Scribbles and thoughts ...

These are ramblings from J L Wilson, published author of romantic suspense, mystery, and paranormal -time travel fiction....

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sneaking on the blog ...

I need to sneak in a blog post because my Internet access at home has been down lately.

It's surprising that a little inconvenience like that can be so annoying. I was scheduled to do some promotions last night on some loops but couldn't do it because I couldn't log on. Oh, I could but ... I had to use dial-up and it was so slow I almost fell asleep reading email. Not the sort of connection you need in a high-speed chat.

The good thing, of course, is that I got a lot of work done since I didn't have the net there to bother me. So much so that I am toying with the idea of going web-free one afternoon a week. I"m thinking I will take my laptop and go to a different room in the house and just FOCUS. Since I don't have WiFi, the Internet can't 'find' me.

Good plan. Let's see if I do it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Career thoughts

I am struggling with a somewhat hypothetical question:

Is it better to do well in e-publishing or should I try again to get the attention of a Big New York House? I think the question I'm asking is:

  • be large-ish fish in a little pond?
  • be tiny fish in a big pond?

In order to succeed in NYC, I'd need an agent. Most of the lines (publishers) I'd target require an agent. So I'd need to do an agent search in addition to doing a publisher search (I know -- the agent should do the search but I'd want to do one, too, to make sure the agent is doing what is needed. Yes. I do have trust issues around my career).

I know there's no pressing need to make a big decision about this, but I'm wondering if I'm doing the right thing by staying where I am. I feel like I need a plan of action, as it were.

So here's what I'm going to do: over Thanksgiving (the next time I have some free time), I'm going to make a list of publishers and agents I want to target next year. And I'm going to come up with a plan for submitting to them. I think my current books are in good hands (and are in the right marketplace: ebooks). But I think I may have a shot at another market, too. So I need to consider that.

Okay. I feel better now. I have a plan to make a plan.

Now back to writing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Blogging musings

Why do I blog?

I had an offer from a somewhat well-known site to add a link from their blog to mine. This is a Good Thing because it means traffic would find me. However, the 'rules' for the linking are that the site has to be about romance novels.

Well, gee. Basic honesty forces me to admit that this blog is mainly about me whining about life, publishing and writing. And since I write mysteries (which admittedly have some romance in them), does that count? Maybe I'm agonizing over this a bit too much, but I am hesitant to ask for a link ... although I may change my mind, who knows?

In other news, I SOLD ANOTHER BOOK. I haven't been advertising this one much because while I signed the contract, I haven't gotten my signed copy back from the publisher and it ain't real until I see the handwriting on the page. This is another third-person suspense book and is one of my personal favorites. I really like this characters a lot.

So let's see, where am I?

Publisher One: verbal acceptance of two more manuscripts in addition to the two already contracted or out considering a new paranormal series

Publisher Two: contract signed for another book and assurances that another book would be looked on with favor one book under consideration for History Patrol series and proposals in for six more

Publisher Three: considering yet a different book

So ... the nail biting continues, but not as ferociously, I guess ....

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Update on my 'talk'

The talk with the Rotary Club went well. I had no idea what to expect, having had little to do with public service groups in my life. I imagine I looked a bit surprised when they opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance. Luckily, I remembered the words.

This is obviously a group of people who know each other well and have a good rapport with each other. I could tell that by the various 'in' jokes and other jibs they gave each other. It actually reminded me a lot of the group of friends my parents used to have -- all people from the community who have known each other for a long time and get along well.

We had a bite of lunch then I was asked to 'present', which I did by just talking about my foray into publishing and the entire process. Everyone asked questions and before you know it, 25 minutes had passed. I handed out my little 'press booklet' that I'd prepared: summary of statistics, a sample of my book (first chapter), my promo recipe cards, and some other effluvia. All in all I think it went well. I had one qualm and that was when the Chief of Police was watching me as I described how I come up with my murder plots, but other than that, I felt they were all curious and interested in what I had to say. I even handed around my ebook readers and people were very curious about them.

So, my first 'public speaking' gig went well. Now back to the mundane business of writing ...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Some interesting statistics

I am preparing some information for a talk I'm giving later this week to the local Rotary Club. Actually, 'talk' is a misnomer. I'm just going to chat about my publishing experience. But to prepare for it, I decided to try to research some actual statistics about the whole publishing business.

