Posted in Literary Agents

What Happens After you Sign with a Literary Agent

Hey all,

I thought today I’d chat about a subject that’s shrouded in mystery for most writers:

What happens after a writer finally becomes represented by a literary agent?

This experience is different for every writer. There are hundreds of literary agents out there, and when you match them up with the thousands of writers who sign with them, the results can vary. So, I can only speak for myself when I bring up this topic. However, there are some commonalities that I like to focus on so that maybe, somehow, you’ll feel less anxiety should you ever find yourself courted by your own fabulous literary agent.

For me, the days that followed my signing with Golden Wheat Literary were a whirlwind, and actually not that much different than I pictured, imagined, and dreamed it would be like for the last seven years. A permanent smile was plastered across my face as I made calls to my closest family members and friends. I told everyone who asked the story of how Rebecca Angus requested my pages, how she eventually requested the full, how much she adored my book (yes adored!), all about our amazing phone conversation including her offer of representation and her exciting plan for my manuscript. (Yikes!)

It was an exhausting and exhilarating and crazy and wonderful time! For the full story click here.

That first week was something special because not only did I gain an advocate for my work, I gained a slew of writer friends at the agency including their founder, literary agent Jessica Schmeidler too. It immediately felt like a combination of a family full of encouragement and congratulations, and a team that I had just been selected to.  It felt (and still does feel) amazing to become a part of something so fantastic that I’ve work so hard for, for so long.

I have to admit that suddenly being represented by a literary agent felt like validation—like I had finally made it to the big leagues or something. I can’t explain it any better except to say, I felt like I’d just jumped into the basket of a hot air balloon that was going to carry me to the next level in my quest to get my manuscript published.

 hot-air-balloon-57_3

 Over the course of that first week after signing, Rebecca and I communicated mainly through email.  She let me know what I should expect from her in the weeks to come, and a pretty specific timeline for when I should expect it. It was all so reassuring and made this journey into the unknown somehow less daunting.

So this is the part you’re probably all dying to know. What’s the timeline? How soon after I sign, will my book actually go out on submission to editors? Well as I said before, every writer’s manuscript is different and every agent’s  situation is different.

Overall, here is my understanding of what happens next for most every writer.

A writer will receive an edit letter. But here’s where every agent and letter is obviously different. Some edit letters will indicate massive changes, and some will indicate minor ones depending on the readiness of the manuscript.

The other big question you’re probably wondering is how long after I sign with an agent will I receive my edit letter. Well, that depends on the agent and the condition of your manuscript too. If an agent handles hundreds of clients, it may take her longer to complete it and then send it along to you. If it’s a busy time of year, it may take her longer as well. If your manuscript needs massive revisions, the letter will take a bit longer still.

But here’s the thing, you will probably know the answers to these questions by the end of your call with the agent, or at least before you sign on the dotted line. Rebecca and I spoke at length about the condition of my manuscript and how ready it was to go out on submission during our call. I felt very confident and clear at the end of the call about what the next step would be for me.

Many agents are very good with communication. I am thrilled to say that Rebecca is one of them. She was in constant contact with me immediately after signing and was very specific about the time frame. It made it much easier to manage my expectations and not refresh my email every forty-five seconds. She was also clear with what I should be doing until I received my edit letter. We had talked during the call about a sequel to my manuscript and she was on board with the idea. Since I had already planned out the major plot points, she encouraged me to get started on it.

So that’s what I did while I waited for my edit letter from her. She also put me in touch with one of the other middle grade writers that she recently signed on to represent. The agency has a fantastic “team” philosophy and it was a great way to come off the bench so to speak. Ultimately we ended up reading each others manuscripts… I immediately felt like  part of the team, acting as an additional beta reader for an amazingly talented author. I’m not sure if this happens often or rarely, but that’s what happened for me.

Rebecca also made me aware of the comp titles she would be using to pitch my manuscript in her proposal, and wanted my opinion. (My opinion!) So be prepared for that. A few were titles I had not read, so it gave me a chance to read a couple of recently published middle grade books similar to my own. It was a fun assignment to have because now it was sort of my “job” to read—which of course I was eager to do!

Some agents are more active on social media than others, and depending on how yours is, that may be a way that you communicate in an informal way in addition to phone calls or email. Rebecca happens to be pretty active and I’ve come to appreciate that she’s busy and inundated with emails—from querying writers, clients, editors…so interacting on Twitter is a way we can connect even if I’m not receiving weekly emails from her. When I tweet that I’m working on some new chapters, and she favorites my tweet or replies with a word of encouragement—it’s like an unofficial check-in. I don’t have to email her with my progress, but she’s still aware of what I’m doing. So it’s possible your agent may work this way too.

I received an evaluation of my manuscript and my edit letter from Rebecca a few weeks after signing, and got to work right away on revisions. They were like gold in my hands! I couldn’t wait to read through them and then dig right in. It was time to polish my manuscript up to a shine. 🙂 Meanwhile, Rebecca was busy preparing a list of editors she would target in the first round of submissions, and also the proposal she would present to them with regards to my book. What’s included in that proposal I will include in a future post if I am able to disclose that info. This is all pretty new to me so I want to be sure not to speak on anything that may be confidential.

After I completed my revisions, I sent my manuscript back to her and crossed my fingers. Its always nerve wracking having someone read your manuscript, and even more so when it’s your new agent!  But she loved my revisions and I was fortunate that I didn’t need to revise a second time. However, many writers go through several revisions before their agent feels it’s ready to go out on submission. In fact, its pretty common from what I understand.  So be ready for whatever’s thrown your way—Be open to his/ her expertise, be sure you understand what they’re requesting, and take your time getting it right. As much as you want to hurry and get your baby out into the world, you’ll have a better chance of ultimate success if you make your story into the best possible version of itself.

So that’s it. That’s what happens immediately after signing. Of course there are exceptions to this and if there are I’m sure I’m not the only one who would love to hear them…so comment away! Or comment anyway if you’d just like to say Hi!

I hope this topic has been helpful. I always handle new situations better when I have at least a vague idea of what to expect. Hopefully this info can do that for you.

Because your time will soon come.

If you keep at it long enough and work hard to improve your craft, it just will. Because it only takes one agent to love your work—to become an advocate for your story. I’m so lucky to have found mine! Now go on and write something—and if you haven’t already, go find yours! ❤

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*Photo credits- unknown

 

 

 

Posted in Publishing, Writing Craft

Get to Work! Make me Care about your MC

Hey there!

