I’m still kicking ass with NaNoWriMo. I’m currently at 29,169 words, approximately one full week ahead of schedule. I’m really liking the approach, which is to write with little or no editing. Of course that means that the draft I have is quite rough, as Ann Lamott’s Bird By Bird refers to it, my shitty first draft, but I don’t think its all that shitty. So I’m optimistic that I can use December and January to whip these chapters into shape.
I have a couple of writing friends who graciously will be looking over my chapters during that time and they can only improve.
I woke up to a new rejection this morning of my book proposal, this time from St. Martin’s Press’ (one of the big girls) editor, Michele Richter. Calling this a rejection seems like a misnomer though. I think I’ll start calling it a “pass” when it sounds like this one. It’s always hard to know whether they’re just being kind, but I’d like to think there is sincerity here. I met Michelle at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference and she seemed like a true New Yorker, not one who beats around the bush to spare people’s feelings, so this pass is very encouraging to me.
I’ll keep plugging away and hopefully will send out my proposal to another round of agents and editors in February or so. I think I’m waiting to hear back from only one more agent from the round I sent out in August.
Here’s her e-mail message in all its glory:
I enjoyed meeting you very much, and I thank you for sending me EGG MAMA. You do have a fascinating story to tell, and there’s certainly an inspirational aspect, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to pass on the chance to make you an offer. Memoir is a very crowded market, and we’re having to be more and more selective with the projects that we take on. I do think that your writing is engaging, and that someone else will snap you up and give you a happy home. I wish you all the best of luck.
best, Michelle Richter
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Tagged Ann Lamott, assisted reproduction, bird by bird, book proposal, egg donation, egg donor, Egg Mama, Michelle Richter, nanowrimo, new yorker, pacific northwest writers association conference, pass, rejection, shitty first draft, st. martins press, word count
I’m feeling pretty good today. I’ve officially completed 21,203 words of the 50,000 I need to complete by the end of the month. Fantastic. I’m 7800+ words ahead of schedule. Let’s just hope I don’t hit any walls in the next three weeks.
Meanwhile, I’ve gotten a little feedback on articles I sent out last month.
My parenting article, Weapon Worry, about the dilemma of whether or not to allow toy guns in your home was picked up by a couple of parenting publications in the midwest (hopefully coming out in December). But last week I got a message from the editor at Georgia Family Magazine. I’ll let you read the feedback yourself below, but it seems that I need to figure out how to add more “meat” to the article for some regions where guns in schools are a much bigger issue than in my school district.
Is it enough that toy guns be brightly colored? At least 54 Bibb County school students and 28 Houston County students were disciplined during the past two years for bringing a real or toy gun into their schools. Both these counties are among the counties served by Georgia Family Magazine. We need an article on the subject, but we need one that has considerably more meat.
Thank you for your consideration.
In my defense, my article didn’t just suggest that guns be brightly colored. It also suggested that each family come up with a routine plan to make sure toys guns don’t end up in school back packs, as well as provided links to parenting guides and childrens books about gun safety. But I feel flattered that she took the time to reply at all and see this feedback as positive. It seems to say that if I could figure out how to beef it up for their region, she might give it a look. I just haven’t decided if I’ll do that or not. At least not until NaNoWriMo is over. The article took me three weeks to finish because I was so torn up about the subject matter. I’m not sure how long it would take me to make it even better.
I also heard back today from Women’s Adventure Magazine after waiting only about a month. Again, I’m flattered to hear back at all since that’s not always the case. But I was really hoping to hear that they wanted my piece right away. This isn’t exactly a rejection, but definitely not a sure thing. I’ll definitely figure out where else I can send my scorpion story.
Here’s the e-mail and thanks for reading!
Thanks for the story. I’m not sure I’m able to use it in print, but it’s most appropriate for our summer issue, so I’m going to file it away and take another look as that time approaches. If I’m not able to use it in print, or we decide against it for some other reasons, I think it’s a funr ead and would consider using it online… but I’ll check back with you beforehand either way. Thanks again and have a great day.
Last week I had a new success and this morning a new rejection.
I wrote an article about the parenting implications of toy guns and sent it to a large number of parenting publications across the country. It took me three weeks to wrap up because it was a difficult subject to reconcile in my own house. I was delighted when just 12 hours after sending it out, a publisher in the midwest, Adams Street Publishing, requested to publish it in three parenting publications: Ann Arbor Family News, Toledo Area Parent News, and Findlay Family News. I’ll receive a small compensation for each. Yeh for me!
It feels great to set a goal and then accomplish it. I used the high to start a new article that I’ll send out later this week.
This morning I got a very nice rejection e-mail from a wonderful woman that runs a small publishing house. When I think of her, the word spitfire comes to mind. We met at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference this summer. It was very kind of her to send me personal feedback. I’ll continue to follow her irreverant blog for insights into the mind of an editor and publisher. You should too. Her blog is in my blog roll. Do check it out. Below is her rejection e-mail. Pretty nice as rejections go.
Thank you for allowing me to read your first chapters. As I said at the conference, I love the idea of your book. Your writing is quite lovely, and you have established a nice conversational pace and flow to your story. While I like it, I don’t love it. I know that sounds lame, but I have to feel passion for every project we sign. When I don’t have that sense of “I gotta have it,” then I know it’s a sign that it’s meant for someone else who will love it far more and take better care of it. I hope to read about you in Publisher’s Marketplace very soon. In the meantime, best of luck to you finding the perfect home for your book. It was great to have met you.
Jan’s Story: never forgetting what we once had and lost. ~ Katie Couric
Nothing Short of Joy: a magical world of joy. ~Wayne Dyer
Charting the Unknown: A journey of the heart. ~Suzanna Clarke – A House in Fez,
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Tagged adams street publications, ann arbor family news, Behler, editor, egg donor, findlay family news, Lynn Price, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, parenting, publisher, publishers marketplace, rejection, toledo area parent news, toy guns
I received a rejection just a few minutes ago from one of the two agents I most wanted to work with. I have to admit I’m a little sad. It seems harder to roll with rejection from someone I let myself get excited about.
Elizabeth Wales was a long shot for me. She’s been in the business for years, happens to be in Seattle, and represents some bigger names. But she got my hopes up when I met her at the Pacific Northwest Writer’s conference because she was the only agent that was also interested in my background as an environmental scientist. Ms. Wales represents several scientists and engineers who write non-fiction books, an area I dream about breaking into someday. Her form rejection e-mail is posted below.
Lynn Price of Behler Publications blogs regularly that writers are too often in a hurry to be found and get their work published. She reasons that this rush compromises quality. I am definitely feeling in a hurry sometimes. I know what I want and I want it to happen now, not two years from now. I’m impatient about lots of things, so why not this? But I have reasons for wanting to make things happen sooner rather than later. How long can I learn about writing and plug along without actually earning a living at it? Most people don’t have the “luxury” that I have at the moment. My impatience is spurred by the fact that I don’t know how long I have the luxury either.
So, I’ll try not to be in such a damn hurry. If I don’t end up with an agent after this round (I’m only waiting to hear from a couple), then I’ll be patient and finish the manuscript and submit to another group of carefully selected individuals. Maybe in February.
In the meantime, I’ll expand my platform (writing resume) by publishing some more articles in magazines, and maybe branching out into public speaking.
I’m still planning to participate in my custom version of NaNoWriMo. Please let me know if you are going to join me in this adventure.
Ahhh, the rejection:
I enjoyed meeting you at the PNWA conference this year.
After reading Egg Mama, my agency must pass on offering you representation. Because of the amount of client work in our office, we try to make quick decisions on all possible new clients and projects. Our process is ultimately subjective and we do the best we can.
We wish only to encourage you even though we can’t pursue working with you at this time. Thank you for sharing your work with us. We wish you the very best with your writing.
All the best,
Wales Literary Agency, Inc.
PO Box 9426
Seattle, Washington 98109
Tel.. 206 284 7114
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Tagged agents, Behler, egg donor, Egg Mama, Elizabeth Wales, Lynn Price, nanowrimo, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, publishing, rejection, Seattle