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Procrastination or Preparation?

I had a MAJOR thrill yesterday. While perusing (read *stalking*)my daily blog faves, I saw that my secret agent crush was into women’s fiction. Everyday is different, of course, but yesterday she was feeling women’s fiction. Yeehaw! I quickly pulled up my query which I have been ripping on and rebuilding for e v e r, and sent it off with a note…”saw your blog, love your blog,  got some WF for you!!” Secret agent crush zips me back a ….”send it over,” and I lose it. Frozen, I don’t want to blow it. I hooked the funnest agent in NYC with a query *pat on my back here* but I was terrified to send it. Then, God intervened as he so often does when I’m in in spazzy mode. A heavy rain because a lightning storm extravaganza and deluge. Then whoo went the wind and out went the lights. Right. I was giddy. I had time to think. It was out of my hands. No power, no web.

When the power was back up I had enough sense to open and reread my entire manuscript. Its been a while since I set it aside and so I saw it with fresh eyes. Who can trust their eyes though, really? So, I sent it over chapter by chapter to the Word Whisperer. I think that I may have caused her brain damage when I called to warn her because the lightning zapped her phone and shocked the crap out of her ear. Can she hear me now? Not sure, but that woman can read.

We were up until after 1am, wrangling loose commas and finding errant misspells, the occasionally missing ‘a’ or ‘the.’ Over all, the manuscript looked great, made me laugh, and it is ready to go to secret agent crush today…as soon as I freak out over the synopsis a little more.

Are my little *read HUGE* attacks really procrastination? Statistically speaking, my rejection is only a click away. Or, am I being prudent? After all, I don’t want to get a quick rejection because I didn’t take my own advice and properly prepare.  Well, either way, today is the day and my second full manuscript is headed to its appropriate (hopefully perfect) agent contact.

Here we go!

Hey, Go Brand Yourself

The more that I read about establishing a web presence, the more overwhelmed I feel. This is one more thing that I get to learn, and I have no previous knowledge or experience to build upon. However, I do love to learn something, and I love a challenge. Branding  is both. Step one: set up a blog or website to promote your name and product. Check. How easy was that? Very because my husband did all the work. I only have to write, and we have already covered that. Next, pick a topic and stick to it, Check. Choose colors that represent a feeling to associate with your product. Hmm. Well, writing is whatever you make it color-wise, so I thought about me. What color represents me? I did a little reading (shocker) and found a few fun resources on the psychology of color. While I originally expected to be pink because being a girl is my favorite , turns out, I’m more red, orange, yellow (if its bold) because those are energy colors. I have tons of that. OK, colors, Check.

Now, I need a brand. A whosy-whatsit? A whatsy-whosit? Right. Brand myself. So, I’ve got this pretty lame sunflower going now. It went with my color scheme. The thing is, I’m not really any sort of flower. I am so many things that I’d need a silent film playing in the corner to say it all. I’m guessing that no one would watch it, so I still need a brand. That’s tougher than you think. How do you choose 1 symbol to represent you? How would you want people to begin to associate you? If you have a tiny inkling, then you are ahead of me. So, no more time to write for now. I have to go brand myself.

Epiphany

I write nonstop. I love it. I’ve written everything from Christian YA to urban fantasy, middle grade, and even contemporary women’s. As a result, I have discovered something about me. I had been wrangling with the editing of my quirky women’s fiction when I was called back to rework the Christian YA. Because of the immediate shift from one genre to the other, I learned this. I like quirky. I love snarky. I may even adore smarmy. So, while YA fantasy may be all the rage these days, I prefer nutty characters that blatantly do all of the things that we never would. I like throwing political correctness into the wind, and just telling those fakers out there that I know what they are. Well, I would never do that personally, of course, but my characters can. When I think about it, it’s just so  – me. I’m not a romantic, I like irony. I watch the Vampire Diaries to see what completely rude thing Damon will say next. I liked Jack Bauer because he just was who he was, no apologies. I can’t do that in life, but I can in a book. In life, I match my bag and shoes (which is always super fun), I never leave home without my makeup (can you even imagine?), and I never ever make phone calls past nine o’clock pm, or before eight o’clock am (ah, rude). I am confined by the rules. It happens to only children like myself. I want to do everything at 125%.  I want to do good. I want to be praised. I still laugh when people fall down, but there’s little to be done about that. So, anyway, I think I may be finding my voice. Perhaps YA is not my voice.Its often my favorite read, but maybe the two a just separate. Unless, I can pen a story of two teens who embrace their inner nerd and … yeah, no teen wants to read that.