Sorry for the aggressive title today but I think many of you can use that reminder. I actually need it myself sometimes too! On the blog last week, I said that publishing is just crazy sometimes. It’s slow. It’s fickle. It’s unpredictable. But really, what business isn’t? And we all need to remember that publishing is a business. It’s not a book group or a hobby convention. Publishers are trying to produce the best books for their intended audience. Literary agents are trying to choose books that publishers will buy. As a writer, neither of these things are in your control. Likewise, once you do have a book deal, you have no control over how many people read your book or what they think of it. And all of that can be so frustrating.

Remember that saying, you can’t please everyone? The same is true with books. Not every reader likes the same book. Not every agent will be wowed by the same book. Not every editor or publisher will see the same potential in a book.

So the truth is, the best way to ensure that a literary agent chooses your book, a publisher chooses your book, a parent, teacher, bookseller, librarian, or reader chooses your book is to write a good book.

And even still, there are no for sures in publishing.

I love the Caravel series by Stephanie Garber more than I like the Harry Potter books. Does that mean anything? Not really, just that books are subjective. I’m not telling you anything you haven’t heard before. But what I will say is that if you’re trying to get your manuscript published and eventully into the hands of readers, then get back to work. I know, I know. You’ve been working on it for two years–maybe three. Well, maybe you need to work on it more. Have you been querying it for six months with no interest from agents? Not even one? Then look at it again. Something probably isn’t working and it’s not the agent. It needs more polishing. It needs something.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing tips on revision. We all know we need to revise, but sometimes we forget where to start. Both new and seasoned writers need to look for the same things, and whether you’ve written half a manuscript or twenty, it’s easy to overlook the basics when a newly finished draft is staring back at you. One of the most basic tips I can offer is this:

Make me care about your main character.

What does your MC want the most? What will happen if they don’t succeed? Are the stakes clear? Are they dire enough? Is your MC likeable? Will the reader route for them? A reader will follow a character through almost any journey if they care about them. Is your MC trying to save the world or find a hidden carrot? Who cares as long as we feel for your character and want them to succeed. Bottom line: make the reader care!

There are so many points to look for when revising your manuscript, but creating a MC that your readers will want to read about is one of the most important. So this week, get back to work on your MC. Read your first several chapters with fresh eyes. Would someone else feel for them? Would they turn the page to find out why achieving their goal is important to them? If the answer is no, maybe you need to up the stakes. Maybe you haven’t dug deep enough and shown how it will impact their life. Or maybe your character just isn’t likable. If they come off as brash or unrelatable, your reader won’t cheer for them in their quest. But if they are, their quest will become your reader’s quest. They’ll read on to discover what happens to them.

In Spin the Golden Light Bulb, eleven-year old Kia Krumpet wants to win a Golden Light Bulb. It’s pretty simple. But unless the reader understands why (in her mind) her whole life will fall apart unless she wins one, my readers won’t keep reading. I mean, a Golden Light Bulb is a pretty shiny trophy and all that, but it’s what the trophy represents, what winning represents, that make readers want to (hopefully!) stay up past their bedtime to read Kia’s story.

That manuscript took me four years to write—four years to get right. It may not take you that long, but remember, there are no shortcuts to writing a good book. You have to put the work in. You have to do more than just dream of seeing your book on a bookstore bookshelf. And believe me, I spend quite of bit of time doing that too!

So make your readers care about your main character this week. It will pay off so much down the road, in making your publication dream come true! I did that very thing earlier this week. I received copyedits for Pop the Bronze Balloon from my editor. But as I read through the manuscript, I used the opportunity to look at Kia through fresh eyes. I asked myself, Is her goal clear? Are her stakes clear? My readers have followed her through two books already and now for this final installment, I had to be sure that they still care about her and her quest. Will she finally get what she wants? Hopefully my readers care enough about her to find out!

I should have news on the updated release date for Pop the Bronze Balloon soon, (yay!!!) so check back for that! I’ll be posting it on social media as soon as I know. BTW, if you aren’t following me on Twitter or Instagram, please do! I’d love to connect with you. And if this post was helpful, please leave a comment. Interacting with other writers makes this whole community feel closer so if you’re here, let me know!

Thanks for stopping by the blog. 🙂 Have a fantastic day, everyone. I’ll be back again next week!

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Months ‘Til Pub Date: Behind THE CRIMSON FIVE

Guys. Pub date of SPIN THE GOLDEN LIGHT BULB is three months from today. Three!!!

Spin the Golden Light Bulb with yellow flower

I’m dying for you to read this story—so excited for you to meet the characters, and I thought this would be the perfect way to start…

I’ve always known that at some point I wanted to share the story of the original Crimson Five kids who inspired my first middle grade book.  Sure, I could let my first book be published—with me telling the world (without saying anything at all) that the five main characters were completely made up, created simply from my wild imagination. And that would be partially true, but it wouldn’t be completely true.

When writers write fiction they can’t help but let bits and pieces of people they’ve interacted with seep onto the page. Characters become a mix of the real and unreal, a mix of more than one person even. And it was no different when I created the Crimson Five kids. Except that each of the kids was inspired by five very real eleven-year old children. Sure, I fictionalized the children—kind of a lot! I added character traits and put them in situations that didn’t actually happen. The story is set in the year 2071 after all!

But because my first book was inspired by my Odyssey of the Mind experience with these kids, I wanted to give them the attention they deserve, because I am positive that if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have had a story like this to tell!

For seven years, I was an Odyssey of the Mind coach. Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem solving competition. For details, go here. I coached many, many kids thorough the years—each of whom inspired me with their creativity and problem solving skills. It was five kids in particular though who spent many years together as a team, who inspired me with more than their creativity and problem solving skills. They inspired me with their ability to work as a team in the best way possible. And that’s such a unique skill to possess, especially at age 11.

But most of all, to be honest, their antics inspired me. They were the funny, and silly, and serious, and thoughtful, and hardworking, and inventive…and all so different from each other. But somehow they knew how to pull together, play to each other’s strengths, and create such incredible things…together. When they advanced to the state tournament in their very first year working all together, I was surprised. But when they advanced to the World Finals, I was downright shocked. Not that I didn’t have faith in their abilities, it was just that, well Odyssey of the Mind is an international organization. Literally thousands of kids from all over the world are involved. Those are some serious odds to overcome.

