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Old 02-25-2011, 07:02 PM   #26
Bobby
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Originally Posted by alleycat View Post
Back in the late seventies. I was in the architectural school.

There was a news story on earlier this week about some nut poisoning the oak trees on the Auburn campus. Strangely enough, I remember those oaks; they were near where the School of Architecture was back then and I would sit under them and read.
Yeah, that's a horrible, horrible thing. I feel awful for the Auburn family -- those trees are likely irreplaceable. I tried to explain it to an Alabama grad this way: imagine if someone blew up Denny Chimes at UA. Same concept, except the trees are living things.
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Old 02-25-2011, 07:04 PM   #27
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Hey Bobby - three things
1) ABNA is a total crapshoot in the earlier rounds - if the two readers who are assigned your pitch aren't into it, you're done. (I got through the first few rounds last year, but a friend didn't, and her pitch was much better than mine.)
2) Thriller is one of the toughest genres to break into - that can either be depressing or a challenge. (I'm parroting something my agent said before I signed with her, not suggesting other genres aren't tough as well). They have to be so tightly plotted and written that agents/pubs sorta expect that most of the subs they get fall apart at some point before THE END, so they look at query and synopsis weaknesses with a particularly jaundiced eye. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to give them a query/syn/sample pages that prevents them from doing so.
3) As Callalily suggested, stick around and get your 50 posts, then put up your query in SYW - I won't crit it here, but it's using some really non-specific language and that makes it hard to stand out. If your sense of humor here is any indication, I bet you can do a much better version
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Last edited by raburrell; 02-25-2011 at 07:04 PM. Reason: because I either can't count or talk too much. (or both)
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Old 02-25-2011, 07:07 PM   #28
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It was just a stupid thing to do; but it won't be the last time a sports fan goes over the edge. Killing trees is just mean to the core though.

I'm not a big fan of UK basketball, but I wouldn't kill a wildcat and send it to them.
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Old 02-25-2011, 07:13 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raburrell View Post
Hey Bobby - three things
1) ABNA is a total crapshoot in the earlier rounds - if the two readers who are assigned your pitch aren't into it, you're done. (I got through the first few rounds last year, but a friend didn't, and her pitch was much better than mine.)
2) Thriller is one of the toughest genres to break into - that can either be depressing or a challenge. (I'm parroting something my agent said before I signed with her, not suggesting other genres aren't tough as well). They have to be so tightly plotted and written that agents/pubs sorta expect that most of the subs they get fall apart at some point before THE END, so they look at query and synopsis weaknesses with a particularly jaundiced eye. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to give them a query/syn/sample pages that prevents them from doing so.
3) As Callalily suggested, stick around and get your 50 posts, then put up your query in SYW - I won't crit it here, but it's using some really non-specific language and that makes it hard to stand out. If your sense of humor here is any indication, I bet you can do a much better version
Thanks for the encouragement. It's really appreciated. :-)

Edited to add: I'm really glad my humor comes off as something other than self-aggrandizing.
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:40 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Bobby View Post
Hey, I did say I was about to sound arrogant. :-) Could I be politically correct and say I have an optimally integrated self-image?
Just wanted to say hi, I hear you and I can relate. I've been working as a freelance writer (magazine, newspaper and a bunch of other stuff) for 16 years. Knock on wood, I've approached or reached a six-figure income in many of those years. I've won 6 national magazine-writing awards. I've also written two nonfiction books, one of which won an award.

I recently finished my first novel and started submitting it. So far I've got a few nibbles and several rejections. Quite honestly, after the first rejection I was shocked! I was deluded enough to think that my novel was so fresh and well written that nobody could resist it.

Since then I've had the book beta-read and come to realize it needs a fair bit of pruning and some serious fact-checking. This website has given me much-needed perspective on the whole fiction submission scene. As someone on this board said, "getting your fiction published isn't a sprint, it's a marathon."

The upshot is that I've developed two more novel ideas I'm really excited about. I'll also continue plugging away at the first one.

I'm sure you're a very good writer. You sound like one. It's just a damned competitive business and the stars don't always line up on the first (or 100th) try.

Good luck and stick around.

Freelance
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:23 PM   #31
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All those awards and all that experience mean nothing, because YOU CHANGED GENRES!!!

