Writer Wednesday – Decoding Agent Lingo.

As I continue down this journey of finding an agent, I have a hard time finding agents with an #mswl (Manuscript Wish List) that includes Steampunk Romance.     Steampunk, yes.  Romance, yes. Not necessarily both. 

Romance is a broad genre and it includes a lot of subgenres.  I usually end up looking for Paranormal Romance, Fantasy Romance or Sci-fi Romance.    Arguably Steampunk fits into all of these but forms don’t usually account for the historical piece of steampunk.   Sigh.  

 

BTW – If anyone out there is writing Steampunk that has YA(Young Adult), NA (New Adult) or even MG (Middle Grade) elements – Agents are looking for you.  

Women’s Fiction seems to be making a come back but I’ve seen these variations; Women’s Commercial Fiction, Women’s Literary Fiction, and Women’s UpMarket Fiction.   I was starting to wonder if these were all snooty code for Romance.   For Your Information they are not.   

UpMarket Fiction is a phrase that bugs me…once I looked it up,  it bugged me even more.  According to my Google search as an adjective it means, “relatively expensive and designed to appeal to affluent consumers.”   Okay… I still have no idea what that means. 

I was speaking to another author recently and she was telling me that she’d received over 83 rejections in a year and then just last month found an agent on a Twitter Pitch Party.    I’ve only sent out a handful of queries…so I have a long way to go. 

I imagine agents are much like readers, they know what they like, and they probably have an easier time selling what they like to read.   So here’s crossing my fingers that I find that agent who loves what I write and can sell it into the market. 

~Tina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Writer Wednesday – The importance of options

Since starting my Agent Quest at the beginning of September, I’ve sent out 11 queries and received 5 rejections and 1 No response (although the website said if I don’t hear from them in 3 weeks, it was considered a pass).   I’ve only had one agent request a partial, all others have been rejected simply on Query or the first few pages. I currently have 5 queries out there and am prepping another letter to send off, as I like to have 6 queries out at once, since this is a time-consuming process. 

I admit I wish I was getting more feedback, like “we aren’t searching for a Steampunk Romance”, or “No one is looking for this,” or “You’re writing needs work specifically in these areas.”   Unfortunately most have simply been, “we are going to pass on this project.”   

“Why?  Why are you passing?” I wonder. 

Last week, I talked about my looking for Beta Readers and this is why.  So I can find out if its something in my writing that isn’t working.   My concern is that the writing is fine, and I’ve missed the market on Steampunk.  If that’s the case, even if I decide to go direct to the publishers, I may have a difficult time finding a home for this manuscript.   It makes me question if I should write something saleable for NaNoWriMo or work on the next book in this Steampunk series.   

I have been researching Indie publishing for the very concerns I listed above regarding the market for Steampunk.  I personally love the genre mixed with romance and feel there aren’t enough books, but maybe I’m in the minority on this one.  Although by all accounts, this seems to be a loyal fan base if you get “it” right, and there is a significant amount of self-published (indie) books in the genre.  I feel if I did go the self-published (Indie) route that I’d at least have a chance to succeed (or fail) based on readers. 

But I digress as this post was about Options.   Even though this process has been long and tiresome, I do still have a good portion of my agent list to work through and then after that my editor list.  I’ve decided to give my agent search until January and then I’ll be querying publishers directly.  That list is pretty long too. 

To give myself options when I go to find either an agent or publisher I make an excel spreadsheet of what they are looking for and what is important to me, so I can expedite the list, so really when I can the rejection I’m not so dejected. 

I admit my experience with publishers (especially digital presses) is that they know exactly what they want and the turn around on query, and usually the manuscript is much faster.   Many publishers now take the full manuscript so there is very little waiting.  

Well I should write that next query letter, so I can hurry up and wait. 🙂 

~Tina

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writer Wednesday-Beta Readers

Beta Readers are becoming more popular as authors go Indie and want a reader to look over their work rather than an editor.

As I’m looking at a more traditional publishing model via an agent, I’ve considered looking at Beta Readers as well.

When I digitally published, this wasn’t as much of a concern as there was enough editing done in-house, I worried less about content as there were so many eyes looking at it, and I had really good editors. 🙂

I’ve asked my fellow authors who use beta readers how they go about finding them.   There seem to be a number of ways to do this:

  1.  Post to FB, Twitter, etc and ask for Beta Readers to read your latest book.  I think there are Beta Reader Groups out there.   I plan to post to a Local Steampunk group as I think they might be interested in reading my story. 
  2. Readers you meet randomly – I actually found a reader at a Con last year, and I think she will work out well.  I’d like more beta readers, but one will do for now.
  3. Friends and Family – I’ve heard reason’s not to use friends and family, but my argument would be that you are looking for continuity in your story.  That being said, make sure you pick a friend who is an avid reader.   Also,  if you write Mystery and your sister is a hard-core YA reader, you may want to take that into consideration when reviewing her feedback.  She can likely still provide great character insight, but may not enjoy the read as much as she might a YA read. 

I’ve heard Indie authors who use Beta Readers prior to Editing and some use them after.   Obviously I will use them before hiring an editor.  I’m looking for Beta readers to review for content, character likeability, plot holes to some extent and the like.   I’m looking for an overall critique, not editing.  I believe that should be done by the publisher, as I’ve experienced in the past.  Honestly, if an agent tells me to hire an editor – I will likely skip the agent process all together. 🙂 

Until next Writer Wednesday, be naughty. ~Tina 

P.S. If you are interested in being a Beta Reader for a Steampunk novel, go ahead and comment below. 🙂

Writer Wednesday – Writing the Synopsis

The synopsis is an integral part of most submission packets, including my most recent agent submissions.   This was a struggle for me, as I hadn’t written one since I published “The Pilot and the Pinup” with  Liquid Silver Books.   A fellow author told me to break each of the chapters down into paragraphs.   I did exactly that and it was quiet the disaster.

The Acquisitions editor at the time informed me I suffered from Dreaded Synopsis Syndrome.  Boy did I ever.   LSB requested a love scene (probably to make sure I didn’t purple-prose the hell out of it) and the last chapter (likely to make sure the book was done).   They accepted my full ms and I never had to write a synopsis for them again.  Thank the writing gods.

Thankfully, My other digital publisher, Resplendence Publishing, didn’t require the synopsis.  Whew.

Now that I’m looking for an agent I’m back in the land of having to write a synopsis.  Ugh!

Luckily, there is a ton of info on the interwebs on how to write one.   I found this site to be very helpful.

http://www.publishingcrawl.com/2012/04/17/how-to-write-a-1-page-synopsis/

After writing said one page synopsis, I find some agents now want 3-5 pages.  Ugh!   And I thought I’d mastered the dreaded synopsis.

~Join me next week as we continue the query journey.

Writer Wednesday – Request

Last week, right after I posted my rejection post.   I received a request for an additional 50 pages from another Agent.   The Universe must have a plan.  

I had met this agent at an RWA conference a couple of years ago when the manuscript was just getting started in my head and on paper.    She had given a talk on agents and how they help you in the business.  That talk made me look at querying agents for this book that was an idea in my head.     Especially since what I had written was such a bit of a departure from my current work.   

I will still have to wait a few more weeks before I hear back, but this is exciting news.  I remember listening to her talk, and getting a good vibe.  

As you read this, I’m heading to the airport to go on my annual retreat with the WZG Founders.   And plotting my next book.   More on that next Wednesday. 

~Tina

Writer Wednesday – The End

I finally typed “THE END” on my first steampunk novel, “The Courtesan of Constantinople”.

I’ve decided to pursue an agent for this book, so I’ve been making a list.   My list is comprised of agents actively looking for Steampunk.  Also adding those who requested during #Pit2Pub or perhap have Steampunk as a #MSWL.

Because I’m pursuing this route, I thought I would keep the inquiring minds among you up-to-date as I progress through this ‘new’ process for me.

Until the next update be naughty! ~Tina

Recovering from the Romantic Times Con

So drove the nine hours back from #RT13 yesterday, following Speed Dating with some Awesome readers.

