Monday, August 29, 2011

My return to the working world.

Not that I'm not working now.  Taking care of two kiddos is easily the most exhausting and demanding job I've ever had. I'm just making the transition to a job I actually get paid for. 

I can't say I'm thrilled about this.  I have so little time now to write and I know this is just going to shave off more.  And I'm going to miss those two little people who fill up almost every moment of my waking life. However, the husband and I took a look at our debt situation and the economic situation and it just doesn't make financial sense right now for me to stay home. 

Oh well, at least I got four good years to be nothing but a mommy and an aspiring writer.  I guess I'll just have to dust off my legal secretary cap, stick it on top of the other two and hope like heck it all works out.

Monday, August 22, 2011

And the agent said . . .

No. Poop.

After a year and a few months of revising and more revising and one phone call and some emails and A LOT of hoping I got the verdict from Jennifer Weltz of the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency and it's a no.  Ms. Weltz was very helpful and very professional and I learned so much from my interaction with her and except for the end result wouldn't have changed a thing about the experience.

I'm struggling through a crisis of doubt right now, but I think I'm coming out the other side because I've already compiled a list of new agents to query and I spent last night dusting off my query and synopsis.

So back on the query-go-round for me.  I can't say I'm delighted to be there, but it is what it is, so I might as well make the best of it.

On a lighter note, I'm reading Divergent by Veronica Roth and am LOVING it.  If you like dystopian YA fiction with a lot of action and an edge this is the book for you.  It's one of those books that I want to burn through to find out what happens as soon as possible, but I don't want to read it too fast because then it will be done.  Happily, though, this is only book one of a trilogy, so I don't have to restrain myself too much.

How about you guys?  Did any big news come your way since last Monday?  Have you or are you reading any books you'd like to reccomend because heaven knows I'm always on the lookout for a good book.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Crap, I'm supposed to do a post today.

Wow, that week went fast!  This weekend was my seventh wedding anniversary and my husband and I spent it at a really great B&B by the Teton Mountains.  I guess I must still be buzzing from the fabulous time I had because the fact that it was Monday and I needed to do a post whacked me upside the head just a few seconds ago. 

Needless to say this will be a short one.  Mostly I just wanted to tell Talli thanks again for giving me that great interview and for hanging out at my blog last Monday.  I also wanted to say thanks to all of you who stopped by and read the interview.  It was so great getting all of your comments.  Lastly, I want to welcome all of you new followers.  It's great to have you here!

Next week my post will be more focused and I'll put a bit more preparation than thirty seconds worth into it.  Hope you all have a great week!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Featuring an interview with (drumroll please) Talli Roland

If you write and you've been around the blogosphere for the last year and a half or so you've probably heard of (and most likely follow) Talli Roland. If you don't, well, get on over to her blog and sign up.

This week I have the immense pleasure of featuring an interview with Talli. For those of you who don't know (and those of you who do) Talli's first work of fiction The Hating Game was released on Kindle by Prospera Publishing last November and in paperback March of this year. Here's a handy dandy link if you want to buy it in paperback and another one if you want it on Kindle. Her second work of fiction Watching Willow Watts will be released on Kindle next month!

I was a wee bit curious about life post publication and thought some (or all) of you might be as well, so I rustled up some questions and Talli graciously agreed to answer them. With no further ado I give you the interview.

Q: Prior to The Hating Game you had two travel guides published under the name Marsha Moore? How was the publishing experience for The Hating Game different?

It wasn’t dramatically different, really, although I was much more nervous for The Hating Game to be published. Writing fiction felt more personal, even if it was under a pen name. I was terrified yet super excited to put it out there.

Q: Did the contacts you made in publishing the travel guides play any part in getting The Hating Game published?

They definitely did, because I didn’t have to query. In fact, I didn’t even have the book written! I just pitched the synopsis and blurb to my editor, and I signed the contract on the strength of that information.

Q: What was your initial reaction when you found out The Hating Game was going to be published? What was Mr. TR’s reaction?

I was thrilled, because even though I enjoy writing non-fiction, fiction was really my dream. You can probably guess what Mr TR and I indulged in… it begins with W and ends with E!

Q:You pitched The Hating Game directly to Prospera Publishing who chose to publish it. Did you get an agent at some point in the process? If so, how did you go about that? If not, are you planning on getting an agent at any time in the future?

I don’t have an agent and I’m not looking for one at the moment. Publishing is changing so quickly at the moment, and I’m very happy where I’m at right now. A lot of opportunities are opening up for authors and I’m in a great position to move quickly to maximize them.

Q: On your blog you mentioned working with an editor at Prospera. How closely did you work with the editor? Did he or she have a lot of suggestions? Was it difficult making changes to your manuscript based on someone else’s suggestions?

Any novel that’s published is a collaborative process, and you quickly learn not to be precious about your work. I always appreciate any input, but whether or not I agree to changes depends on how strongly I feel about what’s recommended. Ultimately, it’s my name that’s going to be on the novel, so I need to be happy with it. So far, working with an editor has been a fantastic learning experience and once that’s resulted in a much stronger finished product.

Q:What is the process from manuscript to a book the public can purchase? What decisions did you have to make in regards to layout, design, cover art, those sorts of things? Did you like that aspect of the process?

The process differs depending on the publisher, but generally a manuscript goes through several rounds of edits before it’s laid out. Once it’s laid out, the opportunities for changing text diminish greatly, because one change can throw the whole document out of whack! I love looking at covers! That’s one of my favourite parts of the process, actually, because it’s when you realize your book is going to be out there in the world! Luckily, my publisher and I worked together on lay-out and design, so I had quite a bit of input into what I wanted and what I thought worked. Most authors aren’t that fortunate.

