Monday, February 15, 2010

Pence for Your Thoughts

Good-morning gentle readers, Happy Monday. It's a holiday so I'm hoping you are doing something relaxing.

I got the chance last week to talk to an agent (yes, one of those who has my partial -- although not about the partial). He maintained that my web-presence needed to be more than what it is, that I needed to be more in tune with my genre and the other writers who are writing Regency/romance, instead of just blogging around and ranting and writing about how I can't write because the Monster Baby is driving me up the wall. And I agree.

So I will now be including things like -- how I write -- helpful hints and tips --stuff from the Regency era -- excerpts - with (hopefully) more of a formal fashion. I've begun taking notes and accumulating links. I think it will be kind of fun, you can see what writing "Austen-ian prose" is like, dearest.

And if you know any other Regency/romance writers, send them over, or tell me who they are so I can scope them out . I feel like I'm the only one writing this, amidst all you YA, paranormal, literary types and I'm lonely. For my own kind. That's not a slur on any of you, I LOVE you guys. You TOTALLY ROCK.

Any-hoo on to Query Tally Stats. As of today, February 15 -- 16 out, 2 form rejections, 2 partial requests. 2 we'll get back to you when we do. It is somewhat daunting to know I might have to wait months for anything else to come back however, now I can work on Richard & Amanda's story.

Speaking of which, as I worked on it last week, I noticed I was going further afield than I wanted to with the plot line. It's a great plot, lots of twists, but I found as I was researching, this was taking over the whole book. So I had to put a stop to it. So I stopped writing. And thought, and thought, and thought. I had a semi-aha moment where I could bring it back around, but I have to work out all the details. Don't you hate that? Getting bogged down in details. UGH! (More on this to come Tuesday. I finally figured out how to schedule a post and so spent all day Sunday writing them while cruising around checking out the blogfest entries. Great fun.)

I've also posted three sights on my sidebar that should be helpful if you find yourself in need of critiques -- no pressure. Rick Daley's The Public Query Slushpile, which is an excellent place to get help for the much needed query letter. (Rick's sight takes a lot less time and is a lot less brutal than the other two sights for queries I've seen and tried to use which I won't mention by name because I don't trash anyone on my blog). The people at TPQSP are very nice and always respectful and they have quite a few people whose advice I respect. Rick also has a critique exchange blog started for those of you who are looking for a critique partner for chapters or whole books -- any genre. critxchange. And our own Kristi Faith has a critique exchange program Critter Corner for those of you who need help -- although I think hers is for YA -- Kristi, want to jump in here. So go take a look.

I also did find out, this IS the year of the Tiger. Of which I am. A Tiger I mean, according to the Chinese Calendar. As this only comes around once every twelve years, I am very pleased it is FINALLY happening. I have had the most dreadful last twelve years, (with the exception of my daughter) although I'm sure this also has to do with Saturn who has been in misalignment, or realignment or whatever it is he does to mess up my life. So now, Saturn is leaving whichever house of mine he's been screwing with (for the last 5 or 6 years), and I'm finally having my year. Hopefully this will mean what I think it does, but not wanting to jinx myself, I'm not saying what you know I want to say. Starts with a C ends with a T, 8 letters, legal term....

So gentle readers, now that I've blogged long enough about nothing, let me ask you these questions: Do you think your blog should follow a formalized writing schedule with your genre as its main focus, or should it be fun until you publish your first book? Do you think you should publish excerpts of your current works in progress on your blog -- or do you think that takes away from the work itself? How many of you have beta readers and how many readers do you have? How many do you think are necessary?


Kristi Faith said...

Thanks for the shout out!! Critter Corner is for any writer!! :) Fiction or non, Picture book to contemporary to literary! My hope is to have a large variety of helpful writers be a part of it so that anyone could find help.

I like your blog and the personal aspects you add to it. I think you should have a fine line of balance. I have posted excerpts from WIPs, though not often. Beta readers...I'll take as many as I can get :0)

Piedmont Writer said...

Anytime Kristi. Thanks, I like your blog too. Yeah, I try to balance but some days, not so much. And now I know how to do linkage, I've got you linked up on my sidebar.

sarahjayne smythe said...

Well, I've tried to envision my blog as a balance between writing/writer talk and excerpts/snippets even though currently it looks like a lot of word vomit I've tossed up whilly-nilly meeting challenges. When the Nine Muses challenge is finished this week, I think I'm going back to some more mundane posts. :)

As far as betas go, I've got three of four who are my default go-to readers. I'll probably try to expand that to a crit group as I go along and as I find one that fits my needs.

I think I've always heard that publishing snippets and excerpts is a good thing for a writer as it helps to build an audience. But I might be mistaken. :)

Tara said...

Well, I'm with you in feeling amidst a sea of YA writers, it's mostly what I've come across in the blogs. Though, I'm not with you on the Regency since I'm Romantic Suspense (contemporary at that). With Roulette leaning far toward Romantic. The next one is much more Suspense, however.

