Professional Edit

This is what a manuscript looks like after a professional editor gets through with it.

 Pitts edits visible

I met Jami Carpenter at the Las Vegas Writers Convention and sent her these first few pages of my manuscript. Keep in mind this is after I have gone over the work, over and over again. I don’t know if it means I am a bad writer or if she is a good editor. I have to tell you she is pretty awesome so maybe I am not that bad.

If you are interested in an editor she can be found at www.redpengirl.com I highly recommend her.

Las Vegas Writers Convention Part 1

11:45 AM Thursday.

Vegas baby!

While Las Vegas is an old haunt of mine it is still a glittering gem that never fails to captivate even the most jaded of observers. I am at the convention taking a break for lunch in the Sam’s Town Casino. No true Nevadan gets distracted by flashing lights or buzzers but even I have to admit Sam’s Town has come a long way from the old truckstop/RV park/locals casino out on the fringe it used to be. It has all the waterfalls, animatronics, and flare you’d expect to see in any of the bigger strip casinos and it is no longer out on the edge of the city, thanks to urban sprawl and the expansion of Vegas’ ungainly little sister, Henderson.

I signed in this morning and was pleased to be able to schedule an appointment with every agent I wanted to talk to. Already this is going better than BEA. The people running the convention are super friendly, the rooms accommodating, and the schedule interesting.

I was given a nice bag full of goodies and introduced to several people. I am feeling a bit like an old dog now that I have attended a few conventions. I’m not as nervous as some of the people I’ve met seem, but I remember clearly feeling the way they do.

Well sadly Sam’s Town doesn’t have WiFi yet, (so in that way they still are a bit behind the times) so I’ll have to post this when I get back to Nan’s tonight.

My lunch is here, Stay tuned for more.

10:00 pm

Home after the conference. Loving it met several agents and authors at dinner. I am really enjoying the intimate setting of this convention.

Tchuss

Lystra

Published in: on April 16, 2010 at 12:01 am  Comments Off on Las Vegas Writers Convention Part 1  
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Smashwords and Authonomy

I am always thinking of publishing Midnight in Vegas on various eBook websites like Smashwords or Authonomy. The only reason I haven’t done it is that I worry that it might hurt my chances of being published by conventional publishers. I have read that some publishers like to see an author has published on these sites and is already marketing the book and others don’t like it and will actually refuse to publish a book that already is in eBook format. They don’t want the competition.

So here I am on the fence.

What to do?

Personally I like the idea of publishing on Smashwords. People can download the book on a bunch of formats and read it on Stanza (an App for iPhones, iPods and eventually iPads), Kindles, PC’s or Blackberries. Another benefit is you can set the price for your work on Smashwords. I can actually make money on the book. But I hate the idea of some “real” publisher not buying my book because it is on there.

I still don’t know.

So I thought I would put up a poll. What do you think I should do?

Published in: on February 16, 2010 at 5:57 pm  Comments Off on Smashwords and Authonomy  
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All Star Week

That is right folks. I have declared this week to be all star week. I will be sending out my next wave of queries to the all stars of literary agents. The famous blogging agents. You know ’em, you love ’em you read their blogs religiously (if you are an aspiring writer anyway). This week I am sending queries to the following big name agents:

Janet Reid the infamous query shark herself

Nathan Bransford

Jonathan Lyons

Kristen Nelson

And I would send one to Rachelle Gardner but she isn’t interested in Science Fiction and Fantasy.

These wonderful people write fantastic blogs. Every writer should subscribe to them. They have helped me understand the publishing industry and I am excited about sending them queries. I don’t really expect to get much back. These people are the rock stars of the aspiring writer world (Janet Reid’s line at BEA Pitch Slam was at least twenty miles long) and get bombarded with queries and attention. I don’t know if my query is good enough to stand out. I do know that I owe these people a shot at my book, after all the help they have given me.

Tchuss

Lystra

And the beat goes on.

So, my request for full wasn’t an exclusive request for full so after much debating I am going to continue to send out queries. This was a hard decision for me. I want to honor the agent who first sent me the request but I have to be realistic. This is a say no, ask questions later type industry. Odds are that I will get a rejection on my MS so I have to keep playing the field until I get a solid strike, if I don’t this could be up to twelve weeks of wasted time.

So I plan on sending out my next wave of queries this week. I am shooting for around six queries a month. My hope is that if I get any feedback I can use it and not have to re-query anyone.

Tchuss

Lystra

Published in: on February 1, 2010 at 4:20 pm  Comments Off on And the beat goes on.  
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Ready to Submit

Here is a run down of my life since Saturday.

Saturday- Recieve request for manuscript. Happy dance. Call family and friends. More happy dancing.

Sunday- Printed manuscript. bought red pencil and a starbucks (which I intend to write off if I get published.) Selected Warren Zevon on the iPhone, hit shuffle then play. Started reading manuscript to make sure it was totally ready for submission. Read until 10:00 pm

Monday- Went to work, came home read until 10:00 pm

Tuesday- Went to work, came home and finished reading. Started converting red pencil marks into digital form. Worked until 9:00 pm…passed out.

Wednesday- Finished correcting manuscript. Wrote new synopsis (Agent wanted a shorter one.) Re-wrote Bio. Reformated everything to agent’s very detailed specificatitions. Composed email to send it. Paused.

I am not sending it until tomorrow morning.

Giving myself a good night’s sleep and fresh eyes to look at the synopsis and bio one more time before I send it off.

Put Warren Zevon on the iPhone, select Keep Me in Your Heart, hit play.

