I guess it’s time for an FAQ!
So you write? What do you write?
Um..mostly science fiction/fantasy. Although I plan to branch out into romance and thriller.
Isn’t that for kids? Isn’t that hacky stuff that anyone can churn out? Is it mostly all about white dudes flying around with lasers and/or swords?
No. And no, and no. Actually, if you ever need book recommendations for science fiction or fantasy that’s diverse, dense, written at a high level, literary, upmarket/book club, or anything like that–let me know.
Similarly, if you want SFF that reads like awesome fanfic and has humor and wit, I can give you that too. And, the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
Also, the “hacky” stuff is awesome too. C’mon y’all, we’re in a pandemic. Let people enjoy things.
How many books have you written? How many pages?
3 full manuscripts. We don’t count by page numbers, but the word count is, respectively, 110k, 117K, and 113K.
I know. Well within range for SFF, but yes, it’s exhausting to write that much. I’m looking forward to my 80K upmarket contemporary thriller.
So, are you getting published?
What does that mean?
Most major publishers won’t take on unagented writers. You need an agent, first.
So, time to get an agent?
Yeah…um, I’ve been working on that. Hence, winning a mentorship contest.
Why do you not have one yet?
Demand vs supply. Publishing is downsizing, so there are fewer editors to acquire work, which means there are fewer people for agents to submit to, which means they take on fewer clients.
Ooor, you’re not good enough.
I may or may not be good enough. That’s really the only part of this process I can control. But plenty of brilliant books and writers never get published. Not that I’m brilliant. But I’m decent.
(side note: have you ever watched The Movies that Made Us? You know how Forrest Gump or Dirty Dancing or Home Alone almost never got made? Yeah. It’s like that).
Do you think you’ll get published some day?
Yes. Some day. I can only control what I can control, though.
If you get an agent, you have it made, right?
Oh. Hah. No. You might still not be able to sell the book. Your agent might decide to leave agenting and become a blacksmith. (True story) Or they might drop you as a client out of the blue. Or you might decide to leave them.
Yeah. And trust me, most authors/writers have stories like that.
So, what’s the secret to success?
Are you going to be a bestseller?
No. Never. I know bestselling writers, actually, via social-media, but that’s not my market.
Will people know your name, at least?
Um, why do you do this again?
It’s a compulsion. Roll with it.
My cousin published a book on Amazon.
Good for them!
Why don’t you just publish it on Amazon?
I’m an establishment/traditional publishing kinda gal. Self-pub isn’t for me, and I would never be able to attract that kind of readership because I’m not a marketing/selling type person.
(“Just self-publish” is not as easy as you think it is, if you actually want to be successful)
Yeah. They’re all hacks and losers.
Please don’t insult my indie/self-pub brethren. That won’t fly here.
(If you need indie book recs, ask me)
So, do you sit by a roaring fire surrounded by verdant greens, writing to classical music while people bring you snacks?
I’m a stay at home mother with a house to keep. I write on my phone in the car line, while doing dishes, in the middle of the night when I wake up with dialogue stuck in my head, and literally in the shower...
Women (and men, yes yes I’ll be equal opportunity, and everyone in between and outside the gender binary and so on and so forth) since time immemorial have been multitasking and getting it done because that’s what’s expected of us.
So you’re not neglecting your kids?
No. Although “Bluey” is an excellent babysitter. Also, screw you.
No, seriously, how do you have time? That plus the 100+ books you read a year?
It’s called hyperfocus. It’s a gift and a curse.
I found a typo/misspelling. You call yourself a writer?
I’m not going to answer that one.
What should I never ask you when I see you in person?
“How’s that writing thing going?” Actually, if you see me, please never talk to me about writing, unless it’s your writing, not mine. I would like to Not Be Perceived, please.
But…but you want to get published…
I would like to NOT BE PERCEIVED, OKAY?
All right. Sheesh. What can I ask you?
if you’re a fellow querying writer, I would love to commiserate with you. And if you’re a few steps behind me and need advice or information, I’ll be happy to help. If you’re a reader, I’d love to scream about books with you. If you’re a few steps ahead of me, you get it and I don’t need to explain my desire to yeet myself into the sun most of the time when publishing comes up as a topic