Monday, November 01, 2010

Changing and rearranging

I bought a little space heater and at first I wasn't sure it was a bargain. It smelled from the heat and the ceramic, but that went away. Then the automatic thermostat wouldn't work right unless I turned it all the way down, and then it did after using it for several days. And it gets very hot, hot enough to keep the furnace off even when it's on 60 degrees. It's good that something is going right for a change. It's about time.

After eight months spent on Authonomy, Harper Collins' website to work through the slush pile, and doing a lot of reading, critiquing and fending off evil people wanting me to back horrid books, Harper Collins decided to change the way things worked. I had moved up from the 10,000 range to 102 and November would mean finally breaking 100, down to 97. Imagine my shock when I signed onto the site after the retooling and found I had slipped to 538 and continued to fall throughout the day to 628. Books that had been on the site for less than 48 hours were on the editor's desk and I was languishing in the toolies. Not happy at all. I was devastated. After all, how should I feel after spending so much of my time and expertise reading and critiquing wretched dreck, and admittedly some few good books, to find I had lost so much ground. I nearly gave up.

After reading through the notes on the retooling and how the new algorithms work, I have finally inched up to 262 after nearly a week. I'm still not happy and the same old vultures are begging me to back their books and give them a boost, but that's all part of the game, and it is a game, of sorts, the game of getting noticed by a big publisher and getting published. Harper Collins doesn't take unagented manuscripts and I wanted to break into the UK market and HC in the US. It was the quickest way to do that since I haveommen queried fifteen agents and ten of them have turned me down. I'm still looking and submitting. At any rate, I've decided to give it another month and if things don't improve, I'm back to the old fashioned method of submitting by email and snail mail. After all, it's not any slower than the eight months it took me to get within striking distance of an actual editor and agent.

Tomorrow is November 1st, the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, or, as those of us who have participated call it, NaNoWriMo. I don't know if I have the time to do it this month. However, I do highly recommend it as a means to provide a deadline and a definite goal. It helps a lot and helps writers to budget their time and hit a very low target of fifty thousand words in 30 days. It's worth the effort. Check it out. There are a lot of good people, many of whom have been doing this for years, and there are probably a few in your neighborhood where you can get together to support each other. Give it a shot.

I did a book signing and reading in Denver yesterday with another Chicken Soup author and had quite a surprise. I have fans, not a lot, but a few. I think I might have even made a few new fans after the reading because they bought several other Chicken Soup books that contained my stories. One fan, a guy, asked me to sign a copy of my novel, Past Imperfect. He said he hoped I would write more romances that guys would enjoy. He was impressed with the characters and especially the female protagonist (that would be Diana) because she was strong and knew exactly what she wanted. He wanted to know what happened to Adrian and Logan before and after the book, but I couldn't tell him because I haven't written that yet. He especially liked the parts about flying and said I got them right. When I asked him how he knew, he said he knew a little bit about flying. I'll say he did. He was an Air Force pilot stationed at the Academy. Yes, he knew a little bit.

Every day is different, and everything changes. I am enjoying the changes, most of them, and look forward to the future -- as long as it does not include being chained to a desk 8-14 hours a day typing operative reports. Maybe I will give NaNoWriMo a whirl. There are worse things I can do with my time and I might just turn out another book some agent and publisher will be excited about publishing. Stranger things have happened.

That is all. Disperse.