Monday, February 23, 2009

Random thoughts on a Monday Morning...

Currently in the earbuds: "Here With Me" by Dido Currently in the mug: "Vitamin D" from Ritual Coffee Roasters of San Francisco (A pleasant sort of buzz... My California friends are too kind to me.)
This week's going to be hectic. I have read about everything I can manage to find regarding query letters and digested as much as my stomach will take. I've been working steadily to finalize what I'm going to say to agents in these letters I'm about to send out, and it's oddly nerve-wracking.

So much rides on such a short letter, it's surreal to write one.

My novel topped out at about 140,000 words. I have condensed it into a two-paragraph pitch (twitch twitch) which I hope will sell the damn thing so I can get it off my desk and concentrate on the next project. 

The next project, by the way, is already over a 100,000 words long and in serious need of the critical application of a machete. Or the delete button, whichever comes easier to hand.

The real mettle of an author is proven in the acknowledgement that only 50,000 of the 100,000 words are worth keeping. Last night I sent in my dues for the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and I've begun making plans to attend the conference at the end of July/Beginning of August. I'm not sure what to expect. 

I've attended conferences, but never a writer's conference, so this is a bit daunting for me. Once upon a time, an errant comment to a patron at the bookstore netted me an invite to a soiree at her house where several authors were in attendance. (That'll teach you to keep your mouth shut). I spent a lovely (and slightly surreal) evening plying a very tolerant Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon with questions while Steven Brust played his guitar and sang funny songs behind us. But it took me half the night and several glasses of wine to achieve a state where I could tap them on the shoulder and ask that first question.

I'm no stranger to finding my way in murky social waters, but I really am incredibly awkward and shy in those situations and sometimes that's not to my credit in a world where self-promotion is mandatory. I've never really dealt with agents or editors before, which is part of what conferences are all about, including a ten-minute sit-down with an agent from my list.

I need to research this. Knowledge is power. Agents keep blogs and they talk about these things, right? I can do this.

Speaking of queries, an answer to two emails: No, I don't really use books as coasters. It was a still-life concocted for the purpose of taking a photo. And I liked the Kilimanjaro thing, but I'm funny that way.

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Pages to Type is a blog about books, writing and literary culture (with the occasional digression into coffee and the care and feeding of giant robots).