The experience we had at the University of Maryland was what they call an experience of a lifetime, and I knew that as long as I knew my own name, I would never forget that experience. At that time, back in 2011, I had been writing for about four years and was querying my second middle grade novel, with no luck. But it wasn’t until we all returned home from the World Finals that I realized I had a new story to tell, something so different that the types of fiction I had been writing. It took me almost a year to make sense of my thoughts and ideas, inspired by those five kids and the adventure that we had. It took me two additional years to revise the story, another year to find an agent to represent me, and again another year to sign a book contract.

And now SPIN THE GOLDEN LIGHT BULB is just three short months away from publication and I can’t help but to feel overwhelmed at that fact. It doesn’t help that when I look at these pictures below I realize that these 11 year-old kids are now 17! Time sure flies, doesn’t it? It just goes to prove that the publishing business is so. very. slow.

Here’s a few pics of the kids—the original Crimson Five: Kara, Adam, Meg, Jake, and Julia who would eventually turn into Kia, Ander, Mare, Jax, and Jillian. Sure, I’ve embellished a little…well maybe a lot! Meg is nowhere near as difficult to work with as Mare is. (Sorry Meg!)

Adam, Jake, Meg, Kara, and Julia

The Crimson Five- Posing before competition- Ander, Jax, Mare, Kia, Jillian

The Crimson Five- Finale pose- Kia, Mare, Ander, Jax, Jillian

The Crimson Five- Photo for the town newspaper- Mare, Ander, Jillian,Kia, Jax

The Crimson Five- NY tee- shirts Kia, Ander, Jax, Jillian, Mare

Seriously guys, how cute are they?  Just wait until you see them now. They’ll be making a surprise appearance on the site very soon, along with a few other special people, to help me promote the book. I’m counting down the days until then!

Over the next month, I’ll also be updating the site with fun facts about the characters in the book, an excerpt, and the book trailer! So check back:) If you’d like to see a copy of the Spin the Golden Light Bulb magically appear in your mailbox on the day it releases (January 9, 2018), just pre-order it and watch what happens! I’d love if you’d share the link and tell your friends about it too. In the world of publishing, the success of a book depends largely on the number of pre-ordered copies. Hmm. Who knew?? So if you could share the links below for me, it would mean so much!

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

IndieBound

Goodreads

Thanks for checking in today and for sharing in my excitement for this book. Three months, Guys. Three months!!!

Hugs,

Jackie ❤

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Swirl and Spark Weekly

Hey Guys,

Guess what? The release date of SPIN THE GOLDEN LIGHT BULB is less than 5 months away and it’s now available for preorder! And do you know what that means? It means my book is real and this is really happening! *Squee!!*

Here’s the link from the publisher where you can order from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Soon the IndieBound link will be on their site too, but for now I’ll give you a separate link in case you’d rather order from your local bookseller. Oh my gosh, I sound like a commercial. What is even happening??

Amberjack Publishing Catalog- Spin the Golden Light Bulb

IndieBound- Spin the Golden Light Bulb

Something else really amazing happened today too. I got my first review on Goodreads, from someone that isn’t a person I know. And it was a good one, a really good one! I was so overwhelmed and blown away that this reader liked my book, that she really, really liked it…and she gave it five stars that I literally cried. Like full blown ugly tears. I couldn’t help it. I was just so taken by surprise, I guess. I didn’t even think I would care about reviews even…until I got a good one.

Okay, so I know what you’re thinking. What’s the big deal with one review? There could still be many more that are not good. And I know that’s true. But for now, for me, this review means everything. It means at least one reader loved my story enough to keep turning the pages- to follow my characters on their journey. And that’s what writing is all about, isn’t is? To write stories that other people will connect with, will enjoy.

So for now I’ll bask in my good review, and cover my eyes when I see a bad one. Well maybe just one eye. Oh heck. I won’t cover my eyes at all. I know I’ll read those too!

Oh and how can I forget? Yesterday I turned in my first round of edits for Book 2…Flip the Silver Switch. And let me tell you, it is no less nerve wracking the second time around. But it is strange. I’m not even used to the idea of my first manuscript becoming a real book and I’m already talking about my second one becoming one too. I’m not complaining or anything, I’m just a little dazed that’s all and trying to find sanity in the craziness.

And that’s why I was anxious to check in with all of you today. Connecting with you feels therapeutic somehow. The only thing that would make it better is if you guys comment and let me know what you’ve been up to. It doesn’t matter if it’s book or writing related or not. My day today consisted of doing laundry, managing my kids’ school paperwork, and organizing our family files. Oh and cleaning the kitchen pantry. You know, adulating. That’s what happens to me when I’ve been in the revision cave for too long. The house falls apart and the laundry pile grows. Strange how that happens, huh?

So anyway, I’d love to hear from you if you feel like saying, “Hey!”

Until next time, have a great week my friends! Thanks for stopping by:)

Jackie <3

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Meet Romy Sommer

Good morning! I think it’s time I posted a new Q& A from the Writers Around the World Series, don’t you? I’m happy to introduce you to a lovely writer from South Africa! Meet Romy Sommers…

Romy Sommer 2014

Hi Romy, Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by the site. First things first. What name do you like to go by, and do you use a pen name for your writing?

I write under my own legal name (Romy Sommer) – mostly because I’m so absent-minded I’d probably forget who I am if I had to answer to any other name. I’ve actually kept my ex-husband’s surname because it’s such a positive sounding name – sommer is German for summer (my favorite time of year!)

Aw, I love that too!! Where are you from and where do you live now?

I’m half South African and half German. I was raised in Durban, South Africa, a sub-tropical seaside town, but now live in Johannesburg, also known as eGoli (the place of Gold). I’ve lived in South Africa my whole life, apart from two magical years I spent in London.

I would so love to visit South Africa someday, well and London too. 🙂 How long have you been writing?

I’ve written pretty much my whole life. In first grade, when we were asked to write about our holidays, I wrote about going to the circus with my older siblings. Since my teacher knew I had no older siblings, and the circus hadn’t been in town, she called my parents in as she was worried about how I was making things up. My father (bless him!) defended my right to an imagination, but after that it stayed my guilty secret until I was in my 30s and realized that writing the stories in my head down for other people to read was actually a legitimate job.

You father sounds like a gem! What age group and genre(s) do you write in? The same one all the time or have you written in more than one?

I write for adults and, since I write romance, I write mostly for adult women. I write in two genres: contemporary and 1920s historicals (the age of jazz , short skirts and champagne cocktails!)

That sounds really fun! We know how important it is to read widely in the age group/genre you write for. What’s a book you’ve read and loved?