I agree with Kristi in that I enjoy the personal aspect of most of the blogs I read (which is growing leaps and bounds daily--who knew there were so many awesome, creative, witty fellow writers out there?!). In fact, if I hit on a purely informative/writing biz only site (unless it's an agent blog and intentional, of course) my eyes glaze over a bit and I don't go back as often--unless I'm seeking some particular advice.

Obviously, I do put exerpts on my blog. I worry a little about copy-cats (I know someone that happened to through my fave website), but Roulette has SO many twists and turns, nobody could figure them out through what I post. Plus, I'm close to querying--just need to get off my procrastinating (and freaked out) butt and do it, really.

I have 6 beta readers--only 2 have finished the whole thing. One of which gives the standard I love it response mostly with a few bits of critique. The other was awesome, detailed and really helped me to see where my writing worked and where it fell flat--or needed tightening. The others are in various stages of reading, but if I ask them to read/do a specific thing, they will do so right away (see my awesome friends post ;) ).

Go Tiger ;-)

Shelley Sly said...

Having just started my blog, I originally had a clear vision of what kind of content I wanted to include, but I think my ideas are expanding.

I started out with the theme of "stories found in everyday life", which I'll continue to use as my theme, but with quite a bit of off-topic chatter. ;)

As far as how formalized my blog is... it's not at all. The one thing I do refrain from is too much about my personal life. I share stories here and there about things I've experienced, but I'm not a daily diary type person.

I've actually tried to tie in my blog with my manuscripts through voice. Though my main characters all have different narrative voices, and different from my own blogging voice, I'd like to think that there's a common thread (me!) that makes us all similar. So hopefully if readers find my blog amusing, they'll like my books.

Davin Malasarn said...

It's very exciting to see you transitioning yourself to a more professional writer! I honestly have no idea how important stuff like this is. I try to remind myself to just have fun and do what I want, but I also can't separate my wants from my goals all the time. Thanks also for keeping us posted on your submissions and conversations! It seems great that you are talking to one of the agents that has your partial! Isn't that a good sign?? :)

Simon C. Larter said...

Oh, my. That's an interesting thought, that you should be establishing yourself in your genre with your blog. Perhaps that's true of fairly specific genres like regency romance, where it might not be, so much, for YA paranormal or straight literary, to name a couple.

The thing is, if you're trying to regency-ify your blog, it might get to be too much like work. It should be fun too, right? I guess there has to be a balance. Best of luck finding that!

Piedmont Writer said...

Sarah Jayne -- I love "word vomit" and your writing is anything but. I love the Muse challenges you've been doing.

Tara -- I hear you on the copy-cat thing but I've also heard that once you write it, you own it, copyright infringement is a no-no and is legitimized by the blog (if you should post it there.) You have plagerism rights on your side.

Shelley -- I've been blogging since last October and have finally gotten the hang of it so don't feel pressure to do anything other than what you've been doing. I'm only formalizing because I'm at the point now where I think it would be appropriate, and the agent recommended it as a good idea.

Davin -- Thanks, it is kind of exciting to be talking to a real live agent even if it's not about my partial. Makes me feel

Simon -- I've actually thought about the whole genre thing a lot lately, and with the agent talk, it just made the decision a lot easier. I hear you about the work but as I said, I figured out to shedule the blogs and writing them on Sunday is a fairly easy proposition for me. I've got TONS of material and tons of ideas. You should definitely stop by tomorrow and take a gander at my drafting post. It's full of malt liquor.

glnroz said...

Thanx for letting me visit. I came upon your site by "jumping" from comments. I am an old codger that is hesitant to throw my personal "stuff" out on the porch and most of my posts are short short stories but it seems more comment come from personal posts. That to me has an unsolved riddle to it. Thnx again.

Piedmont Writer said...

Glnroz -- anytime you want to stop by, come on over. Coffee's always on.

Nicole Ducleroir said...

Hi! First, I think it's great of you to pass along what the agent said about web presence. The reason I began blogging a few months ago was because a woman in the biz said in a newsletter that she doesn't consider signing an unpublished author who doesn't have an established blog or website. It makes sense that taking a chance on an unknown author may seem less of a marketing risk if that writer has a verifiable "following" of regular readers.

I would say my work falls under Literary Fiction. I'd love to find more writers from that genre across the blogosphere [anyone reading this -- follow me, I'll follow you!! :))]. However, when your book goes to print, I'm going straight to B&N and buying a copy. Same for Roni's book over at Fiction Groupie, Sarah's from Falen Formulates Fiction, Natalie Bahm's, Julie Dao's...etc. My new blogging buddies, regardless of their genre, will get a solid sale from me! So, whether my followers are Lit. Fi. writers, Regency writers, YA, Paranormal...(and granted, a professional agent may not follow my line of thinking here)...I don't think it matters.

As far as a certain blog formula goes, I think regularly posting snippets of my work-in-progress will lead to more loyal readers. I know other bloggers have earned my loyalty that way. I look forward to reading their posts, being in awe of their talent, and cheering them along their creative writing roads. I also like to blog about my own writing process, and being instructional when I feel I have something about the craft to share with other writers.

Personally Anne, one of the reasons I love reading your posts each day is because your voice is so personable, often humorous, and always demonstrates your incredible talent as a writer. As far as that, I don't think you need to change a thing!

