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WRiTE CLUB 2021 – Slush Pile Readers

 


It’s year #10 for WRiTE CLUB and special things are ahead. But first things first, we need to once again ask for help in setting up what truly is the backbone of this contest. Slushpile Readers.

 

One of the most challenging aspects of WRiTE CLUB is narrowing down all the entries (171 last year) to just the top 30. To make that fair and unbiased – I create a central repository (via Dropbox) where all of the submissions are stored, then a selection committee of at least a dozen judges read all of those entries and vote for their favorites, which is then used to select the top 30.

 

Before you raise your hand to volunteer, let me fully explain what you would be getting into.  This is a big commitment!  First, you must be open to installing and using Dropbox (a free file sharing program that I will provide complete instructions on how to use). Then once the entries start pouring in (Nov. 1) you will have approximately a month to read what could be 200+ entries, each one approximately 500 words long -- which equates to the length of a small book – select 30 of what you believe are the best ones and rank them.

 

Most importantly – you cannot be a WRiTE CLUB contestant if you do this. 

 

Additionally, there will be a pair of twitter-parties where all the judges will be making observations about some of the entries they’ve read so far. This is done to raise interest in the contest and build excitement.

 

So, what do you say?  Interested in helping shape how the competition plays out – without officially participating?  If so, email me at WRiTECLUB2021@gmail.com and I will be in touch shortly.

 

Thank you in advance.

 

DL


Returning to the Scene of the Crime

I was getting anxious.

I needed something to work on. I currently have two books on submission and a 3rd being considered for submission. I've already written a sequel to one of the books on submission. I didn't want to start a new story (or another sequel) until I knew if submissions would payoff. 

There was nothing left for me to work on...except one thing.

The first. The very first novel I ever wrote a dozen years ago. It has been sitting on the shelf almost this whole time. The embarrassment. Yeah, it was that bad. But I knew that its core was solid. The premise, plot, characters...all worthy. It was the narrative that sucked.

Another problem was that it was 135,000 words long (like I said, the narrative sucked). I didn't know back then that a mystery novel from a first-time novelist wouldn't sell at that length. But cutting 45,000 words—a third of the book—was insurmountable. So I put it away and moved on.

After being left with nothing else to work on, I accepted the challenge. 

Although I have a bit more work to do, this morning I finished the first re-draft, coming in at 95,000 words. I like it now, a lot!

Wouldn't it be weird if the first novel I get published turns out to be my original....a dozen years after it was penned?

Crazier things have happened, right?

Confidence

It's pretty much universal. Every writer battles it, but especially the ones who haven't been published yet. What am I talking about?


The eternal question. Am I good enough? Good enough to be published? But it's more than just the one question. If you are published, will your book sell enough to be considered successful? Do I have more than one book in me, or will I be just a one-off? What if I suffer from writer's block?

I'm willing to bet that if you're like me somewhere along the way a person or two (usually a relative or close friend) complimented your writing and urged you to consider getting published.

"This is a lot better than some of the books I've bought and read!"

Sound familiar? Been there...heard that. Confidence on the rise.

I also hear a lot of writers describing their voyage through the literary world like being on a roller coaster. Lots of highs and lows. Accurate, but I'll take it a step further by saying it's like riding a coaster blindfolded. On a real coaster, you can scan ahead and sort of prepare yourself for the turbulent shifts, but not so in the publishing world. Having the rug ripped out from you (via query rejection or publisher denial) will test the strongest of confidence.

It's why I've debated - on multiple occasions - about throwing in the towel. It's just not going to happen, I'll tell myself, my confidence ebbing away again. But then I consider the fact that I've had two different agents, representing three different books, who've had enough confidence of their own to represent me. Surely that means something? I've also had highly successful authors and experienced editors compliment my writing and tell me I have what it takes.

So why is nothing happening? It's all so frustrating!  

Can you tell that I'm struggling again? Don't worry, I'm not going to do anything. Just needed to vent. I won't go as far as saying I'm good now, but I have stepped away from the ledge.

Where does my confidence level sit now? Good question. An eternal one.

I Lied!

Maybe it wasn't so much a lie, but rather the relaying of misinformation. Something that I believed to be true, but as it turned out – otherwise. 

Remember this?

*Announcement*
I will be losing something soon, and I can't be more excited. I'm not allowed to reveal the details just yet (don't you hate it when people do that), but one way or another, the modifier attached to "aspiring author" will be disappearing from my description in 2021!

Yeah - that isn't happening, and it's my own fault. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot!

Here's what happened. The agreement with my agent for PRICK was coming to the end of the one-year commitment and I had decided to go ahead and self-publish it in 2021. Everything was falling into place and arrangements were made. Then my agent read another of my novels I had previously sent to her (MOVING FEAR) and LOVED it. She wanted to sign a different contract for that book and I thought, why not? I can still pursue a traditional publishing deal while at the same time still moving forward with self-publishing PRICK. Seemed like a win-win to me, which is what led to me posting the announcement above.

Here's what I didn't consider. I discovered that if my agent and I were to sign a publishing contract, it was very possible the publisher could ask that I restrict what I self-published on my own (both books are YA). It probably wouldn't affect PRICK, as it would already be out in the world, but that book is the first of a trilogy and the publisher could maybe quash my plans for books two and three. Everyone knows you don't make money on a single book (unless it's a blockbuster), so I would be setting myself up for failure. Sure, I could use a pen name, but that wouldn't be the satisfaction I was looking for. The publisher could also be understanding and let me go ahead, but that was too big of a risk.

So I'm back to waiting for good news from my agent concerning MOVING FEAR and/or PRICK, but even though there was some serious interest at first and plenty of nibbles, there's nothing happening right now. It's starting to look like "aspiring author" title will be sticking around for a while.

Sorry for the untruth. 

This is another in a long line of disappointments. 

I could say you get used to them.

But that would be another lie.


 

2021 - Traction and Loss

 


I won't bore you with depressing tales of how crappy the previous year was and how optimistically predictive 2021 is going to be. Instead, I'll just tell you where things stand with regard to my own writing career.

If you follow me on other social media outlets, you'll have seen this - 

*Announcement*
I will be losing something soon, and I can't be more excited. I'm not allowed to reveal the details just yet (don't you hate it when people do that), but one way or another, the modifier attached to "aspiring author" will be disappearing from my description in 2021!
Definitely more to come. 🙂

So, yeah, I've finally gained some traction and big things are just around the corner. In my case, it turns out the coming year really will bring new opportunities.  It would be an enormous understatement to say it's been a long time coming! 
There will be a new website, a new Facebook page, a newsletter to sign up for, and lots of other changes to roll out, so keep checking back for those. For those of you who have stuck with me for so, so, long - I'll ask that you hang on a little while longer. It'll be worth it - PROMISE!
In a time when so many of us are longing for a return to normality - I'm bucking that trend. Traction is only useful if it propels us forward - so let's do that.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

 

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