The further into this story I get, the deeper I have to dig into the world of Alice in Wonderland to find ways to connect each character to Lewis Carroll’s story/concept. This one might be a little bit of a stretch, but I’m going with it – because the character’s physicality is based entirely on the real life singer P!nk. She’s fierce, badass, strong, and feminine. (If you ever get the chance to see P!nk perform live, do it. I’m not a huge fan of large venues or overdone concerts, meaning flashy lights and confetti falling from the ceiling – but what P!nk does with her show is BEYOND anything I’ve ever seen. It’s so well thought out and put together and demonstrates what a magnificent human she it.)
Meet Simone. (Connection: P!nk co-wrote the song “Just Like Fire” for the 2016 film adaptation Alice Through the Looking Glass. Her daughter appears in the video with her.)
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m part of an online writing group that does writing swaps/positivity passes. Though I know this is an international group, it didn’t really sink in until I got my latest piece of feedback from our swap:
Y’all, someone in GERMANY has not only read but liked my writing. I’m just gonna sit with this for a little bit.
In a Twitter Q&A with an author I follow, there was a question about how to find agents. This is the million dollar question, is it not? They are the gate keepers between finishing a book and landing a deal with a major publisher. The author provided two resources, both of which will let you search a list of agents based on the genre of your book/their interests: AgentQuery.com and Manuscript Wish List (MSWL also has an editor search). Be sure to pay attention to the agent’s preferences (sending them something outside of their genre lists will mean not being read), word count (for the same reason), and if they are open to queries. I highly recommend tracking who you send your submissions to so that 1) you don’t query more than one agent at the same agency at the same time, and 2) can track when you sent them so you know when the “if you don’t hear from me in six to eight weeks, assume I’m not interested” has expired.
Then brace yourself. Rejections can be hard, but they are inevitable.
Originally, when Ann and Amy were done reading through my WIP, I intended to take them for a nice dinner as a thank you. COVID has, of course, changed that plan. I felt bad that Amy opted to mail me my manuscript back (she lives in IL) because I figured it would be expensive – but I was also thrilled with the chance to read her thoughts.
Soon as it arrived, I tore open the package and plopped down to read through each page. She had typed some overall comments that will be supremely helpful, as well as wrote notes and marked errors. When I got to this one, I couldn’t help but smile. It is important, after all, to get the right beta readers – folks you can trust to be honest with you, even if it means being critical, but also folks who can make sure the story you are telling is an authentic one. Right down to the relish.
I’m part of an online writing community that is actually attached to an online fitness program I’m a part of. (Writer friends come into your life in the most unexpected of places, don’t they?) The admin for this group is also participating in #RevPit and offered the idea of a Positivity Pass to our group (something some of #RevPit editors do for their top submissions even if they don’t choose them as the finalist). A Positivity Pass is just someone reading over your work and letting you know what they like about it/what they think you are doing well. It can feel good as a writer to hear what we are doing right. She is also offering a chance for the writer to indicate if they would like a critique on top of that pass (yes, please).
I jumped at the chance to participate – if for no other reason than to see what some other folks are writing about. 🙂 I do miss workshop.
One of my readers (each submission went to two people, and we each got two things to read in return. We did not necessarily get work from the people who were reading our own – if that makes sense) is Rebekah, the admin for the group. She has had kind things to say about my first ten pages, as well as offered some advice, which is always welcome!
On the flip side, I am working my way through (hoping to finish in a bit) her own submission – y’all, I never knew I NEEDED an introverted nerdy (and capable) princess story. If you need it, too – just know it’s coming!
One of the fun things about #RevPit are the mini games they play throughout the month. The one today is at the request of Jeni Chappelle, one of the editors – the novel aesthetic. This is simply a collage of pictures that represent your novel. It sounded like a fun exercise, and I am a visual person, so I put this together (I do not own any of these pictures – I hope those with the copyrights don’t mind… [strained smile]):
#DVPit is a “Twitter event created to showcase pitches from marginalized voices that have been historically underrepresented in publishing” (The DV stands for Diverse Voices). It was brought to my attention through my participation in #RevPit, mentioned in a previous post. I had no clue things like this existed, though I’ve been on Twitter (under my pen name) since 2009.
There are two DV pitch fests each year – essentially one for YA writers and one for adult writers. It’s a simple task, really – fit into 280 characters (all that Twitter allows) your pitch, the #DVPit hashtags, and the category/genre you are pitching within. [strained smile] I don’t even want to think of trying to do this back when Twitter only allowed 140 characters…
There are also rules of how many times you can pitch/post each day, but essentially no more than six times on the day designated per project. Agents and editors then spend their day scrolling through the hashtag to see what might be of interest to them. If they like your post, you can head over to their Twitter page to see what their guidelines are (if they are asking for a synopsis or first five pages, etc.). You can then follow up by sending to those you wish to.
These are the pitches I posted this morning:
Alice Hart finds herself in the wonderland that is Chicago, trying to make sense of a life newly (finally) lived. She meets Stanley, and they begin a romance/adventure that leads each to find what they’ve been searching for. But is it each other? #Alice#AllFallingThings#DVpit
Stanley Hoppenworth finds time ticking away, fears he’ll forever be living in the far-reaching shadow of his father. He meets Alice, and they begin a romance/adventure that leads each to find what they’ve been searching for. But is it each other? #Alice#AllFallingThings#DVpit
A character-drive novel populated with people loosely based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland characters. Based in Chicago, Alice Hart and Stanley Hoppenworth are both trying to make sense of a life newly (finally) lived. #Alice#AllFallingThings#DVpit
I, of course, realize now that I missed the part about including the genre. [facepalm]
BUT – I still got a like on the first one. So time to do some digging. 🙂
Today would have been my nana’s (nah-nah) 92nd birthday. My middle name after is her first – and I carry it and all her sass and fierceness with me every single day.
It is also the day that I submitted for #RevPit. #RevPit, I have learned, is a Twitter Pitch Fest lead by editors. “It supports authors by offering editing-focused chats and mini-events throughout the year as well as an annual contest wherein querying authors can win feedback and edits on their full manuscripts from professional editors, ensuring their works are polished and ready for agent inboxes.”
Earlier in the month, I had spent some time scouring the #RevPit editor’s bios to see who just might be a good fit. We are to pick our top two editors and one alternate to submit to. I came up with my list, and then I spent some time checking out their Twitter feeds to see whose personalities I might get on with best. This helped to solidify my list/order.
This morning, I got up early, before the window to submit had opened. (Once your first choice’s inbox hits 100 requests, your submission goes to your second choice. If they also already have 100, then it goes on to the alternate.) I had my answers to the required questions all typed and ready to copy/paste. I was ready. And I submitted. My first choice editor still had available slots by the time I hit submit.
The editors have a month to review all submissions (query letter, first ten pages). If something catches their attention, they will email and ask for the full manuscript. It sounds like most of them request up to ten manuscripts – so an email is not a guarantee that they’re picking you.
For the writer, me, that means a month of obsessively checking my email and watching my Twitter feed for “teasers” posted by my chosen editor. Winners are announced at the end of the month. What do they win? An edit of their full manuscript.
So. Here we go. I wait.
I’ll be honest that I’m going into this assuming I won’t be picked. I’m sure that won’t mean it won’t sting a little if I’m not. But if anything, I now have a draft of a query letter and a synopsis ready to go. That alone was a pretty big feat.