Great post, as always!!
((hugs)) Nicole

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

That's so interesting that the agent said that. Hmm. I have no idea if I'm speaking to my genre on my blog since I stick mostly to writing topics. Last week I blogged about whether or not I should have an actual website in addition to the blog, but most commenters said to wait until you have an agent or deal before doing the formal website. *shrug* I dunno what the answer is.

And I know how you feel about being alone in your genre. Most of my bloggy friends seem to be YA or Literary whereas I am contemporary romance.

As for excerpts, I share a few from my current WIP for blogfests and such. But for the one I'm querying and entering in contests, I don't post anything (and have removed any previous excerpts that may have been out there) because contest rules state that it can't be published anywhere (which can include the internet) so I"m careful.

And lastly, beta readers. I have a crit group with three other members, and I find that three is a good number of people to look over things. Occasionally I exchange with other betas, but that's rare.

Lady Glamis said...

Do you think your blog should follow a formalized writing schedule with your genre as its main focus, or should it be fun until you publish your first book?

I think a blog should reflect the writer, first and foremost. A blog should be fun and informative, inviting and helpful, I think. I think after publication most people should be going to your writing site, and if they are more interested in you as a person, they can visit your blog where you can be a little more yourself. Never be afraid to be yourself!

Do you think you should publish excerpts of your current works in progress on your blog -- or do you think that takes away from the work itself?

I've never been big in publishing excerpts of my work on the internet. When I do, I usually take it down a few weeks later.

How many of you have beta readers and how many readers do you have? How many do you think are necessary?

I've been a beta reader for several writers. I've had over 30 betas (that's not smart, by the way), and I think only about 3 or 4 are necessary when you've got the right ones. Sometimes not even that many.

Thanks for all these updates! I think you're doing such a great job with your blog. You know much I enjoy your writing and your journey. Please know I'm always here when you need.

Piedmont Writer said...

Nicole -- Awwww shucks, you make me blush with all your praise. Thank you. And I love your blog too. I especially loved today's post. I think we, as writer's, need to have some kind of presence, unless you have a bajillion personal friends for word-of-mouth. The truth is, I follow other writer's who have different genre's from my own, because they have different ways of crafting, and viewing their work, allows me to "hear" their voice. That's really important. But I just one somebody who's in my genre. Bounce ideas off about the whole "Austen-ian prose" thing. It's really hard to write sometimes.

Roni -- I think blogging is the way to go until we get published, then it's anybody's guess what an agent wants us to do. Like Nicole said, better to have some kind of presence than not. Geez, I'll have to take down some of my excerpts then. I never thought of that. I have to find me some beta's. Or at least a crit partner. But I'm so afraid.

Michelle -- Yeah, I think so too. A web-site is for readers, a blog site is for writer's. at least that's how I look at it. Thanks Glam, I'm waiting with breath held until you tell me the Butterflies are in Nathan's hands.

Falen said...

ugh i know how you feel regarding your genre and blogs. It seems whereever i look it's YA, granted a lot of it is paranomal YA, but still. I've yet to really find any other Fantasy writer blogs and i wish i could.

I wouldn't even know really how to go about aligning my blog with my genre, so i guess i'll cross that bridge when i'm a little farther along.
As it is, i've drummed up a surprising amount of followers in a short time so who knows? i must not be super boring.

Also i have to straight up agree with you regarding this year. It's not even march yet, and things have gone out of control great for me. I just have a good feeling it's going to keep up throughout the year

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

Anne, hope you find some betas you can trust. Getting in a crit group was, by far, the best thing I've ever done for my writing.

If you can't find bloggy friends that write in your genre, you can go to some of the message boards on the romance sites or over at Harlequin to find people. Or, join your local RWA group if you haven't already done that. Or, go to local writer's conferences--I always meet great people at those. Good luck!

Piedmont Writer said...

Sarah -- True, I don't think I've seen any other fantasay blogs in my blogging around the sphere. And no you are not boring. I love Fridays and Yvie, she's soooo cute. If mine could meet her we'd be in a world of doggy hurt. You have a lot of interesting things to say which is why I swing by almost every day. Yeah man, year of the Tiger, I keep hearing that crazy 'Rocky' theme song in my head. Only good things are coming, only good things, for all of us.

Roni -- Yeah, I should go to message boards. I am on a yahoo group sight but have had very bad luck with them. RWA would be great if I could afford it, that and conferences. I'd LOVE to go to a conference. But again, lack of money. Someday when the contract comes and I can be sure of a nice (hell, any kind of) advance, that'll be the first thing I do. They'll probably throw me out I'll be such a pain in the ass.

Erin Kuhns said...

Hi Anne,

I've just read this post and all of the comments with great interest. I find that it's opening my eyes to some perspectives I hadn't thought of. My blog is definitely a blend of writing AND personal stuff. I feel like I'm still figuring out my own angle and how I am building my own presence in this web-world. So reading about what others are doing and how they are focusing on their own presence is helpful for me.

Thank you!!!!

Piedmont Writer said...

Erin -- Anytime. That's what we're here for. said...

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