This information comes from assorted blog posts by agents and editors. It can’t be taken as ‘gospel’ but it gives you a feeling for the publishing business.

  • Most editors receive 15-25 submissions a week. Many editors will not read anything unless it’s forwarded to them from an agent.

  • An editor will find 1 manuscript every 2-3 weeks that she thinks has promise. She has to get buy-in from other editors, so she’ll send it to colleagues.

    • If no one else likes it, it’s rejected.

    • If others like it but the editorial director doesn’t, it’s rejected

  • An editor will usually buy 1 book every 4-8 weeks out of the 160 or so that she reads.

  • Most books in the ‘slush’ pile (unsolicited manuscripts sent by authors with no agent) are never purchased or even read completely. Most editors read the first page at the most. If it catches their attention, they read on.

  • Most publishers receive between 7,000 and 20,000 submissions every year.

  • Most publishers publish around 180 books a year.

  • Most agents will agree to represent 1 in 500 submissions.

So there you have it -- the odds, as it were, of getting noticed. I thought I'd just post some of these statistics now and again so people realize that this is a tough business. Probably about as tough as the music business, or fine arts, or restauranting -- any endeavor where there's limited purchasers and lots of sellers.

Interesting, eh?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The nail biting continues

I heard from one editor about the full manuscript and the two-book proposal. She liked it, but felt I needed some edits. I can't whine about this because I did a two-week whirlwind rewrite on the book and didn't do my usual thorough check when finished. So I'll definitely consider her comments and possibly resubmit, if not to her then to someone else.

That leaves:

  • 1 book and proposals for 5 more on another desk
  • 2 finished manuscripts on an editor's desk
  • 2 finished manuscripts on another desk

In reality, it's 2 editors, 5 manuscripts, 7 proposals. I know, I know, I can hear you already: 'slow down, enough! There's not a fire, you can get these published eventually.'

I heard back from one publishing that while she liked the book, she felt I needed I'd like to get my promo things lined up for next year, I'd like to know if I need to research new publishers, I'd like to dust off my query letters if I have to. More than anything, I want to be SETTLED in one place and know that I've got some stability.

Ha! This is publishing! Fool....

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Shifting gears


It's hard to explain how I write a book. I tried to tell someone today that I was trying to get into the head of my characters and how reluctant I am to do that sometimes. You see, when you really get into a story, it sort of takes over your life. You live that story along with the characters. If you don't put yourself fully into it, the story suffers.

The story I'm doing now is a History Patrol one, and it's very complex. It has to be complex because it's time travel and reincarnation and true facts mixed in with things I'm making up. So when I go into that book, it's very consuming. I've had a hard time giving myself up to that story. I can always find something else to work on.

But today I reconnected with the characters and am starting to see the world through their eyes again. At the same time I'm working on another first-person mystery (a totally different type of writing), so that's my break from 1934 St. Paul.

Yep, it's a juggling act. As long as I can be in the right place at the right time for the right writing, it works.

Fingers crossed.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A bad day at the lake ...

You know what they say. A bad day at the lake is better than a good day at the office.

And how true it is. I wouldn't say that I had a bad day, but it didn't go as planned. And it really was my fault.

We were going to do a bit of sightseeing. You'd think after coming here for ten years, we'd have seen everything (I mean, there just isn't that much to see around here), but, {surprise} we hadn't been to Vermillion Dam.

I consulted the map and it looked straightforward. Find County 24 and proceed until it ended, about 10 miles from the Canadian border (of course, everything here is about 10 miles from the border so that's no surprise).

What I failed to note was that the little road labeled '24' had sections that were colored and sections that weren't. As it turns out, those little colored segments indicate gravel.

I don't mind a bit of gravel road, but 20 miles of twisting, hilly, narrow, rutted, gravel all to get to ...

this. "Dam" is not quite what I would call it (see picture at right). Oh, it was pretty -- don't get me wrong, but ...

Still and all, it was another marvelous week Up North. You can't beat the sunsets, that's for sure. And like they say ...

a bad day at the lake is better than ...

To see more pictures, go to my LiveSpace page at: