Right now I'm listening to a podcast put together by Litopia. It's really one of the best writing sites I've ever found. One of their podcasts I find kinda boring, but two of them are REALLY educational. They have a lot of advice (which I've heard before, but it's great to get reminded of on a regular basis). Seriously, whether you have a publishing contract, or you're still looking for an agent, check them out.
A piece of advice that I've heard several times from different people, is that the best way to find an agent is to get a recommendation from an author who already works with that agent. This is kind of a tough thing for me to do, especially when it comes to socializing on the writing forums. Nathan Bransford's forum is great. All of the people I've interacted with there are polite, friendly, and eager to help each other. But people on some of the other forums I've been to seem to be either lazy toward their own writing, as well as the writing other people put out, or they're snobs. And by snobs I mean that they've had one or two books published through an indie press or vanity press publisher, and they talk to the other forum-goers as if they are THE authority on writing.
Don't get me wrong, getting published, even in an indie-press imprint, is a lot of work (as Todd can assure you), and I don't begrudge any of those authors their success. But even if they were bestselling authors, I wouldn't listen to their advice if they treated me like an idiot without hope of getting published.
Aside from that, it's difficult to strike up real conversations on the forums. A lot of the posts I've found are either topics that I have no knowledge or interest in, or they're a way for the posters to spark debate without getting a real dialogue going. That's one of the biggest reasons I've focused so intently on this blog. By conversing with all of you, and by reading your posts (even though I don't often comment on them...you know, because I have nothing meaningful to add) I feel like I'm part of a real community.
This meme going around right now, that five by five quiz, is a good example of how I, a mere aspiring author, am getting drawn into this group of writers on the internet. I got tagged by two separate blogs, and both of those authors have been following me less than a month!
Now back to getting agents (see, I told you this was kinda random). I'm thinking of re-writing my query letter for Defender of the Crown (the link is only the part that doesn't change. I personalize the pitch to each agent). To me, it feels flat, but the only proof I have that it's not a great query is that I've either been ignored or rejected by agents. I don't want to re-write it...mostly because I don't like that part of the process, but even if I wanted to skip the agents and go directly to publishers (even indie publishers), I don't think that pitch would get the job done.
I'd love to get a recommendation from an agented author, but I know how busy writers are, especially if they're writing more than one book at a time. And when authors are busy, they don't have enough free time to read an untested writer's book to see if it's worth recommending to their agent.
On a similar note, do any of you (my readers) have a project that you would like to have critiqued? I'm not the best beta-reader in the world, but I can give some helpful advise. If you're interested, leave a comment with you're e-mail address. I moderate comments, and I won't post your e-mails here. I'll just take a note of them and delete the comment.
And now, since I was tagged by Zoe Courtman and J. L. Jackson, I present Five by Five:
Where were you five years ago?
1. Working for Borders Bookstores as a bookseller and barista.
2. Pining over an ex-girlfriend (quite unwisely, I might add).
3. Trying to turn Flatiron City into a writing career.
4. Wishing I could travel to England.
5. Living with my parents.
Where would you like to be five years from now?
1. I would like to be a father.
2. A published, professional author (no longer aspiring).
3. On my third or fourth trip to England.
4. In a house and out of this apartment.
5. Working on one or two series of books.
What was on your to-do list today?
1. Finish chapter 15 of my WiP.
2. Put chili in the crock pot for supper.
3. Write this blog post.
4. Do a brief work-out.
5. Finish the first draft of my WiP.
What five snacks do you enjoy?
1. Ice cream - any flavor without nuts (except Birthday Cake...that one doesn't have nuts, but it tastes like play dough).
3. Sun Chips.
4. Pop Tarts.
5. Fluffer-nutter sammiches (yes, that's how you have to say it!).
What five things would billionaire Giles do?
1. Open my own coffee shop/bar/RPG bookstore.
2. Travel to England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Italy, Germany...you get the idea.
3. Buy a house for my family to grow up and grow old in.
4. Buy a Smart car...maybe some European sports car, too.
5. Take all of my friends traveling with me (after I got some awesome alone time with my wife, of course).
I'm not going to tag anyone else because I'm pretty sure the people I would tag either don't read this blog, or they've been tagged by other writers already.
Happy Friday, have a great weekend!