Want A Book Deal? Dream Big, Expect Nothing, Give Everything

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
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vldepaul
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Joined: October 5th, 2010, 12:08 pm
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Want A Book Deal? Dream Big, Expect Nothing, Give Everything

Post by vldepaul » October 5th, 2010, 12:14 pm

Dream big, expect nothing, give everything.

Easy, huh?

Do you think I’m exaggerating? Well, maybe I am--at least about having to give everything all the time.

Make no mistake though—if you’re a writer seriously pursuing publication, sometimes you’ll feel like you’re giving everything to your writing--that you’re sacrificing your time, your health, your money, and even your happiness--to pursue your dream. Frankly, that might just be what it takes to get you published.

I’m speaking from experience. True, everyone’s journey is going to be different, but here’s what it took for me to get that wonderful, elusive, much-coveted first “call.”

VIRNA’S JOURNEY FROM BEGINNING HER FIRST STORY TO GETTING HER FIRST SALE
3 years, 2 months, 12 days
1169 days

MONETARY COST OF PURSUING PUBLICATION:

--Four Years Of National Romance Writers Of America (RWA) Dues: $340
--Four Years Of Membership Dues In Five Local RWA Chapters: $500
--Fees Paid For Over 50 Local RWA Chapter Meetings: $1000
--Three National RWA Conferences Attended: $3000
--Ten RWA Chapter Retreats or Conferences Attended: $4000
--Two Local Chapter Contests Entered (Placed “Second” in one): $50
--Three Golden Heart Entries (Never finaled): $150
--Workshop CDs From Two Prior National Conferences Ordered: $150
--One Group Blog Launched: $500
--One Website Designed And Launched: $500
--Various Domain Names Purchased: $200
--Five Full Manuscripts Requested – Several Printed & Snail Mailed: $100
--Ten Online Classes/Workshops Registered For: $500
--Various Agent, Editor, Author Critiques & Networking Opportunities Purchased via Auctions: $2000
--Money spent while writing at Starbucks: $200

Approximate Total: $15000

But getting to that sale didn’t come without an emotional price and personal sacrifice, too.

BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS:

--Nights I got up to write after midnight and before 5 a.m.: Countless (but I’ll guess approximately 100)
--Fights I got in with my spouse about “zoning out,” spending too much time on the computer, or not spending enough time with my family: Countless (but I’ll guess approximately 50)
--Number of times a family member asked me if I was published “yet” and how long I was going to write before I finally gave up: 10
--How many times I wondered if I should quit: 10
--4 full single title manuscripts (400,000 words) written
--2 full category manuscripts (120,000 words) written
--5 proposals (227,500 words) written
--1 NanoWriMo almost completed (45,000 words)
--2 board positions for local RWA chapter served
--6 in-person pitches to editors
--4 in-person pitches to agents
--8 email queries to agents
--2 editors who loved one of my manuscripts and would have bought but ultimately couldn’t
--2 offers of representation by agents
--1 agent switch
--40 submissions to editors via agent
--34 rejections by editors via agent (Never heard from the others)
--Some friends lost
--Challenges to personal relationships encountered
--35 pounds gained
--Number of times I cried while on the phone with my agent despite the fact I rarely cry: 1
--Number of times I apologized to my agent for crying while on the phone with her: 1

So was it all worth it?

--Number of fears I overcame or am working to overcome: Probably more than I know, but at least three (fear of flying, fear of never finding my passion, and fear that I’m not good enough to write a really good story that someone else would want to read).
--Friends made: Many
--Hours I’ve felt inspired, charged up, and like I’m finally meeting people I can relate to and doing what I’m meant to do: Many
--Genres I’ve written that I never thought I would/could but have discovered I actually write well: Three

GETTING THE CALL FROM MY AGENT THAT I SOLD: PRICELE…

Well, you know the answer to that one.

As writers, we are a unique breed.

Often, we are introverts who have to force ourselves to interact with others. We’re humble people who still believe we have something worthy to say to readers around the world. We’re horribly insecure but also gluttons for punishment.

In other words, we’re complex, passionate, and creative people who won’t survive our writing journey without the support of others, or without keeping our perspective, focus, and a sense of humor.

In conclusion, consider this:

You may be a writer if:

--You pay people to reject you (contests).
--People reject you for free (queries).
--You’re surprised when people don’t reject you.
--You proudly display your first rejection and often tell others about it (You probably use it to apply for “PRO” status if you belong to RWA).
--You curse when your workshop proposal is rejected.
--You panic when your workshop proposal is accepted.
--At a conference, you find yourself groveling for attention from someone you don’t even know but who everyone else seems determined to impress. You go up to your room to shower.
--If you write romance, your friends constantly elbow your husband and ask if
your book is based on reality.
--You check your email constantly for news on a submission and email yourself just to make sure it’s working correctly.
--You’ve experienced the worst insecurity and depression of your life because of writing but you still want to keep doing it.
--You think you’ll never write anything better than the story you just wrote.

Who would want to do anything else? Not me.

Down the well
Posts: 516
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 3:22 pm
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Re: Want A Book Deal? Dream Big, Expect Nothing, Give Everything

Post by Down the well » November 4th, 2010, 3:56 pm

vldepaul wrote:In conclusion, consider this:

You may be a writer if:

--You pay people to reject you (contests).
--People reject you for free (queries).
--You’re surprised when people don’t reject you.
--You proudly display your first rejection and often tell others about it (You probably use it to apply for “PRO” status if you belong to RWA).
--You curse when your workshop proposal is rejected.
--You panic when your workshop proposal is accepted.
--At a conference, you find yourself groveling for attention from someone you don’t even know but who everyone else seems determined to impress. You go up to your room to shower.
--If you write romance, your friends constantly elbow your husband and ask if
your book is based on reality.
--You check your email constantly for news on a submission and email yourself just to make sure it’s working correctly.
--You’ve experienced the worst insecurity and depression of your life because of writing but you still want to keep doing it.
--You think you’ll never write anything better than the story you just wrote.

Who would want to do anything else? Not me.
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Ha! I love it. Good list. And so true. Thanks for the post.

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