Get Ready For #PitMad

I have discovered pitch parties on Twitter. There are a few of them out there. If you have a finished, unpublished manuscript that is ready to query you can participate in the pitch parties.

What are they?  In one tweet, 280 characters, you pitch your manuscript. That’s it. Literary agents and publishers will read the tweets and if they like your pitch that is considered a request for materials. You get to query them specifically by their request.

Often with this type of query request, you might get a personalized rejection, or if you’re lucky and they like your query, then they will request more materials to read.

I’ve participated in a few and had 2 agents request partials and 3 publishers. There is no guarantee, but it is fun.

is this Thursday! Are you ready? Make sure you read the full rules here! Happy Pitching!

pitmad.jpg

It’s important to pay attention to the time. EDT. if not sure what your time zone is compared, you can google it.

It is also essential to follow the rules. People will notice if you break the rules. The agents and publishers will notice. The general consensus is, if you can’t follow simple twitter pitch party rules, you might not be easy to work with. After all, you want to make a good impression.

I will be pitching for Prophecy Ink.

How do you write a pitch? I can get into the details, or you can watch this excellent short video at iWriterly by Meg Latorre.  Click on image to see the video and her blog.
meg latorre.pnghttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7mZcyZU1JM#action=share

There are three things you want to highlight. Character, story and the stakes. It’s not a lot of space to work with, so the pitch needs to be compact.

Here are some that I used last time. I’ll be writing three new ones since twitter doesn’t like repeat pitches.

Betrayed by the police as a teen, Moira must now learn to trust a detective who can see her magic death-predicting tattoo. His presence puts Moira in the path of the assassins he’s tracking. With death all around them and chasing them, they must find the truth. #A #LF #F #PitMad

Moira gets three clues, two choices and only one small moment to change the prophesized death of a stranger. Assassins hunt her for defying the PROPHECY INK. She must learn the difference between saving lives to be free and saving a life so they may be free. #A #LF #F #PitMad

Moira doesn’t want to watch another person die horribly, nor to have assassins hunt her. She doesn’t want her life to fall apart beyond repair. It’s time for her to step up and find out who she is and what she’s made of. Oh, and save some lives along the way. #A #LF #F #PitMad

Each pitch is under 280 characters. That includes spaces and the #tags. I will write three new ones for this pitch. I have about 24 written for this story already.

I think it’s important to have three very different pitches. That way there is a better chance of catching someone’s attention.

It’s also fun to see what other people are writing about and how they pitch their story.

My advice about twitter pitch parties
If you’re querying, you should check these out. They are fun and a good way to get the attention of agents and publishers. As with anything, if you get a request, do your research, make sure they are legit. Have fun!

-Sheryl

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/09/04/your-daily-word-prompt-consensus-september-4th-2018/

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The Aftermath Of Rejection

Writing a story is an investment. Of time, energy, heart, soul and everything a writer has to offer. We put it all into our work and it’s hard when it doesn’t meet expectations and is rejected.

I’m going, to be honest, it is very hard to be told no, over and over and over again. Every single rejection brings a deflating wave of disappointment down on me. Sometimes I feel fragile and shattered by the mass amount of no’s. The key is to let it go. Move on and forward. I expect rejections and I’m not bitter about it. It does suck no matter how I look at it or feel about it. I just refuse to let it stop me from trying again. When I started this journey I told myself that there was only one outcome, being traditionally published. I plan to do whatever I have to do to get there. I have a fantastic support network of family and friends that believe in me and offer the encouragement needed to get through the vast swamp of no’s.

I’ve talked about this before, but since it’s part of my daily life I’m talking about it again. Only this time what do I do when I’ve been rejected 100%? First, I look at the possible and most likely reasons my Query was declined.

  1. The agent is busy and I suspect didn’t actually read my query
  2. My query letter wasn’t good enough
  3. There’s too much competition (There always will be, I tell myself to get over it)
  4. My synopsis wasn’t gripping enough
  5. My hook wasn’t as hook like as it could be.
  6. The agent isn’t actually open (Even though they say they are)
  7. There are errors that may need addressing (Grammar, structure, flow, etc.)
  8. My story isn’t good enough. (Yes it is. Never believe your story isn’t good- I dismiss this thought as soon as it pops in my head.)
  9. I’m not a good writer. (Again I dismiss this one too. I am and will only succeed if I don’t give in or give up.)
  10. There are too many queries out there to get noticed (This is a numbers game where persistence will pay off)

Regardless of the potential possibilities I must be open to suggestion and set my ego aside. I will go through each and take the time to ask, can it be better? THe answer is yes.

SO what do I do about it?

  1. I buy/read books on query letters, synopsis writing and open my mind to the possibility that I’m not perfect and there is room for improvement. If I’m rejected 100% over 300 times, then something needs tweaking or fixing.
  2. I look at my notes on the agents and agencies before querying again. (This is a big task and I use spreadsheets to keep track)
  3. Professional editing is always an option (unfortunately it’s also expensive so I do my best to work through it myself.)
  4. I set my work aside for a while before looking at it again. Proximity can be blinding. 
  5. I never give up. I know what I want and I’m going to get there. Even when it feels insurmountable, I never stop trying. 
  6. I get others to read my work and ask for honest opinions. Sometimes, ah who am I kidding, all the time, criticism is hard to hear. But if I’m not willing to listen then I’ll never get my end goal of traditional publishing.  This is the hardest to do and I’ve taken some, sulked and over time mulled it over and found solid advice/reasoning and finally use it to move forward.
  7. I talk to others in the same situation and those that have succeeded. Jealousy will get me nowhere, petty thoughts of ‘why did they get published and not me?’ are dangerous and won’t help.
  8. Keep my mind open to possibilities and change

Although I’ve had well over 300 rejections in my last round of queries I know I need to keep at it. I will revise my query letter, synopsis and try again. I’m also in the process of finding out how to better tailor each and every query to better my chances of getting noticed. There is one thing I’m doing that is huge, but I’ll discuss this another time.

My advice about the aftermath of rejection.
The entire process is an emotional battle field. No matter how carefully you plan your attack and defenses there will be a struggle, loss, pain, highs, lows, frustration, and elation, before you win the battle. The only way there is to never stop trying.

-Sheryl

Other related posts.

Keeping Track

Rejected

Tricky Little Non-Rejection

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

 Bitter
Tailor

Spring Editing Is In The Air

Spring is in the air and the birds have started chirping and singing. It’s a busy time of year. I eagerly await my tulips and daffodils. I discovered some plants that should have died over the winter, are still alive. I’m shocked and excited. Like hope for obtaining a literary agent, they stuck out the cold and brutal winter of rejections and survived.

My most recent query quest is almost at an end. There are only a handful left of queries to expire. I’ve begun work on the new revision of chapter one and I’m hoping to have it done soon. I’ll begin again with the queries as I continue with my new book.

The new book is coming along very well. I’m drawn in and working hard on the arcs and mini arcs. I know this one will need a lot of revision and revising once I’ve got the bones put together. But that is a long way away. For now it’s all about getting the story done and developing the characters and their interactions.

As I read blogs and other stories I see styles that I like and incorporate them into my writing. Learning as we go is key. It’s important to not only improve our own technique but to fine tune our own unique styles. I know my voicing is distinctly mine, because I wrote it and did not attempt to copy or mimic any other writer specifically. I wrote how I would want to read the story. This I think is key. To be true to myself.

While I am divided with projects at the moment, I’m loving the challenge and excitement a new story brings. I must be prudent with both stories and how I proceed. They are both very different I don’t want to mix character styles when editing and writing. With the thrill of a new season starting, I feel the energy of a new chapter of my adventure beginning.

So it’s time to get to work and do some spring editing on BiaAtlas’s first chapter and get it back out there with a fresh new feel.

My advice about writing.
Keep writing what you love and know. Write what you want to read, because if you do, someone else is bound to love it too.

PS the tulips in my image today are what I’m waiting for in my garden. That picture was taken two springs ago.