There are so many! I have the attention span of a butterfly, so I can’t even remember half the books I’ve read and loved. Most recently, I read Rebecca Crowley’s Crossing Hearts, the second in her Atlanta Skyline sports romance series.

With so many great books, it’s hard to resist them all! What’s a book out of your genre/age group you’ve read and loved?

I’ve just started the sixth and final book in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. I love all her Shadowhunters YA paranormal books!  Before that, I read Cocaine Blues, the first in Kerry Greenwood’s Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries series. I love cosy mysteries, and really envy anyone who can write them!

Writing is the greatest profession there is—obviously! If you weren’t a writer, what would you want to be? Don’t hold back. No limits on this one!

Ooh, this is a hard question, mostly because I’ve been obsessed with becoming a full time writer for so long that I haven’t even thought of doing anything else! I guess if I could choose from any job in the world, I’d want it to be something that involves traveling to all the places on my bucket list (as long as it doesn’t take me away from my kids for too long).

Sure, it’s possible to like both, but which do you like better—drafting or revising?

I think I prefer revising. As Nora Roberts famously said: “it’s easier to edit a bad page, than to edit a blank page.” There’s also a magic in seeing how even the smallest changes can make the writing stronger.

Do you plan first or write as you go along?

A mix of both. Before I start, I need to know who my characters are, what they need to achieve by the end of the book, and at least a few of the incidents that will take place to get them there. Then I just write and see what happens. My worst blocks happen when I start writing but have no clue what target / event I’m aiming at. If I have at least a few key scenes sketched out in my head, then I’m good to go.

What’s your favorite day of the week? How come?

Sundays. Every other day is filled with rushing to the day job, doing errands, getting kids to appointments or extra murals. I feel as if every other day I’m juggling so many balls and dropping at least one. But Sundays are my ‘stay home in yoga pants’ days, and (best of all!) they’re my main writing days.

Where do you usually write? At a desk? Outside? In the car? Be honest. Where does the magic usually happen?

Monday to Friday I write in the car in the mornings. After I drop my kids at school, I park under the trees at the far end of the school car park, haul out my laptop, and write. I have my coffee flask, a muffin, and no internet to distract me – what else do I need? I also find that even half an hour of writing improves the rest of my day hugely. When I leave that car park to drive to the day job I’m in a much better mood and ready to take on the day. Deprive me of that ‘me time’ and I’m just grumpy all day!

Your mornings seem blissful! 🙂 Are you a morning person or late night owl? What time do usually write?

I’m a night owl and terrible at getting to bed any time before midnight! That said, these days I find it best to write in the mornings. Since I have to get up early anyway to do the school run, by the time the kids are in bed at night my brain is just too tired to think clearly enough to write. So instead, evenings are when I do admin and marketing tasks (which is a fancy way of saying I send emails and sit on Facebook).

What made you write your story in the first place?

My last release, Not a Fairy Tale,  is the story of Hollywood stuntman Dominic. He was a secondary character in my previous book, but he was so much fun to write and kept wanting more page space, so I decided he needed to get his own book.

What’s your favorite food(s)?

Without a doubt, chocolate.

What’s your favorite drink to drink while writing?

Mostly coffee, but on those occasions when I’m writing at night then I switch to red wine (and maybe that’s why I’m too unfocused in the evenings to write!)

Do you have any hobbies, besides writing?

As I said, I have the attention span of a butterfly, so I tend to switch hobbies on a regular basis. Not that I’ve had much time for anything lately! Over the years I’ve been obsessed with embroidery, researching King Arthur and Britain’s dark ages, genealogy, and Formula One motor racing. At the moment, I’m trying to get myself fitter so the only thing I’m squashing in between day job, writing and kids is sessions with a personal trainer.

Tell us about your day job, if you don’t mind.

At the moment, I have a day job as a film production manager. I used to work on feature films and TV series, but just over a decade ago I moved into advertising, so I now work on TV commercials. My job is the logistical planning of film shoots, the complete opposite of the creativity of being a writer! My dream though is to be a full time writer and writing coach, so I can live in my head all the time!

I’m the Chairperson of ROSA (Romance writers Organisation of South Africa) which I co-founded with a friend. I’m also the coordinator of ROSA’s annual conference, so even though it doesn’t pay, it’s a full job in its own right!

All of that sounds pretty interesting to me… but you sure are busy! Tell us about your family.

I’m a single mom to two gorgeous little girls. I am so proud of them and they bring me so much joy (when they aren’t fighting each other!) but they’re also hard work, as they both have ADHD and learning difficulties. We live with my mother, who is my right hand, and I couldn’t achieve everything I do without her!

Thank goodness for little girls…and mothers! Who’s usually your first reader(s)?

I belong to a wonderful critique group called the Minxes of Romance, though it’s been years since we did much critiquing. We’re mostly just very tight friends these days, since we’re published and a lot more confident in our writing. That said, if I feel I need someone to read my book before I submit it to an editor or agent, they’re still my go-to girls.

What has been your biggest writing accomplishment so far?

Being nominated for the RWA Rita award! It was completely unexpected, and completely mind-blowing, and because of the nomination I got to visit the USA for the first time. It’s such a cliché to say that even though I didn’t win, it was such an honor to be nominated, but it’s also completely true. I felt like a complete unknown in that category, was so in awe of all the other writers who were nominated, and the trip to attend the Rita ceremony in San Diego last year was a life-changing moment for me. Just being there was without a doubt my greatest accomplishment and greatest honor.

That sounds so fabulous… and congratulations. It is a huge deal to be nominated!!

Getting published isn’t easy. Why do you keep trying?

Every now and then I wonder if it’s worth it, all the time I spend away from my family trying to write the next book and the next one, and especially when sales are low and it’s not bringing in enough to quit the day job. In those lowest moments I’ve even considered quitting writing. But it never lasts long. It’s in my blood. I’d still write, even if I wasn’t writing for publication. I can’t seem to stop those voices in my head!

What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to writing?

My biggest struggle is just sitting down to write. It’s so easy to get sucked into reading, or reading about writing, or promotion and social media, and before I know it, all my precious writing time has wasted away. Which is why my best writing happens in the car, where I have no internet or emails to distract me!

What’s your next step? Revising? Writing a new book? A sequel?

I’ve just started the second book in a series I’m calling the Rebel Hearts series. It’s a little slow going at the moment, though, as the first book in the series hasn’t yet found a home with a publisher, but I’m driving myself on.

Do you have any advice for writers still in the query or sub trenches?

