Submission Anxiety

This is not a new thing. I’ve been through this twice before and was entirely unsuccessful. So, it’s created a cringy moment for me every time I see that I have mail in “that” inbox. I expect a “no thanks” and it is kind of crazy that it is giving me so much anxiety. To be fair “so much anxiety” for me is just a little more than your everyday getting through a humdrum day level of anxiety. My wife and kids suffer from anxiety disorder, so they know it much more intimately than I do, but nonetheless it is surprising.

My son tells me he is that way for any email. Even though he knows he may have important info in there he hates getting that ping.

I remember back in the old days of America Online and that little voice that told you, “You have mail.” It was a cool thing. Subbing has kind of ruined that feeling for me.

I have it out to a dozen agents and one publisher and have already got “no thanks” from two, which, good for them, it was super fast. I appreciate that.

I know how things are. I know I have to level up my game, and I have. I expect to get a yes this time, but even saying that I still cringe every time I see that I have a response. I want it, but my track record thus far has ingrained in me an expectation of rejection.

My mentor from my MFA program told me to sub each manuscript until I got a hundred rejections. The problem I personally have is finding that many agents that represent science fiction. I have around 90 on my list. I keep looking and hoping. I know it only takes one, “Yes.”

I would love to hear your submissions stories.

#Pitmad

pitmadI recently finished a complete overhaul of my latest manuscript, after getting some great feedback. The story has changed drastically, so have a lot of the characters.

I noticed that PitMad was coming up so I decided to brush off the pitch and see if I got any bites. The event is sponsored by Pitchwars.org

Kurestin Armada (@kurestinarmada) an agent at Root Literary said this in a Tweet:There are so many pitch contests now that most of the agents I know are fatigued and sit out more than we join—so if you’re feeling like your pitches aren’t getting a lot of traction, it may very well be that the right agents for you just aren’t doing this round
So there’s that. And she’s not wrong. I applaud the efforts of those trying to support writers, and all of these pitch contests are free, except for the time the writer has spend preparing.
You only get to do three pitches and the contest goes between 8AM and 8PM, so you have to space them out for maximum effectiveness and hope you get some RTs and likes. The likes are supposed to be reserved for AGENTS. Anyway, here are my three Twitter pitches. Had to stay under the character count:

Cole’s life is in disarray after his memory is stripped in a brutal attack that destroys his neurochip. Now the centerpiece of a government cover-up, he must expose the truth behind hundreds of mysterious deaths before they shut him up for good. #PITMAD #A #S #SPF #SF

A brutal attack destroys Cole’s neurochip, strips his memory, and leaves his life in shambles. Now the centerpiece of a government cover-up, and unable to trust anyone, he must expose the truth behind hundreds of deaths before they shut him up for good. #PITMAD #A #S #SPF #SF

A brutal attack destroys Cole’s neurochip, strips his memory, and leaves his life in shambles. Deep state treachery and a manhunt make exposing the truth a daunting task. Blake Crouch’s Recursion meets William Gibson’s Zero History. #PITMAD #A #S #SPF #SF

 

I have the book out to a few Beta Readers and will be sending it out again on sub when I get their feedback. So far it has been positive.

Good luck to everyone out there trying to get some attention for their manuscripts!

 

In Your Write Mind 2019 Review

Awesome is an overused adjective, but it really is the prefect word to describe my recent trip. This past weekend I went back to Seton Hill University for the first time since I graduated from the MFA program four years ago. I was excited to see some of my old friends and mentors, but I didn’t have any great expectations for the writer’s convention itself. It’s a small con by comparison, so I figured it would just be okay.

Boy was I surprised.

guest of honors

Chris Kepner, Mark Oshiro, Nat Kimber, and Sandra Kasturi.  Photo by Gina Anderson

Every single Guest of Honor was fantastic. Seriously. I’m not kidding. They were fun and smart and very knowledgeable in their areas of expertise. Continue reading

Still Holding Out

f5325-you-should-be-writingI’m about six years into this writing adventure. I have two novels that I feel are completed and ready for sale. I have four other novels in various stages of development. Trying to figure out which one to work on has been challenging. Well, really, the hard part is still making myself sit and write. I usually write when I get that far. I’ve settled on which one to work on, so that problem is solved for the short term.

Not selling these books or getting representation from an agent is disheartening, so I try not to think about it and just focus on writing the next story. There is freedom in not being locked into a contract at this point and it gives me hope. In the meantime I keep on writing. Once that first deal is made I think the pressure increases to write at a certain speed. Of course that’s all hearsay right now. I am getting quicker with each book and may eventually get to where I can do several in a year, but that’s not today. Your take away: keep writing while you’re waiting for a response. You will have more to offer when the time comes. Continue reading

My Journey to get an Agent

Are you or someone you know looking for an agent? Let me share with you what I’ve learned in the process. I’m aiming at fiction novelists. If you write short stories, or non-fiction or anything other than novel length fiction this isn’t really for you.10987353554_976862387e_z

There are a few things you will need to start the process–a manuscript, a query letter, a synopsis, and a list of agents.

First and foremost you need a finished manuscript. You can prep the other stuff, but before you send the first thing to a potential agent you need to have your MS completed, reviewed by alphas and betas, and edited as well as possible. It should be polished to a fine sheen, because this is the thing that will cement the deal. Even if you write a great query and a great synopsis, if your manuscript is subpar the agent is going to pass. Continue reading

Pitch Polish for Gearing Up to Get an Agent

Deana Barnhart is hosting a cool thing for writers called Gearing Up To Get An Agent or GUTGAA for short.  Hashtag on twitter and all (#GUTGAA).  It is going over several weeks with support for polishing your pitch and finding help with a critique partner.  A part of this I’m posting the current version of my pitch/query and opening it up for critiques.  

AUTHOR’S NAME: TODD MOODY
TITLE OF MANUSCRIPT: CLEAR ETHER
GENRE: SCIENCE FICTION ADVENTURE
WORD COUNT: 120,000

UPDATE:  BASED ON SOME OF THE GREAT FEEDBACK I’VE RECEIVED THIS IS A NEW VERSION.  I HOPE I HAVEN’T RUINED THE VOICE.  IT IS CERTAINLY DIFFERENT.  CONTINUED FEEDBACK IS APPRECIATED!


The pitch:

 

Remie La Jeunesse keeps asking himself what on Earth he has to complain about.  He’s rich, immortal and in the prime of his vampiric life at 786.  But, weary of the death he’s inflicted and the despair of watching family members die over the centuries, his soul is wearing thin. Happiness is as elusive as faster-than-light travel and Remie is ready to end his life, yet one last obligation remains. Vindication against the treacherous Nollevelle Corporation would be one hell of a way to go out. 
While executing his program to reclaim the Quantum Jump Gates his company lost, Remie runs headlong into Anneliese, a young woman who disrupts his scheme and forces him to reconsider his priorities.
Anneliese Trahan is a damn good pilot and a rising star for Nobloquy, the military arm of Nollevelle. Her career path is on the fast track until the intervention of her former lover derails her plans and sets her on a collision course with a man determined to destroy Nollevelle and her one shot at a starship captaincy. Anne needs to figure out where her loyalties ultimately lie and Remie must determine just how much he’s willing to sacrifice to pull off his plan.
The first 150 words of the WIP:
           The idea of happiness toyed with him but, despite having perfect recall, Remie La Jeunesse couldn’t remember what it actually felt like to be happy anymore.  He could clearly remember the details surrounding a moment, like he was viewing an old Polaroid, but not the feeling.  
          Playing the guitar usually offered solace.  It gave him a respite from the monotony and melancholy.  But even that had lost its flavor lately and today was no different than the last couple.  He just wasn’t feeling it.
          Remie pulled the earplugs out and tossed them into the drawer that sat beneath a climate-controlled display case containing an ancient Spanish acoustic guitar, a plaque on the bottom read “La Guerrera de Cadiz, 1761.”  The classic Spanish guitar hung in contrast to the one in the next case, which was a beat up red Stratocaster with black and white cross-stripes, heavily scratched and dotted with cigarette burns.  
 
Please to enjoy.  Clear Ether!

 

Book tours and good feedback rock!

I just gave my critique partner the kind of response I hope to get someday from someone doing a critical review of my stuff.  Her new book is fabulous!  I loved it!  It really blew me away how she is developing as a writer.
Don’t we all yearn for that moment that someone says,”OMG!  Your stuff is awesome!”  Sure beats questioning yourself every other day if you are in the right line of work. 
There were of course minor flaws, but that is why we go through the process of having someone else putting their eyes on our work.  Sometimes you go through your WIP so often you start having trouble seeing the mistakes or typos.  Overall the work she sent me was pretty clean, and just needs very minor repairs to be ready for a wider beta audience, if not outright release for an agent.  The stuff I pointed out for her would likely not even be noticed by a lot of readers, but I wanted to be thorough.
I’m very excited for her! Her book should sell in my opinion, and very well if she can find her audience.  It’s better than a lot of stuff I’ve read that has a big following. 
Finding the audience is the trick though isn’t it.  Not only does she have to write a great book, but she has to have some marketing and some luck.  An old friend of mine, Todd Wood, is on a book tour right now for his book, Currency, and he is all over the radio and television in his region.  I haven’t asked him if he is sponsoring all that work or if his publisher/agent is helping with any of it, but I plan to.  I also read that John Scalzi is doing his book tour for his latest release, Redshirts.  His publisher is picking up a lot of the tab if not the entire enchilada.  This is something the DIYer has to do on his/her own dime.  As well as pay for an editor if they are smart.   It is the major downside to self-pub, in that you are not only the writer, but you’re responsible for getting the cover done and doing all your own marketing and promotion, all of which takes away from writing time.  If you are a known quantity like Scalzi the name recognition alone will generate some sales.  The Self-Publisher is relying on word of mouth and a great deal of luck.
At this point I am leaning toward finding a good agent and trying to get a book deal traditionally.  I think that is where my friend Stacy is going too and I wish her the very best luck in the world at landing a great agent/publisher!
Clear Ether!