Monday, March 17, 2008

I'M BAAAACK!!!!!!!!

But first, an announcement – In the comments section of my last post, some lovely writer gave me a head’s up on a new charity drive led by some of our favorite authors to benefit Autism Speaks Please take a little time to look through their website and see all they do.

The event is an eBay auction, where some very impressive authors have volunteered to name a character in their upcoming novels after the winning bidder. Bidding starts on March 23, 2008 and ends on April 2nd. Authors include such notable names as Lee Child, Jodi Picoult, and our very own Patricia Wood.

Visit their eBay site to learn more and see if some of your favorite authors are participating.

On to the Blog Post

I’m back to the blog-o-sphere... and you know what that means – my novel is finished!!!! I just completed it and reformatted to one doc over the weekend, and sent it out to a few very trusted beta readers for a second opinion. I am officially done – huzzah!!!

I’ve backed up all of my files on a disk and removed them from my computer so that I can’t just sift through it willy nilly any old time. I know me, I can’t leave it alone and I will keep reading and second guessing myself if it’s accessible, so I am officially on a break from it to gain fresh eyes before I re-read and start submissions.

In the interim, I’m taking this week and probably next week completely off of fiction writing. I’m getting ready for Easter and plan to spend next week’s school break enjoying my kids... I’ll also be enjoying some extended reading time (I read while I’m working anyway, but I don’t get long leisurely hours to do so in the throws of revision, so I’m looking forward to it). And of course, I’ll be back in the blog-o-sphere, catching up on all of the posts I’ve missed and bothering you all 

I plan on breaking from the work long enough to tweak some shorts and get them out in submission, and to start researching my next one – it’s historical fiction, so I plan on trying to really work within the constructs of an outline this time, and I think I’ll need a few months of heavy research time, just to get well acquainted with the time frame.

As for Raskin’s Wings, I already have my basic query letter and synopses in fairly good shape – I also have personalized it for my top five agents, and have put all of that aside pending my re-read. If it’s clean enough and not in need of any major editing at the re-read, I’ll start submissions immediately... If I find that I need major revisions, I’ll give it another cooling period once I’m done... many revisions make for tighter writing.... lest anyone think I just finished a book and am going to submit, Raskin’s has already been revised in total about nine or ten times... not to mention the chapters that took complete overhauls upwards of twenty times.

After this, I won’t be mentioning that work much, if at all, on this blog. I kind of feel like this blog can discuss the writing process, but I don’t want to delve too deeply into my own personal submissions. I might mention something larger, like I got a lot of the same feedback and am back in revisions... but otherwise, I’ll likely only mention it if something thrilling happens, like signing with an agent or getting a publishing deal.

Now, for the question of the hour – I’d love an opinion on this. I have my top agents picked out and have researched them as thoroughly as I can. Some of them, from what I’ve read on author boards, are prone to request exclusives when they request the ms. While I’ve read that they’re all fine with the author declining because the work is out elsewhere, I’m a little nervous about the scenario where, say, uber agent #1 requests an exclusive and I jump at the chance only to get a request from uber agent #2, who I have to decline... and if #1 passes, #2 will know it’s a rejection and won’t that taint their vision of the project?

So, while all of my research says it’s fine to send out multiple queries at a time, and the wait for response would be endless going one agent at a time, I’m still a little nervous about the process... anyone got any thoughts on this?


Kalynne Pudner said...

I'd say to send out multiple queries; if you get a request for a partial or full, exclusive, you can discuss it with your uber-agents at that point. RASKIN'S may be exponentially more wonderful than my LOADING, but I too had fretted over these soul-wrenching dilemmas of mutually exclusive requests. It was a waste of psychic energy. I do have a full and a couple of partials out, but none of the "exclusive submissions only" people were "enthusiastic enough to represent the project properly" (conglomerate paraphrase).

Don't worry; just query.

Sun Singer said...

Whatever you do, don't ask Miss Snark about exclusives!

Congrats on getting the book done and moving toward those wonderful, ya gotta love'em, agents.

Regardless of the Snark's opinion, I'd probably give the first agent who ask for it an exclusive for a set period and then tell the second agent to get in line. Otherwise, one ends up playing the prom dance thing where one ends up not going at all just for keeping everyone dangling out there.


WordVixen said...

1. What an awesome idea! And, it's one way to get to see your name in print. :)

2. Congratulations! Though Raskin's Wings is the one that I'm waiting for. You've got one guaranteed sale there! I loved the bits you've posted about.

3. All the agent blogs I've read have said the same thing- query widely, and notify anyone who has your query/partial/full if you've received an offer. Exclusives, supposedly should be limited to 1 week to 1 month. At least one agent said that an exclusive for more than 2 weeks is a bit excessive and that as little as "over the weekend" is common.

The Anti-Wife said...