Don’t quit! You never know when you’re going to make it, but you will. Anyone who has the drive and passion to write will succeed. After all, as someone famous (I can’t remember who!) once said: the published writers are the ones who never gave up.

So true! What will you do when you reach your next writing goal? Who will you tell first?

Earlier I mentioned the Minxes of Romance, my lovely, close-knit group of writer friends. We met online when we were all just starting out and unpublished, and we’ve become so incredibly close over the years, and though we span the globe, many of us have now also met in person. They are the first people I tell all my writing news to, both good and bad, and they’re also usually the first people to hear all my other news too.

If you could travel to any place in the world, and experience any culture (for inspiration of course!), where would that be?

There are so many to choose from, but I think at the moment Germany tops the list of places I want to visit. My father was German, I travel on a German passport, and my children attend an international German school, but I haven’t been there since I was 12. I think it’s high time I go back.

I hope you get there someday! And I wish you the best of luck with your already published books and your new writing too. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us today. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you:)

Thanks for reading today everyone! To connect with Romy, you can find her in the following places:

Website: www.romysommer.com

Writing Coach blog: www.writingcoach.co.za/blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RomySommerAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/romy_s

And here’s a peek at the cover of her RWA Rita award nominated book!

Not a Fairy Tale_eBook_RGB

Living a Writer’s Life

Writers live the best life ever, and the worse life ever. Sometimes both in the same day.  Read on for my take on what it’s really like to be a writer.

Writing

A writer’s routine includes writing. Many don’t write daily, but they write consistently. If long periods of time go between their writing sessions, it takes them that much longer to get back into their story. Maybe they’ve forgotten how their characters were feeling when they last worked on a scene, or how to access their voice. So they re-read that scene and sometimes another before they can add new words. And for writers, that’s wasted writing time. That’s why they try to write every day.

Writers don’t actually want to write all the time. But…writers make writing a priority anyway. Even though they want to binge watch Netflix when they get home from work, or work out, or read a book, they force their butt into the chair and write the words because they know that even the greatest words will never be read  if they don’t write them down… along with many others.

Writer’s spend too much time procrastinating. They peruse their Twitter Feed and stalk their friends on Facebook…even though they’ve set aside sacred time for writing. Then they wonder why they’ve only written 200 words in two hours. True story.

Writers think their stories stink. They also think their stories are brilliant. They think these things every day and sometime both on the same day.

Writers think about their stories even when they’re not writing. They think about the world they’ve created while showering, while cooking, while grocery shopping and even sometimes while they’re talking to their mom on their phone. Sorry, Mom! Not that talking to Mom isn’t important, but characters feel like children to their creators and the worrying, the planning, the dreaming about them simply doesn’t end when a writer turns their computer off.

On each and every birthday, writers make a writing wish. While they blow out their birthday candles, they quickly sum up their greatest writing desire. They wish to finish writing their manuscript. They wish to sign with a literary agent. They wish for a big fat book deal. They wish someone will buy their book, or lots of people will buy their book. They wish for a book launch party. They wish everyone will love their book.

Writers drink warm drinks. A lot of them. They drink coffee. They drink tea. They drink lattes. They drink Red Bull. Oh  wait, that last one isn’t warm. Well, I guess it could be, so whatever. And these drinks seem to fuel their creative energy.

Writers sometimes write in their pajamas. Actually many writers write in their pajamas and don’t shower or brush their hair. It’s kind of a thing, I guess. However, some writers actually shower every morning, get dressed in real clothes, do their hair, AND put on make-up. That’s actually a thing too. I hope I don’t have to tell you which one refers to me.

Writers hate telling people what their story is about. They can write a 70,000 word novel but writing an elevator pitch is worse that running out of coffee. Writers didn’t always feel this way. When they first started writing, they loved telling their family and friends what their next best seller was about. But after seeing too many blank faces staring back at them, and wasting too many words trying to make their story sound as amazing as it is in their head, they realize it’s better to be vague about the whole thing.

Writers panic every time their words are read. They hand those precious pages filled with their blood, sweat, and tears over to their beloved critique partner or agent or editor for the first time and they resort back to the cafeteria as a middle school kid. Will they like my words? Will they love my characters? Will they hate them? Will they think my writing sounds amateur? They think these things if they written three books or even if they’ve written thirty.

For a writer, writing partners are pure gold. A critique partner is like a best friend and workout partner and sister rolled into one. They understand your dreams, they understand your goals, and they know how hard you’ve worked through the years to make a sparkly story. They also give tough love when it’s needed. They are a writer’s cheerleader in the best sense of the word.

Writers wonder each day why their families expect dinner every single night. They feel bad when they order out. But they soon get over it because by not spending an hour cooking a meal that’s devoured in five minutes flat, they’ll have time to write 500 more words. And there won’t be any clean up.

With that said, writers love their crock pots. Or at least they want to. They want the ingredients they throw in there to magically turn into a gourmet feast. Because, ya know writers are good at dreaming.

Writers work at other jobs to pay the bills. Unless they are JK Rolling, independently wealthy, or have another source of income in their family, they find other ways to make money. They do freelance work, they work another job, or they sell their stuff on Craigslist. How’s that for reality?

Writers experience serious self doubt about their chosen profession. But they write anyway because they love to write. And they are gluttons for punishment. They spend too much time staring at a blank screen wondering if their idea is any good. But then another idea sparks and they splash it up on that blank page. Then the doubt is gone and replaced by a great sense of accomplishment.

Writers spend and awful lot of time by themselves. Most writers love this. It’s not a death sentence. It’s glorious time spent with their laptop, coffee, and the imaginary world they’ve created from nothing. It exhilarates them. It’s better than sunning themselves on a beach. Well, maybe not quite but you get the idea.

Writers write the stories that must be written. Writers constantly have stories that live in their heads, begging to be told. They write them in the car while waiting for their child to finish practice. They write late at night when the house is finally quiet. While other people are sleeping in or getting up at 5am to workout, writers are writing. Because that story swirling in their head insists on it.

Writers find inspiration in anything. Music. People. Places. Situations. Experiences. Pets. That’s why they do more than sit at their desk or in a coffee shop. They go outside. They run. They walk.They talk to people. They travel. And they love people watching. Oh, and people listening. But then they turn into hermits again. Because well, they’re writers.

Writers read their horoscope. They read tarot cards. They look for angel signs…or any signs that will tell them their manuscript is good enough and will become a real book someday.

Writers love Staples and Office Depot. They love pens. They love paper. They love notebooks and pencils. They love sticky notes, index cards, and pretty journals. They do.

