Monday, October 15, 2007

Sleepy Mon

Currently reading: The Bretheren, by Bob Woodward. It's about the Supreme Court from 1969-1974. Tried to read The Final Days, but as I'd earlier read about four other books dealing with Watergate, I decided I really didn't need to know Bob's view!

How do you know if you've been blogging too much? When you wake up and realize you've been dreaming about a fellow author's blog entry...

When you keep hitting the 'snooze' button, because you're caught up in the fascinating dream about the above blog...

Or, when you spend your day 'practicing' your monologue for the next day's entry, to see if it will sound as fascinating flowing from your fingertips as it does in your head?

This is no joke. Anny Cook wrote about the importance of research while writing in her entry yesterday (http://www.annycook.blogspot.com/ ) and for whatever reason, I dreamed she and I had embarked on the Great Acorn Hunt. We found them all over the city (yeah, stupid, but hey, it was a dream!); we made the most delicious foods from the flour; used acorns as one would regular nuts; had our own infomercials, and opened up a restaurant. If the damn alarm hadn't kept going off, and hubby asking why I hadn't woken him up when it went off, I bet Anny and I would have been featured on the Food Network channel, or even Iron Chef. (I had a dream where Bobby Flay about had a heart attack when I told him how I make BBQ ribs...Sat's dream...don't ask!)

And since AJ had sent me a very constructive email concerning my latest book, I pondered that when hubby left and I couldn't return to the dream. (Sorry, Anny...have no idea how Acorn Heaven turned out!)

And then logged on this am and found Marianne Stephens' wonderful quote..."Don't change your voice to suit anyone". Music to my eyes this morning! Why? I'll tell you!

Ten years ago, I decided to seriously pursue getting published. I had three books written, a fourth nearly done, and ideas for four or five more. I bought the Writer's Guide to Publishing (don't know if that was the title or not!) and started eagerly going through it, making notes of who to send my query to and the submission guidelines.

Ten or so rejections later, I was getting discouraged.

Did I have something people would want to read? Was there something wrong with my writing style? Was my language too in-your-face? Were my sex scenes too descriptive?

My best friends loved what I had written, but they were biased. I needed an unbiased opinion, and it came in the form a group of mothers I met when my kids started playing baseball.

I had taken my notebook to the practices and was working on my current brainstorm. My character happened to be divorced, and since I needed insight, I asked one of the divorced moms the reason behind her divorce. When she discovered I was working on cleaning up #3, and the premise of the first 2, she wanted to read them. I said okay, and gladly handed her about 100 sheets of typewritten pages.

A week later, she had finished and wanted the next one. Again, I handed her a folder with another 100 pages. And then she told me she'd told another friend about it, and she wanted to read it!

After getting glowing reviews from four people I only knew slightly, I began to have more confidence in myself, and kept going. Another friend saw an ad in the paper for a literary agency specializing in getting unknown authors published; I contacted them, sent copies of my manuscripts, and got a very enthusiastic reply. Sent my contract to a lawyer friend for his advice; it was favorable. Little did I know I was about to be scammed.

My fraudulent 'agent' claimed to love my work, and had me send out about 25 queries. Over a six month period, nothing. He claimed he'd had people like it, but the fact it was in 1st person was a turn-off, and could I switch it to 3rd person? I didn't want to, but I figured he was the expert, so I spent a solid week changing all the 'I's to 'she's and her name. And then came word my contract was up. So I sent him more money and we started sending out another manuscript. Only sent out 3 queries, and then learned about the POD companies. Contacted him, and he told me about the publisher I used for my 1st book.

Thrilled with the fact I finally had a book in print, I contacted him and badgered him about the contract for book #2. Suddenly, my contracts were being lost in the mail; for 3 weeks, I haunted the post office; called him once a week, and was assured it was 'in the mail'. Finally, I was getting discouraged and told my husband I was feeling lied to. I pulled out the publishing guide, and since we now had internet access, I went to the website. One website link led to another, and I found myself on Preditors and Editors....and there was a warning....my 'agent' was being investigated for fraud.

I called my 'agent'...and did not hear a word back. He didn't return my calls; all I got was his answering machine. Finally, I gave up and contacted the investigator, adding my name to the list of victims. Now, I receive a monthly check of $10...wow! I only cited $360...and had hoped it would be a lump sum. Nope, they have 10 years to nickle and dime me to death.

As previously mentioned, I came across the Ellora's Cave and Cerridwen Press info, and decided to see if my work met their guidelines. While I don't write explicit sex scenes, I have noticed I'm using words I'm not usually comfortable using, and acrobatics not usually described. I've been corresponding with several authors who write erotic romance, and since my 'agent' had told me my work qualified as erotic fiction, I've eagerly read several EC authors' work.

I sent AJ a couple of chapters, and she very nicely told me which publisher my writing fit the criteria for. And said something I've been waiting and hoping...she said I had talent. This means a great deal, as those who have previously told me were friends and people who had bought my first book.

But here's the thing: My series, which deals with college-age kids, does not fit the criteria for either EC or CP. They are too young; they aren't explicit...I've even got one book with no sexual activity (I decided a person suffering from anorexia really wouldn't let her boyfriend undress her...correct me if I'm wrong here! I got yelled at by a friend when I told her I'd removed the sex scenes!) and another dealing with a subject I thought I was open-minded about, but could not bring myself to describe the sexual act...it's all 'behind closed doors'.

So where will my series find a home? Do I change the way I've written them, in order to find a publisher willing to publish them? Do I stay true to the way I've written them and continue to piss off the hubby by spending money on POD? Will I ever find a home for my books? And will my current writings ever be 'spicy' enough for EC or CP?

My second book is only weeks away from being released. I have teenagers, people in their 20's, people my own age, and elderly ladies eagerly waiting for the next installment of Amy, Gretchen, Keri, Stephanie, and Caitlyn. I used to be furious at Aaron Spelling...he took my idea and set in Beverly Hills, only with high school students. And when I started shopping for publishers, Felicity hit the airwaves. So maybe I'm simply a victim of bad timing? One of these days, my books will hit readers with a vengeance, and people will say, "Where the hell was she when I was a senior in college?"

Simple. Trying to attract your attention and getting pushed out because I wasn't marketable yet.

4 comments:

Kelly Kirch said...

Add another piece of advice? Don't write for a particular house. Write what's in your heart. Houses change their criteria and you can get lost in the suffle. Write your book, then sell it.

Amarinda Jones said...

Yep - what Kelly said. I also believe that one day if you want to you will write for EC.

Molly Daniels said...

You should read the one I'm working on at the moment! I took your advice...sex on page 2!

anny cook said...

I was twenty five years ahead of my time. Where was EC then? But now I'm a little older and hopefully a little wiser. Write what's in your heart. The publishers will catch up with you.