sarashina: (Oz - OH HAPPY DAY :D)
So while I spend my lazy Sunday watching TV and waiting for beta comments on my edited MS, I wanted to share some essential links for any of you looking to go on the agent hunt in the future. Some of these links heavily skew towards YA information, but they're extremely useful anyway:

Generally Useful Sites:
Agent Query - Search for agents by genre.
Absolute Write Bewares, Background Checks and Recommendations - Whatever agency you're looking at, it has a thread here.
Query Tracker - Looking into agent response times and submission guidelines, and make a spreadsheet of your own submissions.
Preditors and Editors - A listing of agents and agencies that keeps track of spam artists.
Literary Rambles - This blog has "Agent Spotlights" on several different kidlit-representing agents. It's awesome because they include as much info as possible, including specific likes and dislikes.
Publishers Marketplace - One stop shopping for all industry information. Sign up for the Publishers Lunch newsletter!

Agent Blogs:
Kristin Nelson's Blog - Extremely informative and helpful. The best part of this blog is that she posts and analyzes her clients' original queries.
Nathan Brandsford's Blog - Though he's no longer an agent, he still has great publishing industry info.
Mary Kole's Blog - Great information on the slush pile, the manuscript review process, and lots of beginners' writing mistakes.
Janet Reid's Blog - Hilarious and informative all at once.
Miss Snark - The blog may be defunct now, but the archives are well worth a read.
The Rejectionist - A (now former) agent's assistant ruminates on books, writing, reading, etc. Totally hilarious.

Query Help:
Query Shark - Janet Reid critiques queries! And she doesn't hesitate to point out when something works for her, either.
Writing A Killer Query - Elana Johnson's workshop is one of the best and most thorough. She breaks query down into five separate parts and walks you through all of them.
Query Letter Hell - If you are very brave and really need help cracking that query, this is the equivalent of query letter boot camp. You need an account at Absolute Write to access this forum.

Some Top Agents/Agencies Who Represent YA:
Writers House
Andrea Brown Lit
Curtis Brown Lit
Fine Print Lit
Dystel and Goderich
Nelson Agency
Maass Agency
Harvey Klinger Agency
And that's just a few to get you started.

I hope this is a good start! ♥
sarashina: (Raven and Oz)
So I am sitting around watching the Oscar pre-show after a fairly low-key weekend. I mainly took time off from writing (though I still wrote a couple scenes) because for the latest time in this story, I think, I'm at a pretty natural stopping place. Or, rather, once I finish this chapter I probably won't really stop until I reach the end, so this is my only chance!

Holy crap, you guys, I can't believe that I'm going to be querying a novel again by late May/early June. I go back and forth on how confident I am every day. Sometimes it's like "I really hope I make it happen this time!" and other times it's like "YEAH, GO AHEAD AND TRY, YOU'LL BE AN INSPIRATION TO HACKS EVERYWHERE." It's more often the former than the latter, at least. Either way, I'm really excited to get started on the editing. I've got a lot of tweaking to do!

Speaking of publishing, I've been devouring books left and right lately! I've been bringing in books to work for when I can grab a quiet moment - I think I'll bring Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet tomorrow so I can finally finish it. I think I'm going to start bookblogging on my tumblr so I can have a record of all my reading in 2011. I still have plenty to get through on my bookshelf, so I can use those to somehow distract myself from all the awesome sequels I'm waiting on later this year. And aren't we getting a new DWJ book at some point? UGH. ALL THESE GREAT UNPUBLISHED BOOKS NEED TO COME TO MEEEE.

Also, randomly, all this Red Carpet footage makes me want to go shopping. Judging by the state of my closet, that is the worst idea ever. Maybe I'll see if anything ready for Salvation Army first.

Yosh, I will now turn my full attention to the broadcast. Got any Oscar predictions, guys?
sarashina: (Default)
Because no one ever got anything by being half-assed.

Working the 9-5(:30) life, I have a lot of time sitting at my desk or riding back and forth on the bus to think about where I want to go from here. I really like my job, and I'm starting to settle into life here, but I understand, a lot better now than I did a year ago, what keeps me going.

So for the record:

I'm going to be a published author. And I think having failed once makes that more possible than it was before. It would have been amazing to get lucky on the first try, but I have something of an advantage, because unlike last time, I know exactly what I'm doing now. I understand the odds. I know how to implement edits and when to add my own, when to obsess and when to let everything simmer. Sending e-mails to agents gave me heart palpitations when I started, but I sent over fifty, and somehow my head didn't explode from all the bad news - and for my trouble, I found people that I dream about working with every day.

And, most importantly, from talking to so many different people who want the same thing I do, I found out that something I used to tell myself when I was feeling insecure is actually true. There are a lot of people who are better than me, and quite a few who love it as much as I do - but I've yet to meet anyone who loves it more.

So mark it on your calendars, ladies! I'm going to make this happen.

