Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year, Same Situation

Happy New Year. Here's the news since last I posted; the good, the bad and worse than the bad, the no news at all.

I MUST BE OFF! is a photo-literary travel blog by expat writer Christopher Allen. He has selected this very blog Fiction Doldrums to feature in an ongoing series of blogs that use humor for broader  commentary. It is a blog carnival site, meaning it selects, rates, categorizes and comments on blogs. The new edition goes live next on Jan 15th. It's nice to get a little chuck on the shoulder and Chris was cool to interact with, digitally at least.


Other art and writing related developments: 

I was unexpectedly contacted by literary agent with a generous suggestion to submit my manuscript to her agency. Which was a nice development, but absolutely no guarantee that it will move forward. 

An Artist book pow wow, intended to be a discussion about some upcoming opportunities, turned into a  pitch session that ended with a concrete publishing and distribution opportunity, accompanied by an impending deadline. The book will be a year in the making. The first meeting at which we start mapping out details in a few days.

Got the nod from Columbia College's DEMO magazine for future freelance assignments. It has high production values and is distributed fairly widely. Whenever it arrives in my mailbox, I appreciate the design and particularly the photo reproductions. 

Also, an editor I know asked if I'd commit to freelance editing for his publication. He asked my rate, I told him, he accepted. Done deal. 

A story of three rejections:

Over the past few weeks I received as many rejections. One rejection was pro forma, just your average rejection letter. 

The second rejection was disappointing because the agent had requested additional pages twice and I'd allowed myself to hold out hope for good news in this particular case. 

I also was asked to submit my entire manuscript to an agent at a very prestigious agency. After looking through my records, turns out the request had come from an agent who had already read the first chapter. That seemed positive. I sent pages Away. Many days later I received a very warm, friendly and truly encouraging rejection letter. The first 'graph was so kind I thought it was an acceptance letter. It read, 

"The idea of this story is timely and interesting. Everyone can relate to the failing economy, and everyone knows somebody who is taking it harder, like Flip. It really reads like the mindset of someone struggling with depression, but the humor makes it entertaining. I particularly like the characterization of Lynn and her struggle with herself, and her relationship with Flip. The descriptions of Flip feeling uncomfortable in his own skin and clothing were fantastic as well." 

However, the next 'graph included a gentle rejection along with assertion that another agent will certainly pick the project up. 

In Conclusion:
Finding an agent reminds me of speed dating. I'm ready for the right right relationship. I present myself to eligible person after eligible person. All of them are looking for a connection (to my material) too. With some, things simply don't click. In others, I spark an interest and a flirtation is initiated, but only until the bell rings and the players switch chairs. But, there is always the chance, the next one to sit across from my work will fall in love with it. So weird.

I feel fortunate to struggle, doing things I like and care about. Writing is important to me and participating is a gift. The constant scramble is tiring. The inconsistency is periodically miserable. But I like to write. The novel, Good For Nothing, is an effort I'm proud of. I've had about 20 rejections,  4 submissions I have yet to hear from, and 6 submissions have shown interest in one way or another and are still in play. I'm excited by the possibility of seeing my novel in print. But, more importantly to me is the idea of finding a broader readership and working with good people in the publishing industry. 


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