Sunday, January 26, 2014

You’ve Got Mail

Have you ever said to yourself, “Self, where am I going and why am I in this handbasket?” Well, I have. In fact, I had that very moment today. You see, of late, life has been insane. I’m crazy-swamped at work all day, busy querying agents each night, and–in between–I’m trying to schedule a ski-trip out West. In other words, at the risk of putting my balls in your face, it’s a lot to juggle. Seriously.

Be that as it may, let me say this: I’m not complaining. I love my job and I love my boss; and, in this market, not everyone can say that. Furthermore, although trying to get published has only produced more evidence that God clearly hates me, at least the manuscript is finished. As for heading to Colorado to ski, I understand that’s a first world problem. It’s like bitching because you only got one packet of barbeque sauce for your twenty piece McNuggets. I get it. I do. However, disclaimer disclaimed, I have something to say to Yahoo Mail, which I’ve been using to contact said agents, and here it is, "Dear Ymail - Given that I’d like to become a real writer one day, I’ll try to provide grammatically correct feedback about your Conversation “feature.” Ready? Off is the general direction in which I would like it to fuck. Not kidding. Sincerely - mkromd"

But, before I can tell you why Yahoo so justifiably deserves my wrath, I have to tell you this part of the story first . . .  Since the holidays, I’ve spent easily a hundred hours researching literary agents who handle humorous memoirs/narrative nonfiction work (specifically geared towards women) and are willing to take on new writers. I even found a select handful who specialize in female bloggers looking for book deals. If you don’t believe how long all of that took me, just ask the NSA. They can totally verify my digital whereabouts. Note: Dear National Security Agency, thank you for backing me up. Also, while you may have read thousands upon thousands of texts between my sister and me, I’m not whiny or needy. She likes hearing every minute detail of my life. It makes her feel important (she’s welcome). And though her replies say things like, “Did you HAVE to send me a disgusting pic of your toe? It’s a spider bite. You’re not going to die, so stop freaking out.” When I saw her face-to-face, she hugged me and said, “I’m glad you reached out for help. As a woman with a degree in Biology and a mother of all boys, I was the most logical person to contact. Besides, I wanted to be there for you. Even mom was worried it would spread and you could lose your whole leg.”

Anyway, I digress. The point is that, using the criteria above, I created a list of ten agents and worked with an editor to craft the query letter and mini-proposal. Then I began submitting my work, and it was a mistake. Today I found out that Yahoo decided to “tag” every email with a similar Subject line (e.g. Query for your review), assume it was one conversation (regardless of the recipient), and combine them into one threaded discussion, so every agent can see exactly who I’ve contacted and what I said. Yes, really. It’s like Gossip Girl, the Mid-Life Crisis episode, with a splash of American Horror Story thrown in to mix things up a bit.

In any case, on the off-chance that a snowball landed in hell and one of those agents is visiting my blog (despite her better judgment), I sincerely apologize for the chaos and deeply appreciate your interest. I realize you may feel like you weren’t special, but I assure you that’s not the case. Hours upon hours went into finding you; and, like Herman Cain once said, “It’s true there were a lot of other women, but think of how many I didn’t bother.” Given that I just quoted him to help my case, perhaps hell really did just freeze over. That’s OK, I’ll ski that, too. Speaking of, I’m off to plan our trip out West. I mean really, how bad could it be?

Talk to you later.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Every day I write the book . . .

Happy 2014. With that, I have two things to share. First of all, I’m pleased to report that mkromd raised sixty dollars for Nathan Bransford’s annual Hooray for Heifer drive. Many thanks to those of you who posted comments (once or several times), joined my blog (you know who you are) or simply visited my karma ran over my dogma (the more the merrier). It was genuinely most appreciated.

Also, as always, we donated bees; because, let’s face it, the world needs them. If their job were left to people like me, everything on this planet would die. I’m not kidding. One could argue that I’m (literally) the Grim Reaper of gardening. Personally, however, I like to think of myself as a horticultural hospice worker, easing the transition, so plants can go to God without fear. They’re welcome.

Secondly, the manuscript is done, as in stick-a-fork-in-it-DONE. Since I’ve been asked to write a guest post about the experience, I won’t share too much here, only that I simply had no idea how hard it would be. All jokes aside, at each point, I thought the next phase would be easier and it never was. It was like Sisyphus, minus the cardio. Seriously, first you have to decide what to write. Then you have to write it. Then you have to muster the courage to submit it to an editor for style, flow, voice and grammar. If that doesn’t sound intimidating, keep in mind these are people who have absolutely no problem whatsoever letting you know the difference between, “you’re shit and your shit.” And the worst part is this: that’s their professional opinion, so it’s accurate. 

In any case, if you can survive making those edits and still have a sense of humor, you move into the next stage: the query letter and mini-proposal. Or, as I like to refer to this process, “shock and awe.” Not because of how fabulous it is, but because your writing takes ANOTHER pounding. You basically have to disregard everything you’ve learned from your writing coach, peer reviewers and editor. Then create a business proposal so agents and publishers are willing to look at the first fifty pages of your book, which have to be good enough to make them want to read the rest of it. It’s like a dysfunctional game of Chutes and Ladders with a pinch of Monopoly thrown in, “Your book didn’t get picked, go back to Start and do not collect $200 or a bottle of tequila on your way there.”

Anyway, as promised, when the guest post is released, I’ll share a link to it. In the meantime, thank you again for supporting Heifer. Talk to you later.