All right, time for bed. But tomorrow? I'm going to get back to work. ♥

ashfjs

Jun. 10th, 2010 02:19 pm
sarashina: (Default)
I am so very all over the place lately. The thing about worrying too much about getting everything done is that I often get less done than I would have otherwise!

I took a few steps towards being more efficient: I rearranged my bathroom sink and threw out old makeup and such to make room for the new, nice stuff. I also sent out a new round of queries for the first time in forever, because 1) the three agents who requested pages haven't gotten back to me yet, and 2) I got a rejection on a query+sample pages the other day that told me the book would be a "hard sell" and it depressed me a little, and 3) being proactive is better than going insane.

But for my own reference, here are the things that need to get done:

- Finish graduation thank you notes.
- Finish up cover letter and apply to embassy job.
- Work on Hungry Ground! At least 500-1000 words a day, preferably more.
- Start [livejournal.com profile] imaginarybeasts story.
- Set up cowriting posts.
- Catch up on reading and linkage for the Drabble-thon.
- Create Justified pimp post in honor of the fabuloustastic finale.
- Rearrange bookshelf to fit new books.
- PROFIT, etc

But first! Lunch! ♥

Whaaaat

Mar. 21st, 2010 02:02 am
sarashina: (Default)
It's my birthday tomorrow! How did that happen. I sort of missed it. Anyway, I'll be 22 on March 22nd at exactly 3:22pm. Pretty insane!

My celebration with my roommates was today because everyone's always so busy on weekdays. It involved Miranda casually suggesting we go out for a walk, getting back only to be lunged upon and thrown into the bathroom by Sarah in order to blow out candles (it's illegal to light candles in the dorm, and the bathroom is the only room without a window), and then going to Porter Square for delicious udon and croquettes and plum sake. And I flirted with the bakery guy again. Eventually I will just ask for his number.

All in all a lovely day.

No word from the literary agent yet, but I did come up with a list of things not to say to him if he calls me, ranging from "slightly damaging" to "never-work-in-this-town-again."

1. (When he tells me who he is) "Oh fuck."
2. (If he offers representation) "Oh, wow, this is amazing. It's even better than how my phone psychic said it would be."
3. "So what are you wearing?"
4. "I was a Velociraptor in a past life."

Actually, what with how many crazy people e-mail literary agents every day, I could make sanity my platform. I don't claim to channel ancient Native American spirits to write my books for me, Mr. Malk. Please love me.

I'm just hoping for some good feedback either way, since he's the first agent to take a look at the book. Anything else is extra. Well, the exclusive ends on Thursday, so we'll know soon enough! Eep.
sarashina: (Default)
So if I ever snap one day and decide I want to ruin my future in publishing forever, I know just the query letter to send to one of my rejectors:

Dear [Agent],

You may remember me from my query letter regarding my 75,000-word YA urban fantasy novel Grandmaster Draw, to which you replied with a form rejection. Let it be known that I bear you no ill will for that. Actually, I'm grateful. Had you not shown me that pursuing the life of a YA fantasy writer was foolish, I might have never realized my true calling.

So let me ask you this, [Agent]. Have you ever fallen in love with your worst enemy?

Joanie Sunflower is a small town girl with big dreams. Ever since she was a young lass, she longed to run her fingers across the raised letters of her name on a hardcover book. She toiled on her debut manuscript for many years, and what's more, she even found the perfect literary agent to represent her! Could life have been more perfect?

When suddenly! The agent she so carefully selected sent her a form rejection. OMG. Joanie was a mild-mannered girl, but an unstoppable rage rose up within her. How dare he! He clearly didn't understand genius when he saw it! Joanie resolved to hate the agent forever and ever and ever.

Little did Joanie know that she would run into that same agent later that night at the grocery store! They lived in the same town and she didn't even know it! Joanie was furious at her bad luck, but at the same time, intrigued. She didn't know that her would-be agent was quite so... alluring.

Joanie finds herself caught between her resolve and her feelings. How can the agent who crushed her dreams be so kind, so gentle? How can she find the courage to tell him who she really is? COULD THIS BE RABU-RABU?!?!

He's Just Not That Into Your Query is a 250,000-word romance manuscript in the rich tradition of Danielle Steel, Stephenie Meyer, and random shoujo mangaka. Incidentally, my cell number is 904-534-4171 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              904-534-4171      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Call me, lover.

Kisses,
Becky


... that was basically a bingo card of everything you shouldn't put in a query ever. (Though after revising my own query 10,000 times, it was sort of awesomely fun.)

Yoshhh. I'mma do some prompt-writing tonight.
sarashina: (Default)
Ouch! My first two rejections came in within five minutes of each other. Bam bam, just like that. One was from my first choice, and one was from someone I queried yesterday (who wasn't actually supposed to send rejections, but e-mailed me just to say that it wasn't a good fit. Double ouch.)

I am pleased to report that there were no tears involved. There's no crying in publishing.

As per Spring of Rejection and Heartbreak rules and regulations, I took two shots of vodka, one for each rejection. That sort of burns, by the way.