Writers love to talk to other writers about their stories. And they especially love meeting their writing friends for coffee. No one knows the challenges and successes a writer feels, like another writer.

Writers love belonging to this secret club of writing people. They know how hard it is to write a complete story from beginning to middle to end, full of amazing characters, world class goals, unthinkable obstacles, and emotion that runs off the charts. They know what it takes to write a stellar picture book, hysterically heartfelt middle grade story, or gut wrenching YA novel. They get it and they’ve done it, and that’s kind of exclusive.

Writers celebrate writing successes. Like when they finish their first draft, when they finish revising, when they get their first full manuscript request, when they sign with an agent, when they get a book deal. There’s often chocolate. Usually wine. Always hugs and screams and sharing on Twitter.

Writers are genuinely excited for other writers when they achieve success  too. And not only because they think if it can happen to another writer it can happen to them too. It’s because another baby story is about to be born at the hand of a fellow writer who has worked just as hard as they have, and maybe harder. They love seeing other people’s dreams come true.

A writer’s life is a great one, because writers get to write. They get to share their stories with other people. They get to be creative. But it takes a patient person to enjoy all that goes along with it, that’s for sure.

So writers keep writing. They keep creating. They keep the words coming. They keep buying pencils, and drinking coffee. They know one day there’ll be chocolate and lots of readers for their story. They know their book will save the day for a young boy or girl one day… and that’s why so many writers knowingly choose to live this crazy writing life.

For more posts on living life as a writer, click the links below:

4 Signs You May not Fit the Writer’s Stereotype

An Open Letter to my Future Reader

I Have an Agent Announcement

What Happens After you Sign with a Literary Agent

Things You Imagine While Out on Sub

I Have a Book Deal

Posted in Uncategorized

When It’s Time to Bench a Manuscript

Not too long ago, I met a few writer friends for coffee. A topic came up that many writers avoid. But we tackled it anyway.

When is it time to bench your manuscript? When do you know your manuscript will never be ready for the big game? When do you decide with finality that it will never garner the attention of agents or editors and needs to be taken off the playing field—demoted from a viable submittable story, to a story that should never see the light of day? To be blunt, how do you know when the hard copy needs to be locked away in a file cabinet (along with your other rookie manuscripts), and the electronic file needs to be moved to a folder named Training Manuscripts.

In listening to what my writer friends said, I considered my own experience.

I have one such middle grade manuscript that has been benched. Actually, it has been taken off my roster completely. I will never forget it (it was my original book baby after all!), but about a year after writing it, I realized I didn’t know the first thing about fiction writing. I had been doing a lot of research at that point and I soon realized just how much that manuscript was lacking. The problems were actually too many to list, but I’ll give you an idea… There was no voice. There were no stakes. There was no conflict. The writing mechanics were amateur at best. Shall I go on??

But was all that really enough to bench it forever? Not necessarily. I could have revised and worked on all of those problems. It’s not hard to add higher stakes and create conflict. I also could have rewritten it with all I had learned about writing mechanics, but I didn’t want to.

Why? Because at that point I didn’t love the characters enough to make it work. The world I had created was not all that exciting to me anymore and neither was the main plot. Besides, at that point I had a brand new story idea swirling in my head. So I decided to bundle up my first book baby and tuck her away in a comfy spot forever. I will forever love her though for what she gave me…the love of writing and desire to write stories for children. So instead of being a submittable story, one ready for the big game, I now see that manuscript as my developmental writing manuscript, the one I wrote well before I was ready to put a story out onto the playing field.

I have second manuscript that was temporarily benched several years ago as well. So why not just leave it there? Well, because this one was benched for a different reason. The plot had a hole—a big hole, and I just could not find a way to fix it. But I wasn’t ready to toss it off the team completely. I knew I needed a break from it and so I benched it temporarily. The decision to do so had more to do with the fact that once again, I had a new story swirling, one that I was way more excited to write. So I set it aside with the intention of returning to it someday and it’s been benched ever since.

It seems to me, the decision to bench a manuscript has more to do with needing to write the story that needs to be written. If you’re passionate about a story, even one that has problems, it most definitely can be saved from being benched. Plots can be tightened up, worlds can be clarified, characters can be fleshed out, stakes can be raised and conflicts can be resolved. Even voice can be practiced and revised for so that it’s present on every page of the manuscript.

So, what’s the big decision? If you’ve lost the love for that story, it’s time to bench it (maybe forever, maybe not) because if you aren’t excited to write it, your readers won’t be either.

But what happens when you do still feel passionate about your story? That’s when it’s time to take a good hard look at it. Critique partners can help. Is the plot really as strong as you think it is or that it can be? What about the story arc? Does your main character have a controlling belief, something that drives them through every decision they make? Have you added enough obstacles for them and an ending that gives them a satisfying new normal? There are numerous elements to look for in the revision process and when revised thoroughly and effectively, a story may never need to be benched.

The thing is, it’s so important to feel great passion for your story? It takes MANY read throughs to get your manuscript in top shape, ready to play in the big game. If you aren’t committed to it, the manuscript doesn’t have a fighting chance.

Sometimes, you just have to trust your instincts. If you’re honest with yourself, you probably know already whether or not your manuscript needs to be benched. And if it does, don’t feel guilty. It served its purpose and made you a better writer. Keep at it with the next one. That one might just win MVP.

It turns out, all of us pretty much agreed on when you just know. But we also agreed that nothing really is forever. Just like athletes, manuscripts can be taken off the bench. They can be put back into play again, if your passion for it returns or you figure out how to make it score- how to make it sparkle.

So that’s it for today, Guys. I hope your writing projects are taking shape this fall and that whatever it is you’re working on, you’re excited enough about it to make it amazing!

Have a great week!  I’ll catch up with you all again soon.

Jackie

Posted in Uncategorized

Things You Imagine while out on Sub

So you’ve written a book (hooray!) and even managed to sign with a literary agent (so cool!). You’ve read the revision notes and revised your manuscript to a shine…even made it sparkle. Then suddenly, one day, your fantabulous agent notifies you that the first batch of submissions have been sent out. Your book baby has been released into the world for editors to see—and read! (Gulp).

But what happens after that, when your book proposal and chapters are officially out on submission to publishing houses?

Well, after you begin the process of refreshing your email, google hangout, or any other form of agent communication forty five times per day, here are 8 things that you may imagine:

One: A message from your agent appears like magic saying that an editor from a well-known publishing house has requested to read your full manuscript.

Two: You imagine that another message appears from your agent saying that ALL the editors have requested to read your full manuscript.

Three: You imagine that all of these editors will make an offer to publish your book, and then your agent will hold an auction…and of course it will turn into a bidding war for your book!

Four: You imagine the advance the winning editor will offer as part of the deal that will surely be in the six figure range. At least.

Five: You imagine signing the contract for your first published book, with an amazing editor at the publishing house of your dreams.

Six: You imagine the announcement you’ll make, and the party you’ll have when your book deal is official.

Seven: You imagine the amazing book launch party you’ll have when the book eventually releases with your friends, family, and all the people you’ve ever met who are anxious to read the book you’ve talked about for years.

Eight: You imagine signing your name (on the inside of the gorgeous book cover) with a pretty pink or purple pen, for the boy or girl who clutches the book to their chest, anxious to go right home to read it!

Hmm. Sound familiar?

As writers, we live in a dream world much of the day. And that’s okay. Our dreams are what got us here in the first place, right? But if you’ve ever wondered what really happens after your book goes out on sub to publishing houses, keep reading. I’ll give you the straight scoop.

Being out on submission goes something like this:

You wait.

You read about an author getting a book deal and feel encouraged. If it happened to them it can happen to you.

You wait.

Your agent tells you that you got a full request and practically pass out. You tell your family and friends and imagine all of the above.

You read about another writer getting a book deal during the sleepy holiday season and think, “Oh, I guess some editors do work over the holidays. Maybe I’ll hear something from one of them soon.”

You wait.

You get a rejection from another editor on the list. You think, “Okay that’s fine. There are other editors who will be a good fit for my book.”

You wait.

You keep writing. What if an editor wants my second book? If they do, I better have it ready!

You wait.

You get another rejection and your agent reminds you that the perfect editor is out there somewhere. You smile because she’s always so positive and encouraging, and hope she’s right.

You hear of an another writer getting a book deal—a BIG six figure book deal!

You wonder what their book has that yours doesn’t—even though it’s in a different age category and genre. You’re happy for the author because they deserve this but secretly imagine the above scenario again.

You keep writing and telling yourself that waiting is a good sign. It means there’s still hope—one of the editors that has your manuscript will love it as much as you do.

You wait.

You reach out to other writing friends who are experiencing the same madness that you are and find comfort in their support. You secretly hope that all of you get a book deal at the same time because for real, how great would that be?

You wait some more and take on new projects. The realization hits you that you have zero control over this outcome and you may as well enjoy life while you wait.

You write and keep checking for updates, but not nearly as often as forty-five times per day. I mean, forty-five times a day is a lot. Twice a day- perfectly acceptable.

This process goes on and on. Waiting, writing, waiting, hoping, waiting…for how long I’m not sure. But what I am sure of is this…

Being out on submission (even with all the waiting) is the most exciting time ever.There’s nothing better than knowing that you (and your book) have been given this amazing opportunity to be considered. Yes, to be considered! There’s nothing better than knowing that Rebecca, my amazing agent, has my back, is here to support me in this process every step of the way, and is putting my manuscript out there—in all the right places. I feel so lucky—and so blessed.

Sure, I live in my imaginary world where all of the above happens, but I also live in a world where other writers like me live…the one where we long to see our books in the hands of readers somehow, some way. And even though we imagine the big stuff, we really imagine our books being published whatever way it’s meant to be.

So in the meantime, we wait and keep writing. That’s the real deal…and that’s not a bad deal at all, is it?

Have a great week, guys! I hope you have time to write and write well. I’m pulling for you to make this publishing thing happen too…the more the merrier!

Jackie ❤

Posted in Creativity, Publishing

4 Signs You May Not Fit the Writer Stereotype

We all have questions and doubts when it comes to our writing life. Am I a good enough writer? Is my story any good at all? How do I know if I’m cut out to be a writer anyway?  The list of doubts goes on.

We all have moments of reflection too… moments when we wonder if we should continue on our quest to become a published writer, ponder if we have what it takes to stay in it for the long hall. And in doing so, we think about the successful writers—authors like JK Rowling and Suzanne Collins who have become household names. But we may also think about our writing friends who’ve gotten published already, the ones who are not quite yet a household name but have made this writing thing a job. Some we may know personally, some we may know merely through Twitter or some other form of social media. The more we engage with these other writers, the ones who have made careers of putting pen to paper and spinning words into gold, we can’t help but hear or read about the ways they do things—the way they work, the way they write, the schedule they keep, etc.

And we are fascinated by it.

Mostly I think because we believe that any time we read something about a real writer, we’ll learn something, anything that will pull back the curtain on all that is the mystery of getting published. If we know their routines, we may be able to imitate them and perhaps that will lead to publication for us too.

But what happens when we learn something about a published writer and realize (without a doubt) that what they do is something we may never do. Not because it’s wrong, but because it’s just not us?

In thinking about this topic for quite sometime now, I’ve come to realize that writers, like those in any other profession, have a certain stereotypical look or some stereotypical behaviors. The problem for me is this.

I don’t fit the writer stereotype.

Like, at all.

First, I don’t wear pajamas (or even sweatpants) all day when I write. My hair is not thrown up in a messy bun. And I don’t wear glasses. I don’t skip showering before writing either. Like ever.

In fact, every day of my life (without fail) I get up and shower before I do anything else. Then I get dressed, put on my contacts, do my hair, and do my make up before I start writing, even if I have no plans to leave the house or see another human being all day. Call me crazy, and maybe it’s because of my background in teaching and in sales, but I feel more productive and ready to take on the world when I look the part.

Second, I don’t drink endless cups of coffee while I write. I drink a cup of tea most every morning and a chai latte in the afternoon. But I do that whether I’m writing or not. Sometimes I’ll sit down with one or the other (or even with a cup of highly sugared iced coffee) as a coincidence, but I don’t drink it for hours to make the time spent with my manuscript more productive.

Third, I’m not a book worm. I don’t love reading above all else. I didn’t grow up with my nose buried in a book. I almost feel ashamed for admitting this. Sure, I like reading. I love reading books in the age group that I write in, I like reading YA books when I find a fabulous one. I like reading motivational books and an occasional grown up book too. But I don’t think about books all day long. (Except the one I’m writing). I enjoy reading and it is part of my daily routine, but it’s not the first thing I would do on a day off. Books are important to me, but being creative is even more important. I’d rather spend an entire day daydreaming about my next project or invention. I think that’s one of the reason’s why I write. Ideas are constantly spinning in my mind (to a point of frustration) and I will never act on most of them. But my characters can! I may not invent the next big thing, but the next big thing may just pop up in one of my books!