The skills that go into good reporting don't have a whole lot of connection to writing a strong plot. It's a new set of skills.

Now, without reading your novel, none of us can answer your real question: Is Prodigal good enough, and you just need to keep submitting it, or should you trunk it?

We need more information before we can give you advice.

Of those 100 rejections, how many have been auto-rejects based only on the query, and how many have been rejections of the actual book? If you can't get anyone to read the manuscript, then you need to take a serious look at your query. But if more than a few agents have read all or part of the book and then rejected, that means you'll want to take a serious look at the story itself before you decide what to do next.

Have you gotten any personalized feedback from agents or editors? Attending conferences and paying for critiques can give you a lot of insight into how your writing comes across to professionals.

Have you worked with a critique group or experienced beta readers? Even the best, most experienced writer can miss things. Thrillers need tight plots with no holes, and it usually takes a fresh pair of eyes to spot them.

As far as you can't believe there are 1000 unpublished novels out there better than yours...well. Wow. That, my friend, is a bit more than a healthy ego. That's someone in serious need of a reality check.
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Old 02-28-2011, 06:51 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by JudScotKev View Post
All those awards and all that experience mean nothing, because YOU CHANGED GENRES!!!

The skills that go into good reporting don't have a whole lot of connection to writing a strong plot. It's a new set of skills.

Now, without reading your novel, none of us can answer your real question: Is Prodigal good enough, and you just need to keep submitting it, or should you trunk it?

We need more information before we can give you advice.

Of those 100 rejections, how many have been auto-rejects based only on the query, and how many have been rejections of the actual book? If you can't get anyone to read the manuscript, then you need to take a serious look at your query. But if more than a few agents have read all or part of the book and then rejected, that means you'll want to take a serious look at the story itself before you decide what to do next.

Have you gotten any personalized feedback from agents or editors? Attending conferences and paying for critiques can give you a lot of insight into how your writing comes across to professionals.

Have you worked with a critique group or experienced beta readers? Even the best, most experienced writer can miss things. Thrillers need tight plots with no holes, and it usually takes a fresh pair of eyes to spot them.

As far as you can't believe there are 1000 unpublished novels out there better than yours...well. Wow. That, my friend, is a bit more than a healthy ego. That's someone in serious need of a reality check.
Sorry I missed your post. To answer your serious questions, no -- I don't think my query has gotten past anyone, which means I need to work on it. I've submitted it to SYW, along with a couple of examples of my writing.

I appreciate you taking the time to respond and suggest some things that will help, and I hope my ego won't get in the way of saying thank you. If it does, just elbow it out of the way, because the thanks are sincere. :-)
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Old 02-28-2011, 06:52 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freelancemomma View Post
Just wanted to say hi, I hear you and I can relate. I've been working as a freelance writer (magazine, newspaper and a bunch of other stuff) for 16 years. Knock on wood, I've approached or reached a six-figure income in many of those years. I've won 6 national magazine-writing awards. I've also written two nonfiction books, one of which won an award.

I recently finished my first novel and started submitting it. So far I've got a few nibbles and several rejections. Quite honestly, after the first rejection I was shocked! I was deluded enough to think that my novel was so fresh and well written that nobody could resist it.

Since then I've had the book beta-read and come to realize it needs a fair bit of pruning and some serious fact-checking. This website has given me much-needed perspective on the whole fiction submission scene. As someone on this board said, "getting your fiction published isn't a sprint, it's a marathon."

The upshot is that I've developed two more novel ideas I'm really excited about. I'll also continue plugging away at the first one.

I'm sure you're a very good writer. You sound like one. It's just a damned competitive business and the stars don't always line up on the first (or 100th) try.

Good luck and stick around.

Freelance
Thanks for the encouragement. I appreciate it. :-)
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:50 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by alleycat View Post
I'm not a big fan of UK basketball, but I wouldn't kill a wildcat and send it to them.
What you got against United Kingdom basketball? I lived there for several years, and those people can't play basketball worth a crap.
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Old 02-28-2011, 04:12 PM   #35
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What you got against United Kingdom basketball? I lived there for several years, and those people can't play basketball worth a crap.
Apparently there is another Warren Zevon fan here ... love the nod to Werewolves of London.
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