Oh well! Time to go back for more, for I am a masochist.

Idling

Feb. 20th, 2010 08:37 pm
sarashina: (Default)
I haven't heard anything from the agent I queried yet, which is probably a good sign, actually. From what I've read on her blog, her assistant does an elimination round of sorts before passing the queries on. She posted some statistics to give poor saps like me an idea: three weeks' worth of queries was a little more than 2,600 e-mails. Of those, the assistant sent on 56, and the agent chose 15 of those to request sample pages from. And that's only sample pages, so she'll choose very few of those to request full manuscripts from, and may not even offer to represent any at all.

Gulp. So yeah, hopefully the fact that I haven't heard anything is because I've survived the whittling down thus far.

After a week of feeling like I might explode if I saw "No new messages" (or worse yet, got an e-mail that wasn't it) one more time, I finally wasn't glued to the Send/Receive button all day. It helped that it's the weekend, but still. In general it just turned out to be the worst time ever to send off the query, since I had a week off and completed the work I had to do pretty early into it. There was a lot of time in the apartment alone that I devoted to driving myself insane!

I imagine it'll be better once I get that response. It's just because it's the first time that it's so nervewracking. It'll still be nervewracking later on, but at least I'll get used to it!

I'm so unfocused lately, though. Blahhhh. I need to start writing something else - maybe I can still sneak in a short piece for [livejournal.com profile] imaginarybeasts!

By the way, I'll be taking Grandmaster Draw offline on March 1st, so if you still want to read the rough draft, you have a little time. ♥
sarashina: (Default)
I finished one round of editing on Grandmaster Draw, and I currently have two rounds of editing going on simultaneously. The second is based on my mom's edits, and is almost finished except for the epilogue. I started the third back at the beginning to keep myself occupied in-between. Those edits cover chapters 1-13 so far.

It's kind of amusing, because the first one was mostly to add things that weren't clear before and clarify plot points and such... and the second and third have mostly been devoted to taking lots and lots of words out. Sometimes changing phrases to clarify them/make them less awkward, but mostly just slashing down adverbs without prejudice. The blood of many an adverb stains my keyboard. ;;

As it stands, I'll be getting the last batch of edits from Mom tomorrow, and I'll finish up my own reread not long after. I'll be at my friend Miranda's house for the weekend, which will help me take a bit of a break, and next week I'll do one more reread... and then probably start the querying process on Tuesday or Wednesday.

G-Gulp.

I'm not in a huge hurry to take everything down just yet because it's under lock and filter here, but I don't want to keep it up too long after I start querying, either. So as it is now, I'll probably take down all but the first few chapters in two weeks or so.

A-And then perhaps I can relax and do fun things, like write that Imperial Guard chapter and finish up the first book! And I want to think about my next YA project, too. It's definitely going to be horror in some regard, but I'm torn. I could either go the horror-comedy route start on the Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Law short story collection, or I could think more seriously about this horror/fairy tale/urban fantasy story that has been kicking around. I KNOW NOT. I need brain cells that are not tied up in Grandmaster Draw to think about that sort of thing.

Aaaanyway! Off to a JSA meeting, and then I must do some actual schoolwork...
sarashina: (Default)
The editing plows onward, and today I'm revisiting Jack's tumultuous relationship with pronouns. Why did I make Jack a shape-shifter with an unknown gender again? Oh, right. Because I love shooting myself in the foot. Other than that, I incorporated a lot of my mom's nitpicks through chapter eight, and hopefully the story reads better for them.

Aaaaanyway. Reviews/recs!

Two books and a manga: The Night Tourist, The Devil's Whisper, and Otoyomegatari )

And lastly, more fashion pictures! Since I didn't wear anything particularly special today, I will show off some winter gear instead.

Coats, hats, and scarves! )

Dinner, and then more editing!
sarashina: (Default)
My mom is a technical writer and editor at a small company, and therefore spends five days a week reading other people's lazy writing. Which means she is not about to put up with mine.

I sent her the current draft of Grandmaster Draw, because she's the best editor I know. She hasn't sent me her notes yet, but we talked on the phone, and in our brief writing-related discussion, she pointed out that according to my first draft, the following are now true:

- A deadbolt actually = one of those slide-y chain lock things. I did not actually know that they were something different. Now I need to find out what the chains are called. Maybe just "chains."

- Steel = aluminum. YES BECKY, BASEBALL BATS ARE TTLY MADE OF STEEL. And Thom has super-strength. Where was my brain that day, I wonder.

- 14 - 6 = 6. Or Liam is secretly 12. ONE OF THE TWO.

All goes to show that no matter how much editing you do, you can still miss the most ridiculous mistakes.

Mom also suggested that I change my first line a bit, and told me that tomorrow she'd send the first of many e-mails full of notes about sentences where I decided that verbs/articles were apparently optional, and places where I "connected too many dots."

This just in: my mother is amazing and I am way spoiled.

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