I am a Zealot

I am such a spazzy little gal. I get myself into trouble that way. Sometimes it helps, mostly it just makes me hasty. On occasion, I will be present for some travesty, like, say, Bryan comes home and says,”Aren’t you ready?” For what? I may ask, only to be told that we are meeting the corporate honchos from another country in 45 minutes and it’s their kids birthday.  Now, when you have forgotten to give me warning, or when a catastrophe has hit, you need a spazzy girl. I can bathe, dress, and launch three small children into 5 point harnesses, while calling a sitter and pulling out of my driveway. I can call ahead for a prewrapped gift to pick up on my way to said party and handle my hair and make up at stop lights. Sometimes spazzy=good. Also, it makes me more fun. For example, I will never, ever, ever turn down an impromptu invitation to take off somewhere. My kids love the unpredictability, and with me, its often unpredictable.

Now that I feel all warm, I will point out the down side of spazzy. I hate to wait. Love to plan, hate to wait. I will enter writing contests on a whim. That’s not a great way to win.  I will begin querying without proper research , or a fully polished manuscript. (I really have to hold my own reigns on that). I will eat that 9×13 of brownies. Don’t leave them if you want them. They are already gone.

I also do embarrassing things like register online and pay through paypal for a writers conference which is not taking reservations for another 2 weeks. Hey, then, I will even come on here and blog about how I registered. Yep. I did that. I got the email today letting me know that they will submit my reservation in July, when it is acceptable.

Around my way, I’ve been called a few things. High octane is one that fits. It’s nice to get things done and it feels great to be so inflated all the time, but I am learning that this is not a great trademark for a writer. So, picture me taking a few deep breaths, closing my eyes, stepping away from the laptop, and running full speed into my room where I will proceed to talk my husbands ear off until he shuts me up. What can I say. You have to take the good with the bad.

Full Manuscript Requests

Today, I will be submitting a full manuscript for review with an agent. This is always a nail wrecker for me. Any interaction with a literary agent should be treated as if it will be the last. Most likely, it will be.

Once your query is rejected, the game is over. (Unless you rewrite the query completely and wait a few months to try again, but that isn’t exactly recommended). If the query piques their interest, then you send 10, or 50 pages, maybe the first three chapters. Those chapters have to sing and dance because once the agent says ‘no’, they don’t want to see it again. I’ve heard that an agent may ask to see them again with revisions, but that scenario is different, it was the agent’s request. Now, if you hook them in three chapters, they will give you a request for full. The big enchilada.

Someone wants to see your entire manuscript . This is huge. Your hopes are in the sky. This could be it.

So, don’t blow it.

Even if your manuscript is polished to a shine, read it again. Ask a friend. Beg a stranger. Read it one more time. You won’t regret it.

I have mentioned the request I had on a manuscript last week. The first three chapters were with that agent for six months. That’s a long time even by industry standards. I hadn’t looked at it in half that amount of time. When I opened it and began to read it before I sent it off, I discovered something. All the time I have spent reading and writing has helped. I saw things that I didn’t see or know three months ago. I revised. I found missing commas, missing words and more. When I had been pouring over the pages every day, three months back, , I hadn’t seen the errors because my mind knew what it thought was already there. After reading it this time, and making it perfect, I still didn’t send it. I contacted the Word Whisperer. She found even more tweekable issues. It took a week, but when I hit send on this full today, I will know that what I am submitting is my best work. If my hope ends with me holding a rejection, I will not wonder if there was something more I could have done. I’ve read it, fixed it, reread it, fixed that, shared with a friend and fixed again. Now, I know that it is all that it can be. If this ends in a rejection, it simply wasn’t the time, the agent, or the right manuscript to officially begin my term as Julie Anne Lindsey, author.

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