Sunday, October 16, 2011

Writers Conferences and the In Between

A few weeks ago I went to the James River Writer's Conference in Richmond--my first writers conference.  I have to admit I was slightly terrified.  I wanted to drag my mom along with me, but she was off in Florida.  I was scared everyone there would see me for what I am.  See that I'm not really a writer.  I'm just some girl (lady? woman?) who sits at her cheap Compaq laptop and writes what comes into her head. 

I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but whatever it was, I didn't find it.  Everyone was really welcoming.  The speakers were all incredibly inspiring.  (I currently have a literary crush on Robert Goolrick.  I just finished his memoir The End of the World as We Know It which was incredible).  I realized that half the people there hadn't even finished their novel.  I was one step ahead of them. Sure, some of the people did have agents.  Some of them had published books, but somehow, there, they just seemed a step ahead of me.

The conference was wonderful.  It made me realize I am a real author and feel proud of myself, somehow.  I've written a novel--one and a half, even.  That's something that a lot of people talk about, but few actually accomplish.  I know I have talent (even some of the rejection letters I get tell me so).  I just have to keep at it.  It's a numbers game.  If you don't give up, eventually you get published.  At the conference, I met with an agent and she requested the first thirty pages of my solo project.  I'm pretty sure she did that for everyone, so I'm not holding my breath, but when I got home I queried 10 agents for that project.  One requested the full manuscript that day (but sadly rejected me the next day).  Another one rejected me saying that the project wasn't right for her but at the bottom of the form letter she took precious seconds out of her day to write "Good voice, good comparisons".  I was happier about that than the request for the full.  I pride myself on my comparisons.  Max made me a shirt once that read "Queen of Analogies".  It was nice to hear from a professional that even if I'm not the Queen, I'm at least the Page.

Since then, a new agent has requested a partial of the book that Michelle & I wrote.  Since our revisions I'm feeling pretty good about it, but we'll see how it goes.  That (amazing superstar) agent has it on an exclusive basis, so fingers crossed.  In the end, though, if she wants to represent it, awesome.  If not, we'll soldier on.

This morning I outlined a new book.  It's a book of women's book club fiction (that is, it would appeal to women and it's of the sort that book clubs would select).  My last book was sad so I'm looking forward to writing this new book--everyone gets out alive.  It's got an interesting premise.  It's one of those premises that if I told you, you'd think "I could've come up with that," but I've googled it, and I can't find any book quite like it.  I think it's going to be fun to write.

In parting, I just have to mention how lucky I am to have such a wonderfully supportive husband.  I said to Max last night that while I might be part of the 99% in income, I'm definitely part of the 1% in lives.  I have the best husband, the best mother, the best friends (best friend and otherwise).  Obviously I hope one or more of these books finds an agent/publisher soon, but if they don't, I'll make it through until they do.