Q:Was there any part of the publishing process that you disliked? What part did you enjoy most?

I can’t say I find the seemingly endless line edits that enjoyable! It’s so frustrating when you read something over and over and over, yet still find mistakes. The part I enjoy the most is when the manuscript is laid out because then it’s almost finished and actually looks like a book. Oh, and when you hold the book in your hands, of course. There’s nothing better.

Q:I know the publishing industry has undergone a major shift in recent years and authors are required to do quite a bit more to promote their work. You’ve done an amazing job! I had a baby and pretty much disappeared from the blogosphere for about six months. I just happened to pop in on the day of your web splash and I was in awe. How did you come up with the plan for that? Do you have any advice for people who are trying to get the word out about their book?

Thank you, Angie! The plan came to mind because I’d seen another author do something similar, without tying it to Amazon. I thought it would be great to have a tangible outcome to give me something to drive towards. I didn’t want to ask people outright to buy my novel. Instead, I asked them to help spread the word. My advice to other authors is to spend time building relationships first, before you approach a large number of people for help. So many authors now send out messages asking for people to buy their book (on Twitter, in particular!) without even knowing who they’re asking. People are much keener to help if you’ve invested time in getting to know them.

Q: Tell me a little bit about what you went through on the release date of your book both emotionally and what you actually did on that day.

I was terrified, because I’d made such a big fuss about my quest to take on Amazon and I wasn’t sure if anything would actually happen! It would be terribly embarrassing if my rank stayed the same. But people started tweeting about my novel, buying, and my rank kept rising… right up to number 24 on Amazon.co.uk and into the top 500 on Amazon.com! Words can’t explain how thankful I was for all the support! By the end of the day, I was exhausted and elated.

Q: How does it feel to see your book in stores? Have you been out and about and seen anyone reading it? If so what was that experience like?

I haven’t seen anyone reading my novel but ninety per cent of my sales are on Kindle, which makes spying a little difficult! I’d love to spot a reader in the wild with my book.

Q: What’s been the most difficult part of having your work out there?

Definitely being judged – and sometimes not so favourably. Every consumer has a right to their opinion and of course I’m extremely grateful people are buying my novel and reading it, but sometimes reading a not-so-great review can be disheartening. I’ve toughened up quite a bit in the past few months, but I can’t say it doesn’t hurt! Still, one of the best things I’ve heard was that if everyone loves your writing, you’re probably doing something wrong.

Q: Has your life changed significantly since The Hating Game was published? If so, how?

Not really, except for the first time in four years (since I started writing full-time), I’m actually making a bit of money! I can buy shoes without feeling guilty, which is a rather nice feeling. But apart from that, nothing’s changed.

Q: I know you’re currently at work on Watching Willow Watts which will be released on Kindle November of this year. Has it been a different experience writing a book you know will be published versus one you really hoped would be? If so, could you give me a few examples of how it’s different?

Since neither book was written before I’d got the book deal, it wasn’t that different. The biggest difference with writing Willow was that now I had something to live up to. With a debut novel, there aren’t any expectations. For your second book, you don’t want people to be disappointed. You want people to love it more – or, at the very least – just as much!

Q: Did you learn anything in publishing The Hating Game that is making your experience with Watching Willow Watts easier? If so, what?

Er… no. I wish I could say yes, but every novel is different with its own unique challenges.

Q: What do you wish you would have known previous to getting published that you now know? And what nuggets of wisdom can you pass on to those of us in the as yet unpublished masses?

It doesn’t get easier. I don’t mean that in a negative way but somehow, I had the idea that once I got published, everything would just flow from that and there wouldn’t be any bumps on the way. Being published doesn’t necessarily open doors. Having a great story with a great concept does!

Q: Is there anything you’d like to add that wasn’t covered in my questions?

Before I met other published writers, I wasn’t aware other people had struggled as much – and more – than I had. Some had written for years and years before getting published (and are now bestsellers!). I know it sounds horribly clich├ęd, but really: don’t give up. If you love to write and you want to get published, persistence is everything

Talli Roland has three loves in her life: romantic comedies, coffee and wine. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine). Despite training as a journalist, Talli soon found she preferred making up her own stories – complete with happy endings. The Hating Game is her first novel and her second, Watching Willow Watts, will be out on Kindle in September. Talli blogs here and can be found on Twitter here.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Consistency thy name is Success (or is it the other way around?)

So you know how sometimes you'll be tooling around on the internet and suddenly read something that hits you right between the eyes kaBLAM!  I had that experience on Saturday (after we FINALLY got our internet connection running in our new place).  I was bopping around blogs to see what all I missed out on the last couple of week and came across this post about writing consistently on agent Rachelle Gardner's blog.  It was so great I just had to share it.

Since completing my revisions on Seeds, I've had a bit of an issue with consistency.  I'll sit down and in sort of a frenzy hammer out some edits on my WIP and then not touch it again for three or four days, sometimes, for as long as a week.  I thought as long as I was doing something on it I was okay.

The above linked post changed all that.  So for this week, my goal is to write/edit at least a little bit everyday on my WIP, even if it means (as it inevitably will)  resisting the siren call of So You Think You Can Dance or True Blood or the unbelievably gripping books I've been reading about the fatal May 1996 expeditions to Everest.

How about you guys?  Any life altering things come your way on the internet this weekend?  Any big goals (writing or otherwise) for the week?