged, both about the ideas themselves and the open-ended direction of my writing.  I’m normally optimistic anyway, but I did wonder if Birthmarked was a fluke.  Now I believe my brainstorming is leading me in good directions, and I’m grateful once again that I have a great agent to work with.

Food for Thought

As far as I know, there’s no prescribed way… Continue reading

Slush Pile Part Deux

Birthmarked wasn’t in the slush pile for long—two months—but that’s where it started.  What I knew about the process of trying to sell a novel was based on my failures with my literary novels (see previous post: Slush Pile Code) and my success with six romances I’d published (agentless) before I became a teacher.  I had no experience with children’s publishing whatsoever and no contacts, but there’s a way in for unknown people like me: through the slush pile.

I knew one thing for certain: the only… Continue reading