Friday, June 4, 2010

One More Step

Anyone want a cold? I am feeling particularly awful because I have been out all day and it is raining. Not the soft gentle rain that everyone loves but that horrible relentless rain that makes everything damp and chills you to the bone.

Not that I can say anything about how I feel. Lachie has had a cold the last few days and I have been saying things like 'it's just a cold' and 'you'll live, you just have to keep going' etc. Hasn't that come back to bite me!! lol

Anyway - I left  home at the crack of dawn this morning ... okay ... it was 8am but I rarely am out that early unless I am on my way home from work. I caught a train into Sydney and then another one across the harbour bridge to Milson's Point and after a short walk arrived at the Sydney Writer's Centre. Right on time. Unfortunately the speaker - Geoff Barlett (author of Comedians in the Mist and others) wasn't - he had been caught in traffic and was running 30 minutes late but he finally arrived and we began learning how to get our books published.

I have to say it was fabulous and made it all seem not so scary despite the statistics that say about 90% of all submissions get binned (not literally) and of that 10% maybe 2 will ever be published! I was very fortunate in that almost everyone else was interested in writing children's books, so he often used mine as an example of what to do and say. Luckily I can write fairly fast so I wrote it all down and plan to use some of it when I finally get to approaching a publisher. OMG! I can't believe I am saying that - just the thought of actually doing it is a little terrifying! Especially after he talked about how IF we get published we would have to promote it, interviews with newspapers, radios and horrifyingly, perhaps television! Time to start the diet again!

He talked a lot about how to present yourself to a publisher - about the 'elevator pitch'. Basically this is the selling of your book in about 15 seconds, so if the totally amazing and unlikely happened and you met Steven Speilberg in an elevator, you could pitch your story and hope he was at the very least intrigued enough to want to know more. This will take some refining but it gives me much more idea of what is expected and hopefully lessens the chances of me being in the 30-40% that get rejected after the first couple of sentences. But then - I am also realistic and know I am not going to present them with my sales pitch and have them come rushing. Of course a girl can always dream! *wink*

The good thing abut today is it has given me a renewed desire to get back to my 'journey' and finish it and then start editing and rewriting. Refining it could take for ever but it has to be done and my trusty editor will, I know, help. *angelic smile*

Sitting on the train going in, I was watching the people, most of whom would have been on their way to work and a story started in my head so as I was just waiting to arrive anyway, I wrote it down. If I get a chance tomorrow I will add it on here - remembering it is just something I did while the train was moving!

Arriving home I was cold and tired and not feeling at all like cooking when my darling son called and asked what was for dinner. When I had no idea he suggested pizza - the reason for his call in the first place - and bought it home with him after work. Now  that is my kind of cooking. lol

Feeling of the Day: hopeful ... maybe, just maybe there may be a  niche somewhere for my book and someone is going to love it and publish it ... finger crossed!

Song of the Day:  'My Baby You' by Mark Anthony ( thank you babe ♥)


Cheryl S said...

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I disagree with much of what Geoff Barlett told that audience in Sydney.

He's got folks worrying about promoting books that haven't even been written yet!

That's not fair to those in the audience who will never, ever be published because they lack the fundamentals of good writing.

I think that wannabe writers (and I class myself firmly in this group too) should be spending their time working on their craft rather than their elevator pitches.

Sites like 'Dear Author' and 'Miss Snark's First Victim' show over and over again, the importance of tightly written prose, of showing not telling, and ruthless editing.

The reality of the publishing game is that it doesn't matter how good the premise is, if the execution is poor, it won't even get off the slush pile.

A good crit. group or a partner who will wield a slashing red pen, is probably the best asset a wannabe writer can have these days.

Check out those two sites I mentioned if you're interested. I've found them incredibly useful. I'm sure I've learned something new every time I've visited them.

Best wishes from one wannabe to another.


Shirley said...

Hi Cheryl - thanks for your comment and yes I agree pretty much with everything you say. The fault in this case is mine in that I did not explain properly what the seminar was. It was titled 'How to Publish Your Book'so it was presumed that people were either at, or almost at, the stage of having their books completed.

In my case I have the bones and am now tightening it but when I saw the seminar I decided it never hurts to have too much information and if I was serious about this then I needed to step out and DO something rather than talk about it.

He did emphasis over and over the importance as a new author of not submitting until you were ready and gave many good points about how.The whole thing was full of practical advice , real advice from someone who has been there and done that. I didn't mention all of it due to lack of space and general interest but I am happy to share more of it with you.

I have read Miss Snark often and find her very interesting - the thing that is important to remember is she is not Australian and there are certain things that are relavent only to our publishing system. Having said that I will continue to read and take note - and check out the other one.

oh! - I have a fabulous editor lol who is (often) too honest *angelic smile* but she keeps me in line and checks both my grammar and spelling as well - both of which I tend to be a bit lazy about. Perhaps this is the time to say ... not however on here - any mistakes are mine made from sheer laziness in not fixing them, tiredness or not even noticing them :)

Best wishes back to you Cheryl and get writing - one day I want to be able to say 'Í know her' when I see your book on the shelf!

Cheryl S said...

Ahh that makes a lot more sense. Thanks for clarifying the subject of the seminar. I certainly wasn't having a go at you. Actually I take my hat off to you for taking such decisive action in reaching your goal.

Just this morning I was reading - on MSNV, believe it or not - one reader's view that getting published is as likely as winning American Idol. He/she compared an agent's slush pile to those early mass auditions that we all watch with horrified fascination because they are so bad.

I suppose they have people who love them who say, 'Yes, of course you have a lovely voice' or in this case,'Wow, why aren't you published?'

I agree that the world of US publishing is very different from ours, but I read MSNV more for the crits in her Secret Agent competitions than anything else.

I like to test myself when I read the entries and see if I can pick the good'uns (lol) from the pack - and pinpoint the common mistakes in the others. It's an incredibly useful exercise and I've become a much better editor already.

Thanks for the good wishes about my writing. I still feel I'm a long way off being ready to submit to an agent. I do know however, that I'll never be published writing about Divos, and that it is time for me to get off that particular pot.

There's a potentially non-Divo story that's been lurking in the back of my mind for a couple of years now, but never made it past the first chapter stage. Maybe its time has come?

Thanks again for responding to my little rant so nicely.
All the very best. I'll see you and Lachie on FB soon!