Wednesday, February 10, 2010

For Those Thinking About Publication...

I'm probably not the best person to dispense advice on how to get published, seeing as I'm not even close, but I'm going to give it a try anyway.

Last year, I sent out 25 queries. I got 22 form rejections, one personalized rejection, 1 request for the first five pages (I know, it didn't make sense to me, either), and one request for a partial. Then I got a form rejection for the partial. That's a 4.34% success rate. So the batting average for 2009 was Not Good. I got the names of AgentQuery, and it said that all of them were seeking new clients.

This year, I sent out four query letters to agents I found here. So far, I've heard back from two agents, and both were requests for fulls. That's a 100% success rate. 2010 is on fire.

Here's the clincher. I didn't change my query letter, and I've made only minimal changes to my book. All I changed was the recipients of my query letter. I started sending to people who really want new clients. Judging by the numbers, that makes all the difference.

To wit: only query agents who really want to be queried!

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Sad Saga of the Permanantly Clear Desk

Last October, with NaNo bearing down on me, I thought I'd take charge of my desk and put it in order, once and for all. This article from Zen Habits seemed appealing, so I decided to start there. I started out with the best of intentions. I sorted all my stuff into three piles and got rid of the bits of novel notes and weird little maps I hadn't used since the middle of November of 2005. It really did help keep my mind clear. I could find exactly what I wanted when I wanted it. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever.

Stuff started to creep up over time, in small increments. I think it started in earnest when I grabbed a piece of scrap paper to work out a math problem, and then wrote a phone number on it, then wrote "e-mail Emily" or something on it. Then I realized I needed a separate piece of scrap paper to keep notes about the novel I was working on at the time. Then I left my watch on my desk with the idea of using my nice clean(ish) desk as a vanity and putting it on the next morning. The watch disappeared under a pile of papers and I couldn't find it the next morning. I haven't been on time in months.

The final death knell was Christmas. First I thought it'd be okay to leave a few gifts I needed to wrap on my desk until I could get to them. Most of them made their way to their intended recipients, but one (a stamp with a robot saying 'Hi' on it) I decided would be happier with me. Then I left some gifts that I'd gotten on my desk. It's February and they're still there.

It's only gone downhill from there. I started leaving books on my desk and now it's just one big pile of novels. I also installed Windows Seven (I know, I know, but it's working so far), so all my CD-ROMs are everywhere. And there's an envelope with nothing inside of it and the words "Secret Agent Velocioraptor" written on the outside. I have no idea what it's for, but I'm terrified to throw it away in case Secret Agent Velocioraptor comes to collect. My desk is worse than ever before.

Such is life.