Monday, 9 May 2016

Friday, 6 May 2016

Life As A Long-Term Querier

Okay, I'm sure there are people who would look at my four years of querying and laugh at me for thinking that's "long-term". But it feels like a long time when I think I started querying in 2012 and here I am in 2016 still working hard on finding the right agent for my work.

Dear agent - you are out there.

...Or her ;)

I won't be that terrifying though, I promise!

Querying is now just another part of my writing routine. I know I won't query everything I write, but I also know in my gut when a book will make it that far. And knowing that changes how I write. I keep things a bit simpler than I used to, and I'll write the blurb section of a query letter halfway through to keep myself focused on the plot. Yeah, I still can't do it before I start writing the book. I never know where it'll go before I start. That's the joy of pantsing my way through.

I haven't lost any of my hope and excitement, or any of the doldrums that comes with the process. Thankfully, I'm a lot better at keeping my expectations realistic and not pinning all my hopes onto one agent. Keeping a cool head helps so much. Rejections are certainly less painful that way.

Over the years, you also get a lot better at targeting the right agents for your book. My original agent list for my first ever project was loooooooong. Overly so. But it's gotten shorter and more focused with each new project. I've been fortunate enough to receive rejections with a "please think of me for your next project" message. Those give me hope that I'm not entirely rubbish.

For some people, querying lasts a matter of months. Others a few years. Some decades. It might take me decades, and that's a tough idea to accept, but I'm not going to give up. Querying is part of the routine now, and someday I'm going to find an agent who gets my book.

And I hope all of you will find your agents, too ^_^

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Miss Cole's Tea Time - Mackintosh Blend

I love Glasgow's Willow Tea Rooms. The joy of having family in that part of the world means I can get tea from the tea rooms fairly often. I will be giving my nephew orders to send me tea from here when he's, you know, not a mere two months old :P

This blend is rich, malty and perfect with breakfast or as an afternoon tea accompaniment.  Personally, I prefer it as a breakfast tea. It's a great way to get you up and out. Plus if you're impatient, this tea blends within two minutes. However, if you want a stronger taste, give it at least three. I also highly recommend making yourself a pot to keep beside you as you work on your WiP ^_^

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

YA Buccaneers' Spring Bootcamp - Goals

This year, I signed up for the YA Buccaneers' Spring Bootcamp. I thought "yeah, I can totally do it this May!"

And then I remembered I'm spending most of May on the road... So I had to adapt my goals accordingly :P

Here's to uncharacteristic planning ahead! My bootcamp goals for May are -

  • Finish Ghost!Story Book 2's paper edits.
  • Write daily - minimum of one page.
  • A minimum of two blog posts while I'm away (Previously and a soundtrack review)
I need to get the editing done by next Tuesday. Hahaha, no pressure O_O

My reward for getting all of this done will be a PS4. Yes. A PlayStation. And Uncharted 4 :D :D :D

Good luck to all my fellow bootcampers! 

Monday, 2 May 2016

Wednesday, 27 April 2016


Welcome to April's edition of Previously... You're all invited to join in this blog hop and I'd love to hear how you're all doing :)

And yay, spring is here!

Previously in Writing

Hmmm... well, I am writing... It's still too early to tell if it'll be an entire new book or if it's just something fun for now. However, editing became hugely important this month, even if it was Conspiracy of Echoes and not Book 2 as I expected... Wherever the muse goes, I follow...

Previously in Reading

I read a few books, but the one I want to talk about is So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. It's about how people can use Twitter to provide social commentary and justice, and the dark side of that. Like, it's one thing to take on a massive social issues like police brutality, but a totally different situation when someone posts what they consider to be a joke but Twitter at large decides is proof that person is the scum of the universe. Spoiler alert - a single tweet doesn't reveal the depths and complexities of an individual human being.

These people are then shamed not only off the internet, but frequently out of jobs. When you put the tweet in context, you can't help but feel sorry for them. Or at least I did. Depends upon your perspective, I suppose.

Chances are you'll have heard of some of the people involved. And if you haven't, you'll be able to think of an online shaming incident. The book really forces you to think "wow, did this person deserve to have their life shattered because of one tweet?" It's so easy to hop on the shaming bandwagon when Twitter explodes in a frenzy. It feels so righteous to point and judge when someone's done something silly for the entire world to see. It's easy to forget there's a human being with an entire life behind that Twitter account. And like I said, it's one thing when people use Twitter to get justice from some faceless organisation, but when people heap shame and derision upon people they have never and will never meet, you have to take a step back.

Twitter has a lot of strengths and it can change lives for the better. For me and a lot of people it's a way to join wonderful online communities. Unfortunately for others, it also has the ability to ruin lives over silly mistakes. I highly recommend So You've Been Publicly Shamed to all Twitter users.

(Oh, and yes, I have read The Raven King. My opinion is all over the place for reasons I absolutely won't put here. Generally speaking, I think I just prefer more to the point story telling. As beautifully written as this series is, the first book is the only one that has any sense of plot or pacing. The others kinda just exist in a cloud of very pretty words when STUFF sometimes happens. This series works so well as a character-driven piece for the main four characters, but at the cost of everything else. Except in the first book. That struck a perfect balance.)

Next Time In Goals

Writing Goal:
I definitely want to keep working on my new idea and see where it goes... At the moment, it feels very much like a just-for-me project, but who knows! I'm off on a big adventure in May, so maybe inspiration for something totally new will strike...

Music Goal: May will be a month of music theory, I think. Right up until my brain dribbles out of my ear :P

A Word of Advice

Determination is your best friend. If you want something to happen in life, you need to make it happen. Never give up!

Leave your link below!

Monday, 25 April 2016

Querying - You're Not Missing Your "Chance" By Waiting

Querying is a huge deal for any writer. Simply making it to this stage is a massive success worthy of celebration.

But sometimes you can be so excited, you start querying too soon because you see a tweet or a blog post from an agent on their Manuscript Wishlist page asking for something along the lines of what you've written and you think They have to have my book RIGHT NOW otherwise I'll miss my chance! TO MY E-MAIL ACCOUNT!!!!!! GOOOOOO!!!

I am very guilty of getting overexcited and impatient and submitting too soon. HOWEVER!!!!!!!!! I would like to say there is an upside to this because I've been fortunate enough to get some amazing agent feedback on my work that I've been able to apply. I never would've picked up on what they suggested myself, so I definitely don't regret getting a little ahead of myself.

It's important to remember querying is a process and your book can and perhaps should evolve. Just make sure you feel certain you're sending off your best work, rather than rushing into it and hoping for the best.

I think that feeling of "If I don't do it now it'll be too late!" can be really magnified if a lot of the other writers you know are already querying or taking part in contests but you're not at the stage. Agents don't have a set quota ("that's a new client this year and I shall take NO MORE!") and people going ahead of you won't fill it.

Maybe there is a window for a certain type of book, and yes, agents are thinking in business terms when they read work submitted to them, but every agent I've ever listened to or read an interview from has also said it's about the writing. An amazingly well written book will get noticed. But it's up to you to make sure that book is brilliant to begin with, and maybe giving yourself a little more time before diving into querying is exactly what your book needs.

See you all Wednesday for this month's Previously!