Monday, August 30, 2010

Here's a query...

Today I wanted to share my query letter with you. I've made a major revision on this story, thanks to an agent's suggestion, and I'm getting ready to send out some query letters. I know we all hate the old query letter, but any suggestions would be appreciated. Here's where we are so far.

Dear Agent:

People disappear in the bayou. And that’s exactly what thirteen-year-old Robin Sherwood needs to do — before her Uncle Conrad snips her toes off with his trusty rusty garden nippers. Forget tetanus. Getting to the bayou is going to be a real challenge if that happens.

When her parents’ private plane disappears in the swamp, Robin’s uncle moves in as trustee of the multi-million dollar Sherwood Estate. It doesn’t take long for Robin to figure out there’s something not quite right about Uncle Conrad — besides having a metal claw where his left hand used to be. But his obsession with The Lone Ranger and the fact that he knows every episode by number? That’s just weird.

Weird changes to crazy when he explains the bizarre game he has planned — a game that will leave Robin dead and Uncle Conrad the sole heir to the Sherwood fortune. In order to escape his devious plan and its deadly consequences, the bayou may be Robin’s only chance. It’s a risky choice, but becoming alligator bait seems a lot less terrifying right now than what’s waiting for her in the cellar.

LOST IN THE BAYOU is a 46,000-word upper MG thriller. It comes complete with a younger brother, a rusty lunchbox, and little bag of blueberries. I would be happy to send the full manuscript for your consideration.

Thank you, and I look forward to your reply.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sharing Your Work

Today I'm going to list a couple of sites that I've found very helpful and exciting. Both of them can provide you, the writer, with a good vehicle for sharing your work and getting feedback and encouragement.

The first site is called Authonomy. It's sponsored by Harper Collins. Here's how it works:

You upload your book, or however much of it you wish to upload. Readers (I'm guessing most of them are also writers) judge what you've submitted and either put it on their "bookshelf," add it to their "watchlist," or "back it." There's some type of mysterious mathematical process that takes place behind the scenes that moves your book ranking up or down based on the reader responses. If your submission does well, it will move to the "editor's desk" where Harper Collins agents take a look. I'm not familiar with the complex details of how things actually work, but it's been fun watching the progress of my beloved Star Wishes. In fact, I've enjoyed it so much that I just uploaded a few chapters from Cannibal Island. It's especially encouraging to read the comments from the reviewers.

The other site is called WeBook. It works a little differently, but it seems to be based on the same principle of popularity among readers. I'll mention first off that there's a $3.95 fee for submission at the WeBook site. If that's not a problem, the area you want to go to is called PageToFame. The first round involves uploading your hook (like your one-sentence pitch), plus the first 250 words (or less, depending on where 250 words ends up.) The whole idea is to hook the reader. (Remember our drawn out discussions on that in the past?)

Readers rate the submissions. It's random, and there's no way to send your friends to the site to give you good ratings. It's the luck of the draw as to what excerpts come up for rating. If you do well, you move to the second round, where you go from 250 words to submitting a five-page sample. The same rating process takes place and, eventually, you may be asked to submit the entire manuscript. Many agents (most of whom you're probably familiar with) have volunteered to work with writers on this site.

Check both sites out and see what you think. You might enjoy the excitement of watching your work move up in the rankings on both sites. As always, any comments are always welcome here. Feel free to chime in below.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Give up? No way.

Since last posting on this blog, I've received a nice email from Linda at The McVeigh Agency on Death in the Bayou. It wasn't quite right for them. That's fine, and I'm dealing with it. We've all learned that rejections are not personal attacks on our writing ability, and one size does not necessarily fit all. Besides, there are still a couple of partials and at least two fulls out to other agents. So, hope remains that one of those agents will find enough interest to offer representation. What about you? We'd love to hear your story and your current situation in the submission game.

I'm sure you're wondering what I plan on doing if the other submissions wind up with the same result? Funny you should ask. I've been thinking lately about turning my attention and efforts into an even better novel that's waiting to be written. It's getting anxious, actually. I may just let it sit on the back burner and simmer a bit for a few months. In November, Nanowrimo is coming up again. If you've never been involved with that program, you should check it out this year. Don't put it off any longer.

That's about it for this time. Leave a comment and tell us what's going on in your writing career. We'd love to hear about it.