Good Night.

Lystra

ps New bio is on the about lystra page if you want to read it.

Done reading my MS

Meanwhile I finished re-reading my MS for submission. There is a world of difference between thinking you are ready for submission and knowing you have to submit. Reading my MS, knowing that an agent is going to be reading it shortly put a whole new light on my work.

I enjoyed reading my MS. It has been a long time since I’ve just sat down and read it, so I saw it in a different light than before. I liked it. No, I loved it. I am extremely proud of it. A novel is more work than anyone who hasn’t written one knows. A novelist has a lot to think about while he is writting. He has to have more than just the scene he is writing in his head. He has to work with the pacing and the plot for the entire novel in each sentence he writes. He has to be aware of the larger story, even when writing the smallest parts. Reading my story after so long made me realize that I accomplished that goal. The story works well, the plot unfolds with just the right amounts of twists to keep the reader guessing. That is no mean task. I finished reading my MS last night and had to smile. It was a lot of work, but a job well done.

Now if I can just make somebody in the publishing industry to see that.

Tchuss

Lystra

Another Rejection

Jennifer Jackson sent me a really nice rejection letter. Much better than the first one, which simply said: Not interested thanks. Jennifer said that she wasn’t sure the book was for her and wished me good luck finding representation. Very nice. 

It helps that I have somebody interested to blunt the blow.

Printing it out and putting it in the file. Definately a keeper.

Tchuss

Lystra

Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 11:23 am  Comments Off on Another Rejection  
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Snicker-Snack

I received my first rejection letter yesterday. Bummer. The major problem with my current querying method is that I am really, really attached to the agents I am sending my query to. By the time I am done researching them I feel like I know them. I have read their bios, subscribed to and read their blogs and even followed them on Twitter. So it hurts a little bit more than some random stranger rejecting you.

Still, rejection is just a part of writing. A major part. I was almost excited about getting my first rejection letter…almost. I feel like it is a rite of passage that all writers must endure. I decided this morning to use the rejection to inspire me instead of depress me.

With that inspiration supercharging me I decided to tackle the biggest problem with my manuscript. It is too long. 125,000 words is too long for a first novel. I read it all over the place, nearly every blogging agent has posted about word count somewhere or another. All of them say the maximum is 120,000, several even put it down to 100,000. I decided I needed to get my MS down below 120k. That meant cutting 5,000 words (approximately 20 pages) off my story. That is a lot. I have been loath to do this because in order to cut that many words I would have to cut entire scenes. I have already gone through my MS to remove unnecessary adjectives, redundant descriptions, or any other little adjustments I could make. That wasn’t enough to get my word count down.

So this morning I went all Lizzie Borden on my MS. I pulled out my vorpal sword and went snicker snack. Hacking off scenes like a madman, I discovered that it was as bad as I thought it would be. After a few bloody moments I had a new and improved shorter manuscript. I am now at 118k! For those of you who have read my manuscript, don’t despair, I still have the original version (Saved As “Midnight in Vegas-the Director’s Cut”) just in case. I still like my longer version better than the shorter version but I think the shorter version still works and is more attractive to agents and publishers.

My big problem now is to find a reader who hasn’t read the original to tell me if the story still works. Anyone who has read it will automatically fill in the missing scenes and won’t have any questions on why this or that happened.

I need a fresh reader who has no idea what they are missing.

I need a fast reader who can get me some feedback quick so I can modify my query and submit my leaner and meaner MS.

Any volunteers?

Tchuss

Lystra

Published in: on January 23, 2010 at 6:58 pm  Comments Off on Snicker-Snack  
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The scene in my head

Jennifer Jackson tossed her third Starbucks into the trash as she got into the elevator. Her hands were barely shaking anymore as she hit the button for her floor. Today is the day she thought grimly, the elevator lurching into motion made her jump a little. She had stopped taking query letters until January 15, 2010 and today was that day. She was sure when she got into her office the InBox would be full of hopeful letters sent by desperate fools. Her job was to sift through the muck and pull out the nuggets of talent and skill then process the raw ore into fine pieces of jewelry for the world to observe and enjoy. The only problem was that the nuggets were rarer than gold.

The elevator dinged and Jennifer jumped, she took a Red Bull from her purse and popped the top, she still wasn’t ready. Guzzling the can she walked into the front office of the Donald Maass Literary agency. Donald was there waiting for her. He was always the first one in the office.

“Well, it’s begun.” He smiled and handed her a coffee.

Jennifer took a deep drink before responding. “How bad is it?”

“Hundreds, maybe thousands, I lost count.”

Jennifer made a face. “Really?”

“Afraid so.” Donald took the now empty coffee cup from Jennifer’s trembling hands and replaced it with a fresh one.

“Anything good?” She asked hopefully.

“Actually, yes, the first one you received. I liked it. You should read it.”

“The first one Donald?”

“Sent at the stroke of midnight, and the funny thing is I’ve met the author.”

“When?”

“At BEA last year. You know I usually don’t remember specific people from the thousands I meet at conventions each year, but I liked this guy. He came off really smart and funny too. I am happy to see he got his synopsis done. Of course I only talked to him for about five seconds but hey, some people stand out.”

“Well, I’ll have to read that one first.” Jennifer smiled. Perhaps today wasn’t going to be so bad after all.

I sent Jennifer Jackson a query last night at midnight her time. I hope reality matches what is going on in my head. I might be pushing it with Donald Maass remembering me, but who knows.

Tchuss

Lystra