In hindsight I think I would’ve gotten a 3-day pass for this particular con having really pushed it physically as an author this year. 🙂

Here’s a brief re-cap

Wednesday
1. Not at RT. 😦 I’m at my M-F job doing month-end from 7am to 7pm. Ugh!
2. Head home, finish packing eat dinner and go to bed.

Thursday
1. Get up at 1am to drive to KC – hoping to be there by 8 or early morning at the latest. DH & I get delayed by winter storms in IA and end up arriving at 11:00 am.
2. Check into hotel. Get to room and find out the work books are not closed. So I have to work for an hour at said job above. Finish at 2pm. Go get lunch in shops under the Westin.
3. Make it to one panel, Steampunk: It’s not about the goggles, do an impromptu pitch of my current WIP and realize the editor is looking at me like I’m an idiot. Clearly I have to re-evaluate this story. 😦
4. Go to the Book Expo hosted by ARE. Quick run over to Isabella Drake’s table and drop off gift basket for The Sex Goddess Hour friday am, don’t introduce myself so not sure if she even knows who I am other than a crazy lady. 😛
Manage to score some swag from Sylvia Day for a co-worker.
5. Go have drinks with Liquid Silver Books (the highlight of my con) and visit with fellow authors. Robyn Peterman shows up – sweet!
6. Go get ready for the 30th annual ball, Debbie Cairo saves me a seat.
7. Attend the 30th Annual Ball, great speakers but given my long day I start nodding off between speeches. Debbie says we have to leave because I’m snoring. :O

Friday
1. Get up at 8am sicker than a dog. DH holding back my hair as I worship the porcelain god. Ugh!
2. Finally manage to recover by noon and we make our way to the shops to find food.
3. Attend one class What rights do you have and how much are they worth? – Really good, decided if I ever go the NY route I would look at the agency that hosted this (Janklow & Nesbit). Smart ladies.
4. Feel bad DH is stuck back at the Westin so go visit him and skip other classes – stupid move Note: Always take classes – that’s what you paid for. DH and I have an early dinner because I heard rumors that there won’t be food at the Vampire Ball.
5. Attend Entangled Publishing’s “Candy & Spoons Reader Event” – another great highlight. I’m pleasantly pleased with the publisher’s marketing techniques and authors seem happy. Hmmm.
6. Attend Heather Graham’s Vampire Ball and guess what? – There’s food. Dang! I have a great time dancing the night away.

Saturday
1. Already a slow planned day as most events are for readers not writers.
2. I’m up early so DH and I head over to the Sheraton to get some breakky. I go to The Giant Book Fair to get the books I’ve won signed and to see if I can picky of Maya Bank’s and Cathy Maxwell’s latest historical.
3. Standing in line, I meet Rosalie Stanton, who also writes for LSB. We have a nice chat and talk shop. For anyone who knows me – you know I could sit and chat shop all day. I love it.
4. Get into the bookfair and get books signed by YA authors Jus Accardo, Lisa Burstein & Victoria Scott. For my personal collection I score Beth Ciotta, Cathy Maxwell & Katee Robert. Alas Maya is nowhere to be found. 😦
5. Head back to have lunch with DH & Debbie. Go for a swim and get ready for evening parties.
6. Attend Carina Press Cocktail Party – this is a fun event I recommend for anyone attending. It’s a great promo opportunity for their authors and readers get to find some new reads. 🙂 The give-aways are pretty good too. Stay for HQN dance party -got a dress just for this.

Sunday
1. Originally decided to stay all day but hotel is no longer extending the RT room rate and parking is crazy so DH & I opt to leave.
2. Attend Author Speed Dating – this is a fun event and I would do it again. I paired myself with the lovely Lila Dubios, who is both charming and chatty. A nice match for my reserved self. We meet with readers and they ask us questions. Great!
3. Drive 9 hours back to the Dakotas and drink horrible coffee along the way. 😦

All in all it was a nice RT, but wonder if I should’ve stayed local and attended Corecon instead since I missed out on so much.

Until next time be naughty!
~Tina