Monday, August 23, 2010

Agents & Editors & Publishers... OH MY!

My experiences in writing seem a lot like Dorothy's trip in The Wizard Of Oz. I can easily relate with how she must have felt. The whole writing process is like being swept away by an F-5 tornado and then being dropped smack dab in the middle of a strange land filled with agents & editors & publishers OH MY!

So, you have finished your what? Just do what Dorothy did...Follow The Yellow Brick Road. There are a few things you will need before you get started on the road to Oz. If you haven't guessed what they are already then here is your 'Ah-Ha' moment. You will need a brain, tons of heart and the courage to see yourself through this long journey. Along the way you will encounter some of the most treacherous obstacles on earth. Now, you may not come across flying monkeys or green, evil witches and your chances of stumbling through an enchanted poppy field are slim to none...though that might not be so bad. What you will be faced with is querying your novel for representation, dealing with editing & polishing of your manuscript and finally the dreaded shopping of your novel to publishing houses.
With agents and querying, all you need are BRAINS to help you land the agent of your dreams. It is simple... follow the guidelines set by each agent when querying your manuscript. You are much more likely to be taken seriously if you can first, follow simple directions....I'm just saying.
Editing gets a little trickier because, we as writers are so close to the project. We see our manuscript as our baby and believe it is perfect and beautiful in the way all good parents should, whereas an editor can see our manuscript with different, clearer eyes. When your agent or editor says that you can make your novel better, have the heart to do what is right for the manuscript even if this means sacrificing yourself and your needs. Love that manuscript enough to do the right thing.
Now, as to your last, daunting task I say, "Be brave and courageous, fellow writer". While waiting for a contract or when wading through a stack of rejections, courage is tough to maintain and not something that everyone has. For those of you who are afraid to show the world who you were meant to be, courage may not come. The trick to waiting for a book contract is not only to be courageous but to bring with you all three virtues...Brains, Heart & Courage. Remember to always believe in yourself and you will get there eventually.
Now, you have made it to Oz by finishing your novel, landing the perfect agent, polishing that manuscript to a high shine and finding your novel in the hands of several publishing houses. You have arrived...right? Not so fast.
Sadly, you may find that at the end of your long journey, others will go before you and find their place at publishing houses. It's OK...Relax and take a deep breath. There is a home for you with a publisher somewhere over the rainbow.
So, if you find yourself a little worried & stressed out and all the brains, heart and courage in the world don't feel like enough, just do what Dorothy and I do... Each morning click your heels together 3 times and repeat after me...

"There's no place like home"

"There's no place like home"

"There's no place like home"

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Karma & The Author Interview

My co-writer and I run a website as well as a blog, where we do book reviews and author interviews. Interviewing is a serious business and not something we take lightly. There are certain levels of friendship and trust that must first be established before we will even consider asking an author for an interview. Let's face it, you don't want to friend someone and turn around fifteen minutes later and ask for an interview. It's like meeting someone and calling them the next day to borrow money; it can be done but it is pretty tacky when it is. We never want someone to think that our intentions are selfishly motivated.
It is for this very reason that several of our friends who also happen to be authors have not been interviewed on WebbWeaver. We simply haven't asked them, as the friendship is so much more important than any interview. There are of course, some authors who jump right out there in our 'getting acquainted' stage and ask for an interview. We don't always interview these folks, as we sometimes get that icky feeling of being used and no one likes that. It may sound like a ridiculous, petty thing, but I think there is something to be said for respect. If you take the time to get to know someone as a friend and colleague, then the other stuff just kind of works itself out on a case by case basis.
Having said all this, I have never given too much thought to the stress that can go along with an author interview. Even I sometimes forget that well known writers such as Michael Palmer, Tasha Alexander or even Laren Kate are still just regular people. I have spent the better part of my life being in awe of writers and placing them in that 'elite' status because of what they do. Since I started my writing career, I have gotten an eye opening shot of reality as to the amount of work and time that goes into the craft of novel writing. I see things in a different light than I did and what used to be awe has been replaced with admiration and respect. I love when a little dose of what I put out comes back to bite me in the always helps to keep me grounded. This time my medicine comes in the form of an author interview...not one where I am the interviewer, but rather the one being interviewed! My interviewer followed all my own personal guidelines and established herself as a friend first and then BAM! just like that, she asked and I accepted. This will be my first interview and it will be a live one hour spot on Artists First Radio. I have spent a year doing author interviews and not once did I think it possible for the author to be nervous, I mean it's their book right? What in the world is there for them to be nervous about? Well, here I sit swallowing a bit of what I have so generously handed out...a good dose of my own medicine. So, for those of you who do book reviews or author interviews always remember that it could be you and sometimes the shoe really does end up on the other foot.
CK Webb