Query widely and don't worry about the exclusive thing unless it comes up. By that time you may have partials or fulls out to several agents anyway and it'll be a moot point.

Did I hear someone just had a birthday?

Stephen Parrish said...

Multiple queries is a must; some agents won't respond at all, so if you wait for them the Cubs will win the World Series long before you get published.

Fewer and fewer agents request exclusives anymore, and I don't know of any "top" agents that do. They all assume you're querying widely, and some urge writers to do so. If you get such a request and someone's already reading your full, send the requested materials and politely explain their status. Chances are the person will be more interested knowing other parties are interested.

Mary Witzl said...

I read all this advice with great interest; I am in roughly the same position. I've been sitting on my completed manuscript for some months now, though it's taken all my willpower not to start querying right away. I've had two beta readers go over it, and now all I need to do is reread it myself, rewrite whole sections (inevitably), then start submitting it to agents.

'Don't worry; just query' sounds like good advice. Or as Lord Nelson said, 'Damn maneuvers; just go straight at 'em!'

Josephine Damian said...

Merry: My sainted Irish mother always remided me about "a bird in the hand" - this was usuallly referring to my dating two boys - :-O
so I say if an agent asks for an exclusive, say:
"Too late! It's already being read by other agents!" - even if it's not.

No exclusives - IMO, the type to ask for that are the type who will not agree to a time constraint, or if they do, will ask for an extension.

Erica Orloff said...

Query a bunch . . . and don't worry. Even an "exclusive" is for a set time period. If agent #2 asks for it after you've given an exclusive to agent #1, you just "play it like a big shot." "Oh, I got so much interest from the queries that one agent has an exclusive until such and such a date, but if he passes, I will let you know it's available."

It's not that common anymore, so I wouldn't worry too much. Just let that baby go play in the sandbox and see what happens!

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi everyone,

I'm seeing that the general consensus is query widely and either, A) cross that bridge when you come to it or B)don't give anyone an exclusive at any cost!!!!

I think I'll go with A at this point and if it never matters at all, I'll laugh at myself for obsessing over something so stupid :-)

Hi Kalynne,

That's it basically, you waste a lot of energy thinking of 'what ifs' because there is only so much you can control after the actual writing.

Thanks for stopping in.

Hi Malcolm,

How goes your submissions? Have you started queries yet or are you still letting it simmer?

Hi Wordvixen,

Yeah, isn't that great - go check out their ebay auction if you have time, the link is at the top of my post.

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Anti wife and Stephen,

Query widely... query widely... query widely...

I think I can do that...

And yes, birthday was sunday, it was nice and even nicer because the whole ms was already off to beta readers... it's an odd feeling to be completely finished with something that I've been working on so long.

Hi Mary,

Look at that, we're right on the same page!!!! I like that advice, too, straight up the middle it is.

Hi Josie,

Thanks for dropping in, no exclusives... You're Irish and Italian? Wow, just wow... I bet your temper's as bad as mine is...

Hi Erica,

Yes, at this point in fielding comments, I'm feeling a little silly for even worrying over it... query widely, no exclusives... get to act like a big shot... check.

Thanks for stopping in.

Angela WD said...

Wow, I just learned a bunch from this post. I've gotta hang around you guys more often!

Jerseygirl89 said...

I have no advice, just a congratulations and I'm glad you're back!

SUV MAMA said...

Congratulations on getting it done!!!

Have a happy Easter with the family.

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Angela,

Great to see you and glad you enjoyed it!

Hi Jersey,

Thank you!!! Hang in there with the visitors from hell.


Thanks for stopping in and Happy Easter to you and yours.

Ello said...

Don't worry just send them out! And I'm so happy for you! You know what I will be doing on Friday, right? Reading something special!

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Ello,

Hopefully it'll be a nice break from all those papers you've been reading!!!

I can't wait to get your opinion on it... honestly, I'm a little impressed that I'm actually giving it the breathing room - I've got an itchy finger on the query button I'm so dying to get on to submissions... but I think it's better this way, to get a few other opinions and make sure it's as clean as possible before sending it out.

Thanks again for reading and I can't wait to get your next few chapters!!!

ChristineEldin said...

I hope you're still reading this thread, but I wanted to wish you a heartfelt congratulations! It's a good feeling to complete a product you've worked so long and hard on.
Here's looking for that contract soon!!

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Christine,

Thank you!!! I've just gotten some feedback from the lovely ello and am still waiting for my two other beta readers... I'm already thinking there are some revisions yet, and mulling how to do it, but I'll wait until they're done to give it the final read and fix whatever I need to... might be another few weeks to let it sit after, before submission... not sure yet, it depends how much re-writing I do or if it's all deletion/tweaking wording...

urghhh, this is a long process, isn't it.

I ramble, mostly because I'm itching to get it out there, but know better than to send unless it's 100% the best I can do.

Sun Singer said...


The first query is finally out the door.