As promised in my RTB column this month, I am turning over a new leaf. My Writing Anniversary comes up Oct 1st and I'd like to have a correct mindset going into Year Eight. Something positive, since I've been in a funk since July and good lord, y'all must be bored of that.
So, I'm going to set myself some goals, having spoken this weekend with some of my writing buddies, Belfrites ThisChristine and Sunny Lyn. And, I've also heard from several authors that setting goals--provided they are goals that YOU can achieve, not ones that require someone else to make your dreams come true *cougheditorscough*--is a smart way to keep your chin up and your muse healthy. So, to that end, I'm coming up with 5 Goals for myself in the 2005/06 (September-July) season.
• Submit to EC: I've been impressed with the growth of Ellora's Cave/Cerridwen Press. I also write fairly frisky, so this might be a fit that I've been overlooking. I currently have an ms in at Cerridwen and hope to hear something soon. Also, should my Lonnigan Series not pass muster at M&B (it's been there for some time already), I have a feeling that EC would be well suited to it.
•Submit Articles: I'm still slightly nervous about this one, but I do believe that it is a good step to take myself. My CPs and I regularly discuss if I have credentials or not. They argue that my time as a submitting writer and my time working with Harlequin are definitely professional credentials. My thinking is that I need to provide specific publishing credentials. All of us would like this discussion to stop, lol. I have never attempted to sell non-fic, but I think this might be a good step in a new and healthy direction. Topics will be Writing Techniques and Parenting of Special Needs Children.
• Complete Edits On All Unfinished Projects: I have four projects that require editing:
Vetta must have a complete edit, as that one is being submitted to EC by end of September.
The Lonnigans--the edits are written for the First Book, but not imputted, that MUST be done by end of first week of October. Second book should have a read through completed and imputted by final week of October.
Betting Hearts must be edited by Thanksgiving.
• Begin A New MS: Pin down which project I intend to tackle first and make a firm decision as to where I'm targetting. I need to make an order of attack for my submissions, subject only to which Publishing House might take me on. Currently, my submitting cycle is Harlequin, Cerridwen/Ellora's Cave. Should one house pass, I can test it with other houses. I'm also to spend at least one hour of each week researching various publishing houses so that I have a better grasp on what they are looking for and can widen my submitting circle. Should I find success at any given publishing house, I will submit to them first and review which order of houses to submit to should they pass on it.
• Settle The Agent Question: I am something of a versatile author and have several idea pages for multiple genres, which leads my CPs and close writing friends to believe that perhaps an agent is a good choice for me. Since I primarily write category size manuscripts, I may have wrongfully thought that an agent was unnecessary. I'm also exceedingly cheap and I have trouble with the prospect of giving someone up to 15% of my earnings for submitting to places I can submit without them. However, it has become painfully clear that outside of Harlequin and a few other ePubs, I am woefully underinformed as to the market and there are many doors closed to me because of a lack of agent representation. (Or persoanl affiliation with RWA, so I have no access to the services they provide to members)
I have also been under the impresion that I'd be wasting an agent's time because I have not completed a Single Title sized manuscript to send them. Personally, I fear the 100k mark. I've written to that length before, but it was quite some time ago and I can be pretty sure that it was primarily crap on a stick, not to mention padded like cotton candy. The ideas will keep coming and I'm constantly looking to better my plotting skills, but I still shake in my boots at the prospect. For a book that large, the plot must be substantial and the writing needs to be damn, damn good. I will challenge myself not to shy away from completing a full size ST. Should I finish this undertaking--it will remain a side project for the time being--I will definitely need to take on an agent, so that the book can be properly submitted.
I am still very undecided if an agent is something I need to investigate at this stage of my writing and would love some imput from other writers as to when is a good time in your career to consider an agent and a few suggestions of where to look would not be unwelcome. :) What should a person look for when researching them? What is the most important aspect of an agent to you?
Many thanks and Happy Monday!