Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Networking and Querying

Today we received our first query rejection. Which is a little disappointing because he reps one of the well known authors that we read. Dangit. Oh well.

I’ve been fighting with my muse lately. Of course I got hurt at work so I have been distracted with doctors appointments and prescription medications. But luckily Jennifer has pushed me and motivated me. And I think I finally know what I need to do in my Reapers book: The first 22.

We have queried a total of 14 of the top agents on our list. Hopefully we won’t have to wait long for one to grasp us up. But if all fails, we have hundreds of other agents who can publish us…but I don’t think that Jennifer or I would feel comfortable with settling on a mediocre Agent. We want the top notch agent with access to the top notch publishing houses. We want six figure book contracts and a large advance would be nice as well.

In my dreams, right? I hope not.

And one more thing, I would like to add my own little batch to Jennifer’s most recent blog about blog sites. NETWORKING is the key to success. You have to sale yourself and put yourself out there for everyone to see. Twitters, Facebook, Live Journal…all of these are fantastic, legit things that you need to have in order to be successful in the literary world. And now that I think of it, having your own webpage isn’t such a bad idea either.

Next week I am going on vacation to Michigan to see my best friend Rebecca. Until then, I will try to keep you guys updated on our Manuscript requests and rejections. Have a happy independence day!

The Magical World of Blogging

For the past few months, I’ve been obsessed with reading other author’s and agent’s blogs and I’ve discovered something I’m sure previous aspiring authors have discovered before me. There is an absolute treasure trove of instructive and wisdom filled blog posts concerning the writing world just waiting to be devoured by anyone willing to seek them out. If there is a particular issue that a writer wants to know about all they have to do is search for it and it’s pretty much waiting to be found.

Most recently, I’ve been scouring over the blog Literary Rambles, which is Casey McCormick’s brilliant blog that talks about anything and everything about writing and finding an agent. A lot of the agents that Stacey and I have been querying are thanks to that blog. Ms. McCormick does a particularly helpful blog every Thursday called Agent Spotlight, where some of the literary world’s most respected agent’s introductions, interviews, query requirements, and interests, are laid out for authors like us to get to read through and decide for ourselves which agents suit our books or our career goals the best. That’s not to say that separate research doesn’t need to be done for each agent, but the Literary Rambles blog gives writers a serious head start.

Another blog that I’ve found to be helpful is Janet Reid’s Query Shark blog. With this blog, Ms. Reid takes query letters that have been specifically submitted to the blog to be, well pretty much torn apart and analyzed, and she offers suggestions to help query writers write the best query they can. While, Ms. Reid is blunt and honest as heck, she is also brilliant at what she does. She breaks down the query writing process and gives writers an idea of what agents want in a query letter, when to stick to the rules of query writing, and when to break them. This is a definite help, especially as writers, like Stacey and I, get to the point where we’re ready to step out into the more professional waters of the literary world.

Of course Casey McCormick and Janet Reid are only two of the bloggers that I follow and let me tell you, they’re also only a couple of drops (significant drops, but drops none the less) in a massive pond of information just waiting to be discovered. I’m still finding new and helpful blogs everyday with some of the most informative posts I’ve ever read. It just reminds me that learning never stops. It doesn’t matter how successful you become as a writer, learning will never stop until you have no more life left to learn with.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Young Adult Fiction - To Ban or Not To Ban

I know I’m a bit late with this, but I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal about the affect Young Adult fiction has on today's youth. In the article, a writer named Meghan Cox Gurdon states that Young Adult fiction has changed from the happy-go-lucky Judy Bloom series to the doom and gloom of hauntingly dark book covers and even darker subject matter. While, she's not wrong in this, she goes on to say that, in a manner of speaking, the youth in today's society have no need to be reading fiction that deals with serious subjects like suicide, self mutilation, or the more violent aspects of bullying, just to name a few topics.

Now, this idea can be looked at in two ways. While, yes, the subject matter is difficult to read for even the most emotionally stable adult, in a world where suicide, cutting, and bullying are a reality for countless teenagers, these books are shining a light on dark subjects and are giving our youth important information that can either help them fight their own personal battles with the subjects or enlighten them as to the reality of some real life situations that they might or might not encounter at some point in their lives. On the other side of the argument, however, it could be said that our youth need to be sheltered and shielded by the horrors of reality and have no need to read such topics. Granted, I can definitely see how this could be ideal for parents, but it’s not necessarily the most realistic mindset.

Gurdon even went so far as to discuss the “banning” of certain books because of parental worries for their children’s well being. Of course, I’m not arguing the rights of parents who wish to protect their children from whatever they want. But it’s clear that not only are writers like Gurdon trying to stifle the creative nature of several YA (Young Adult) writers, but they’re also insulting the intelligence of our youth, some of whom will experience worse things in school than they’ll read in one of the “ban worthy” books on Gurdon’s list.

*takes a deep breath and lets it out*

Good Lord. I didn’t mean to get so long winded on the subject, but when I read that article it blew my mind. While I can see and understand both points of view, I don’t think censorship or banning is the answer for anything. I think we need to educate our youth and allow writers the opportunity to express real life issues, regardless of how uncomfortable the subjects might be. Reality is reality. There is no escaping it no matter what your age.

And with that, I’m off my soap box. Sorry for the novel lol.

Oh and if any of you are interested in reading the article, here’s the link:

P.S. This post is actually something I wrote for a discussion board question for the class I’m currently enrolled in called The Novel. It just seemed like a good idea to post it here too since the subject is so close to my heart, especially now that Stacey and I have been diving into YA writing ourselves.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Some New Ideas and Feedback!

Recently, Jennifer and I have started some new writing projects on our own. I think that using our creative juices outside of AOE, is exactly what we need.

But on a more important note, one of my guest readers read our original version of Age of Eden and this is what she had to say.

Ashley Horger May 31 at 9:38pm Report
Ok, so I finished your book tonight :) I downloaded it onto my Kindle, much easier to read that way than on Microsoft Word. ;)

It was really good. I did make quite a few corrections to it, but I will need to go through and do it on the word version and email it back to you.

Most of the corrections were spacing issues or the wrong word used. The plot and characters were fine.

Good book, I can't wait to read the next one! :)

SO KUDOS TO JENNIFER AND I. I actually sent her a message back that said, we decided to change a crap ton of stuff, so she will be getting an updated version of what we have. Other than that....I'm going to be away from KY for a few days. Orlando here I come! You all have a fantastic week.