I can’t steal the slogan, Finish the Damn Book, because that is a Cherry Adair thing. Good news, you can even join in on Facebook! Really cool, huh? Well, as long as you are going to finish the damn book. And keep popping in to update your goals. See, you do need to actually do something here. https://www.facebook.com/groups/CherryFTDB/
That’s what I found out. I finished my first draft of my book in November 2016 during National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) like a regular NaNo-bot. Yay! I’m done, right? Yeah, no. Just starting.
Oh look, I can make an appointment to pitch to an editor or agent at the California Dreamin’ 2017 Writers Conference in March! I can do a synopsis and pitch to someone I know! I’m totally going to sell this book. All I need to do is divide it into chapters, have a few beta readers look it over, give me input, edit according to what I accept from them, put the chapters back in order, and format the damn book. Whew! I have almost three months to do this.
Wait, I had another anthology to write and organize and get out. I had parakeet chicks to pull and feed. I had to recover from the massacre of my backyard done by the landlords who know little or nothing about plants. And worst of all, my dear friend passed away on February 1st.
Deep breath. Keep on writing. Only two months to go, and I get my notice that I have been confirmed for a pitch appointment. That helps push me forward. I get the beta readers’ feedback. They like the story and only have a few areas where things don’t seem clear. One important point was the bad guy shooting himself off-camera, as it were. A reader missed that, so that needed to be changed up. I also needed the hero to jump into action about that time.
I’m at the conference. My appointment to pitch is NOT with the person I know. I am going up to talk to a complete stranger. Stranger danger. Maybe I just won’t keep the appointment to pitch. The conference will be fun and informative in any event.
Enter Beth Yarnell, a wonderful author and mentor to those of us who have never pitched at a convention before. Sure, I had pitched at RWA chapter meetings but that seemed different. L. Walked us through pitching process, what we should have with us, what we should say, what we could expect. Okay. I don’t have the synopsis or even a business card with me but I was gonna pitch.
One awesome suggestion was to know the person you are pitching to. I knew my friend who was no longer attending the conference. Luckily, Tule Publishing has a great web page. I learned two things about my editor: She is a coffee connoisseur and she loves the darling bulldog who “works” in her office.
Meghan Farrell of Tule Publishing is bright, friendly, warm, and understanding. We talked about Crazy and the fact it’s the first book in a series. I explained the plot, she asked clarifying questions. I mentioned the happy ending. She gave me her card and said, “Send the manuscript and a synopsis to me when you are happy with it.”
Thanks to my beta reader, I had two major plot points to change up in the book. I needed to rewrite the first three chapters for one of those and rewrite a few sentences every now and then for consistency for the other. I got home at the end of March and took a few weeks to sort things out. Three weeks into April, I attended my RWA chapter meeting and set submitting the manuscript as a goal to have completed by the next meeting.
May meeting showed up. Totally unable to say I had sent the manuscript in. I set the same goal again. This time for sure. Plus, I have a weekly in-person writing group that keeps me going and writing. I could not have finished without them. I could do it!
But this could be better. That could be better. Perfectionism struck me solidly in the face. I had to draw a line. Once I had finished reading the chapters for continuity, I stopped. Only four days ago, I finished and started compiling the chapters into one manuscript. Wait, I need a synopsis! Wednesday at the writing group, I worked on the synopsis. Thursday I asked for readers of the synopsis. I got amazing input that allowed the two pages explain the story concisely. Friday, I had a dentist appointment then focused on the formatting needed to be done before I sent the story in.
Saturday, yesterday, was the RWA meeting. At 7:40 AM Saturday morning, I. Hit. Send. Deep breath! By 8:45 I was on the road to the meeting where I put the slip saying I completed my goal into the jar. When it came time to draw a name, I won! I got the money!
I’m not saying that if you keep writing, you will win money. I’m saying you’ve got a better chance of moving into the paid column for your fiction is you Keep. Writing.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.