-Sheryl

Other posts that are fun

It’s funny you said that…

Mood swings

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

 Prudent

Rejected

Rejected again and again and again.  I’m almost at the end of my latest round of queries and alas all rejections.

Being rejected is such a personal thing. It goes right to your soul and chips away instilling doubt and depressive emotions. That’s natural. Nobody likes to be told no or they’re not good enough. However in this industry it’s sadly common to be rejected and struggle to get noticed.

I queried 125 agents on the last go.

41 sent rejection emails. All of them but one was a cookie cutter generic cut and paste insult to my effort.

45 have done nothing whatsoever.

5 are in limbo and still waiting to expire.

Within that 125

42 of them responded with an auto responded to let me know they got the query.

34 of them listed an expiry date and let it expire without any formal rejection. This is the agents way of not bothering at all. There is no way to know if they even read the query letter.

Each agency have their set of rules for querying and within in them each agent has their own requests/requirements/rules.  Basically it is an effort to apply to each agent. When I get nothing or the form rejection it’s a bit insulting and unfair. IMO.

I’m in the process of polishing my new first chapter rewrite and once that’s done and all the queries have expired I plan to try again. Many now famous authors took years to get published so expecting to land a deal right away would be setting myself up for disappointment.

The truth is that literary agents are busy, too busy. Even if they say they are open to queries I’ve found many of them say they are not in their rejection letter. They all say, in one way or another, “not a good fit for me” or “I don’t represent your genre”  All if it’s funny since they specifically say what they are looking for. And yes many of them have ‘assistants’ that preview the query for them and “reject” on their behalf. So I’m not even getting to the actual mystical freaking unicorn agents.

Regardless I’ll keep trying. Giving up isn’t an option and someday BiaAtlas will be published. Since my last round of queries I’ve learned enough to know how to proceed this third time. It’s a lot of work but I know it will be worth it. Some day I know my query will make it past the slush pile and actually read. One of these days I’ll open an email with an acceptance… a request for more information. *Sighs wistfully…*

While all this is going on in the background I’ve started a new book series and have been having some struggles with it that I’ll probably blog about later. For now I head out to work, where I’ll run through plot ideas for my new book as I wait for customers to come in.

My advice about rejection and agents.
They do what they do and well. They are worth the effort getting to. Have a lovely day everyone and remember, giving up is like sending out a “form” rejection letter. You deserve better.

-Sheryl

Other related posts (Judging by this rejection is a hot topic of mine)

Tricky Little Non-Rejection

Keeping Track

The many faces of Rejection

Rejecting the rejected

The rejection letter

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

Acceptance

Keeping Track

It’s no secret that I’ve been querying agents like a mad woman hoping one will nibble and ask for more materials.

While the no’s pile up and the rejection letters pour in I will keep moving forward until I’ve exhausted every possible agent out there.

But with so many queries going out how do I keep track of them?  A spreadsheet is my first go to. There is a website called QueryTracker.net that a fellow blogger introduced me to and it is really cool, except if you want the ‘full’ experience and access to all their features you have to pay.  I’m frugal so I use their free service and still use my own method of tracking.

I try to keep it simple and clear so I can easily see what’s going on and as I update it’s not a pain in the ass. This spreadsheet did not start off this detailed. As I’ve gone along I’ve added, removed and changed columns. I use colour to help visualize important information as well. I’ll add more colour indicators if I need to keep an eye on something specific.

What I like to keep track of:

Date Submitted:  the date I submitted the query to the agent. This is important
The number:  I just like to know how many submissions I’ve done
The Email: Only if I emailed one specific or if It was listed on the online form
Agent: It is important to know which agent I’ve queried and when so I don’t repeat them.
Agency: This one is important so I don’t query any agency while an active query is                                   pending
Website: This way I can quick refer to their site if I need to.
What was submitted: Each agent/agency has different requirements. I like to keep track
               Q – Sent them a query letter
               S – Sent them a Synopsis (will indicate in notes if full chapter synopsis)
               Pages/Chapters how much of the manuscript did they ask for? blank=none
               Online form Used online form not email. no O means it was sent by email
Query Time Limit: Most agents/agencies will give timeline in days,weeks, months. Some                                          don’t and will say no response equals a NO.  I give these ones a generic                                        eight week expiry.
Expiry: This is important for me. I use timeanddate.com to determine when the query                          expired. A preemptive No automatically expires the query.
Expired: I like to make it obvious to myself when a Query has expired so I can move on.
Confirmation received: Some agencies will confirm they’ve received the query. It’s nice to                                                know they got it. (Don’t pester them if you don’t get one unless                                                      they specifically say to.)
Response:  Yes? No? No response? This is important to keep track of so I don’t break any                            rules. It also shows which agents didn’t bother to respond if the query expires.                        I make sure to highlight the entire line in red if I get a no, and in orange if it                                simply expired.
Notes: Some agencies have very specific rules or requests. THis is a good place to put this                   information. Also if an agency says No and NOT to contact any other agents. You                     dont want to be a jerk.

Here is what a snip-it of my spreadsheet looks like for ten agents (No these are not real listings and the real list is well over a hundred)query-listHere is a close up of what that form looks like. I hope you can see it better. If you want a file example contact me by email (in the contact me section of my blog) and I’ll email you this sample in excel format.

query-list-close-up

I’m sure there are ways to track more efficiently such as using Query tracker, but I’m not a fan of paying for something I can do myself with a bit of effort. I still use query tracker’s free service in conjunction with my spreadsheet. I have over a 120 queries out in the slush land of hopefulness. So keeping track of what’s out there is important. If an agency says only query one agent at a time and I screw up they will reject any and all future queries. Yikes!

My advice about tracking Queries.
DO IT!  don’t rely on emails or memory to remember who you’ve queried and not. What ever way you keep track, make sure you do. It’s also better to start the list immediately or if you haven’t, get one done asap. 

-Sheryl

Other posts that might be more fun than this one was

Building chemistry

Inviting innuendo

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Ten

Glance back to look forward

At the risk of sounding cheesy, I have to say I’m hopeful. For many things and many reasons. I could say it’s because the new year is coming, but new or not, I’d still be hopeful.

So much has happened this past year, good and bad. I wont bog you down with the personal pros and cons of my life, or all the things that did or didn’t happen globally, but I will share the part that is my writing journey.

I will glance back to look forward to 2017.  2016 was a busy writing year. I wrote two novels (After BiaAtlas). I have in planing, two entirely different story ideas for new books. I started a blog to share what I’ve learned. Through my blog I’ve discovered, learned and met some fabulous writers. I completed editing and revising BiaAtlas managing to get the word count well below the max allowable limit. Now just as the year is coming to a close, I’m taking the earnest plunge to find representation for BiaAtlas in the from of a Literary Agent.

So far I’ve queried 47 agents at 47 different agencies with hundreds to go. Unlike the last attempt, this time, I’m hopeful. Sure I expect a bunch of rejections, however now I’m ready for a “yes please send me more material to read.”

While BiaAltas Querying is in the works I will begin plotting out and planning my next book. A totally different genre, all new characters and crazy antagonists to kick them in the ass. During this I will start editing and revising BiaAtlas book 2 that is eagerly waiting it’s turn for polishing.

My advice about being Hopeful
No matter what aspect of your life you’re looking at, if you don’t feel hopeful take a step back. Take a good look as to why and then kick that party-pooper doubt’s sorry ass out the door and welcome hope in to the New Year party!  You control the guest list.

Happy New Year everyone!

-Sheryl

My favorite blog posts I wrote from 2016 and why

That is disgusting because it’s super gross and funny

KISS your writing Keep it simple stupid! This advice is my #1 fave.

The FAB pencil – Describing objects can be so much more than the obvious and overdone

I’m ‘that’ kind of writer – I had fun writing this one.

Well colour me silly – A discovery that saved me hours and hours and hours of work.

Well I can’t list all of my favourites I have too many. I enjoyed writing them all and each one is unique. So the last one is my first real blog post.

The “word count” down.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Hopeful