Fourth, I’m not an introvert. Well not all the time. I definitely like my alone time. That’s when I’m at my most creative.  And I don’t really love hanging out with giant groups of people. But once I’ve had enough alone time, I do love being with people and interacting with them.  In fact, I’ll probably talk your ear off if we ever meet in person! A night out with friends (old or new) or a lunch date with my college roommate or a dinner with my husband or whole extended family is definitely my thing. Many writers I know would prefer to exist in their own world and don’t love interacting much with people. They let their words do the talking, and that’s okay too.

It used to scare me quite honestly. I used to panic thinking, well obviously I will never become real writer because I hate hanging out all day in my pajamas. But then I snapped out of my making excuses trance and realized it doesn’t matter at all.

Stereotypes in most case are ridiculous anyway, right? So if you’re doubting your abilities to do this writing thing just because you haven’t read all the classic literature ever published, if you only read the Cliff Notes to the Scarlett Letter in high school and really didn’t love Jane Eyre (I know, I’m sorry!!) just don’t. Don’t doubt yourself at all. Writers come in all shapes and sizes—coffee drinker or not. How else would we get all these amazing stories? If we were all the same, our stories would all be the same and how awful would that be? No thanks!

I’ll take my tea with extra sweet cream. I’ll dress up when I write if for only my own benefit. I’ll go running instead of reading if the sun is shining. I’ll spend time I should be writing thinking up inventions that make no sense. I may even re-read Jane Eyre one day to see what all the fuss is about. Because that’s me. But rest assured, on the nights I stay up late to add a new invention to my latest middle grade scene, I may even throw my hair up in a messy bun. Hey, at ten o’clock at night even the most neurotic girl needs to change into comfy clothes and get down to business! How else will those words get spun into gold?

What about you? Do you fit into the writer stereotypes? Do you think they exist at all? Maybe they only exist in my mind. Stranger things have happened there, ya know? What do you think? Throw me a comment. You know how much I love notes!

Have a great week, Guys! Now go get dressed…and brush your hair or something. Maybe you’ll be more productive. 🙂

Jackie

Posted in Literary Agents, Publishing, Uncategorized

The Literary Agent Puzzle

Hey Guys,

How are you all? I hope if you were one of the many people hit with major snow this week, you’re now beginning to dig yourself out. Me? I’m so very happy to say that my little corner of Upstate, NY was not hit. Like at all. It’s so weird, because we always get hit. But I won’t complain. I’m definitely happy to share the white fluffy stuff for a change!

So my post today may seem a bit out of order. Many of you may have read my post a few weeks ago What Happens After you Sign with a Literary Agent. Well, early this week I had a conversation with a client that prompted me to write this post today. It probably would have been helpful to read sooner, but ideas for posts come when they come. 🙂

Earlier this week, I was speaking with one of my business clients, whom I’ll call Mr. X. After we finished touching base on the status of the project, he asked me, “How do you know if a literary agent is good?”

Before I talk about how I answered, I’ll give you a little background…Mr. X is aware that I recently signed with a literary agent. We’ve often spoke of how difficult it is to get a book published traditionally. In fact, during his career, he has had several business type books self published, and the book I’m ghostwriting for him will also be sold directly on amazon once I’m finished. So upon hearing his question, I figured he was just asking to make conversation.

I came to find out however, that he has also hired a ghostwriter to write a memoir for one of his close friends, and this book, (he feels) may be able to get traditionally published. So he asked me how to find a good literary agent—and if I knew any good ones who represented adult memoirs.

Wow. That’s such a loaded question…and it brought me back several years—seven to be exact.

When I first started writing and thinking about getting my manuscript published, I asked myself the same question. Although I had been writing for a little while, I had no idea what was involved in seeing my manuscript in print. So I set out to learn everything I could about making it happen.

And it wasn’t easy.

In fact, it took me FOREVER to figure it out. Many days I felt like the publishing business was a big puzzle—with hundreds of pieces, not all of which were even in the puzzle box.  I had to search high and low to find them, and then once I did I had to figure out where they fit into the big puzzle picture.

childrens_puzzle_pieces_scattered.png

I read as many books as I could on the business of publishing. I searched the internet for articles on getting a book published. I read author websites, looking for any piece of helpful information. I read writing blogs—endlessly and religiously. I was kind of obsessive about it actually, almost like a sponge soaking up anything I could.

This became my life.

When I wasn’t writing or reading (or doing the mom/ wife thing) I was trying to make sense of the whole publishing thing. And what I learned early on was that if I was going to have any chance of being traditionally published, I needed to get myself a literary agent.  (Easier said than done!) But once my attention was turned to literary agents, I had to learn WHICH literary agents to target.

So over the next few years, I followed and read all I could about any agent who represented middle grade fiction. Then as I became ready to query them, I put together a list. And because the years flew by and I eventually queried three different manuscripts, some literary agents on my list came and went. Others became ultra successful and were becoming more selective. Not that they weren’t looking for the best books early on in their careers, but as the years went on, they only had room on their lists to sign one or two new clients each year. New agents came on the scene and I had to learn all I could about them as well.

So the thing is, it became a never ending search for agents that would be a good fit for my manuscript. It wasn’t something I could find after one day of browsing the internet. And that’s exactly what I told Mr. X. If he wanted to find an agent that might be interested in his memoir, he would need to do some research. A lot of research.

And that’s what I would tell any knew writer looking to get traditionally published. Information on literary agents is out there, but just like writing the manuscript itself, no one can do the work for you. You have to do it yourself.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t ask for help. In fact, if Mr. X had been trying to find an agent to represent a children’s book I would have had more information to share. But in the world of memoirs, I am as clueless as any new writer!

But for the rest of you who are on Twitter and writing sites, gathering all the information you can on agents that rep your age group and genre, you’re doing the right thing. I wish I had a magic wand that I could wave…matching you up with your perfect agent or at least help you find those missing puzzle pieces—but I can’t. It’s all up to you. But, if you keep at it long enough, have a polished manuscript, and are willing to learn, you won’t need anyone’s magic wand.

You will be enough.

Good luck my friends, I hope you find a good bunch of agents for your query list. One of them may just be a key piece to your puzzle…and the one person who can best champion your work!

Ta ta for now… I hope we’ll chat soon!

Jackie