Ignoring instructions. And enjoying the journey. Note to self: don't cross eyes in self-portraits.

If you’re reading this, stop now.  I mean it.  Don’t read another word.  This post is not for you.
Apparently, I attract people who don’t follow instructions well, because you’re still reading.  You rebel, you!  OK, you’ve proven your loyalty, so I guess it’s alright for you to be in on the scoop.
I want to update the insubordinate/faithful on how “t’ings” are going.  That would be “t’ings” as in my relatively new foray into bloggerdom, the search for an agent/representation, and writing in general.  *Snore* I know.  At least I’m not updating you on my plantar fasciitis or triathlon-training schedule.  See, I warned you not to read this.
Road to Joy:
Holy cow, where did all’a’y’all come from???
Facebook: 897
Twitter: 1115
Monthly numbers: I crested 3000.  Woo-to-the-hoo.  That’s huge for me, as I a) blog on nothing whatsoever and b) only launched in April, when I had 842 clicks.  Every repeat visitor clicks less at each visit — they tend to explore categories when they’re new, click click a’clicking as they go.  And each time someone subscribes via email or RSS, they quit clicking altogether.  So the increase in clicks represents a larger-than-obvious increase in new visitors and repeat visits.
RSS: I am close to professional status on WordPress now (ha).  While I’ve learned a lot about how not to publish a blog that looks like a pile of poo, I still don’t know how to figure out my subscription numbers via RSS.  I know the number grows faster than email subscribers.  I want to track it, but frankly I’m not smart enough yet.  If anyone knows, give me a shout.
The e-newsletter list hit 1,200 today — and I’ve never even sent an actual e-newsletter.  I’m waiting; my plan is to send my first one when I can announce I have an agent.  By that time I may have to hire a (much) younger assistant to type for me as I waddle around blindly behind a walker, but don’t knock my plan.
Agent Search:
I have been told by many wiser and more experienced writers than me that I should expect my agent search to take years.  Surely they are wrong.  How bad does that suck?  I started looking for an agent in March of this year.
My agent search centers, for now, around Leaving Annalise.  An agent that read it twice and Going for Kona once offered detailed feedback on the books.  She declined to offer representation at that time, because she felt like the novels still needed work.
After crying for three weeks (you don’t believe me? ask Eric/@trimon29!), I dried my salty tears and started writing novel #3, Conceding Grace.  I wrote six chapters when, voila, I woke up one day itching to rewrite LA.  So I put CG down and did.  And, when I finished the rewrite, I requeried LA.

Querying: sending a letter to agents asking consideration for representation on a book.  Usually, an agent will not read any part of a novel without asking for it, after having first read a query letter.

p.s.  The norm these days is that publishers will not work directly with a first time novelist.  Unless you go the self-publishing route, you must lure an agent into representing you.

As a result of those queries in early September, three new agents requested and are reading the complete manuscript of LA.  I sent many more queries than those three; I received six rejections and did not hear back from a few others.  I am extremely encouraged to have three positive responses so quickly.
I am meeting face-to-face on October 9th with the agent who read LA and GK.  While I am not overly optimistic, I do feel that my rewrite is a substantial improvement and addresses her feedback.  She liked my writing enough to do three full reads of my work, and she asked that we stay in touch as I progress in my skill at writing full-length novels.  Cross fingers.  And toes.  Arms and legs would help, too.
See above.  Plus, now that I finished the LA rewrite, I am moving on to the GK rewrite.  My goal remains completion of GK and CG by year-end.
I hate to admit it, but the agent that broke my heart by declining (optimistic insert: “at that time”) to represent me was right.  I needed to go back, shake off my thrilling win of 2010 Texas Writers’ League Manuscript Contest, and get tough with myself about taking the quality of my novel-writing to a new level.  Unfortunately, I know that I must go through this hell many more times to become the novelist I will ultimately be.
I also know that I can’t rush the growth.  I’m unable to write a better novel TODAY.  I will learn more, write more, critique and be critiqued more, and then some day when I least expect it I will have an epiphany and sob and gnash my teeth and stay up 24 hours a day for days on end and forget to shower and brush my teeth and ignore the pitiful bleats of my husband, kids, and clients while I rewrite/improve my work again.
Finally, I entered a few more contest.  I kinda liked that whole “winning” thing.  Believe me, you’ll hear about it if I win another one. 🙂  Speaking of which, I learned today I am a finalist in the Houston Writers’ Guild Manuscript Contest for 2010.  And they give actual prize money!  That’s the kind of contest I want to win.  I’ll find out on 10-08-10.
So, all of you, whoever you are, in case you give a spit, that’s where t’ings stand.  I’m pleased.  And impatient.  Because I’m Type A and slightly OCD.  But what I also am is determined, with the stick-to-it-ness my father instilled in me.  I’m partway to somewhere and enjoying the ride.
Wishing you all success and joy on your journeys,
p.s. I am humbly grateful for your “followership” and support.  Thank you.
p.p.s. Special thanks, this time, to Eric and Heidi D for LA rewrite support.

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