Thursday, August 9, 2012

The (Sometimes Slow and Painful) Art of Infiltration

One question I like to ask during blogger interviews is "How has your blog improved your writing/ helped your path to publication?" Most bloggers answer in a similar way: we meet other writers through blogging and feed off of their knowledge and support.

Especially because I started my blog around the theme of breaking into the literary world, I thought it might be interesting to share specifically how I think that knowledge and support has benefitted me these last few months.

Before Blog:
1. Stumbles upon two greatest blogs ever: Literary Rambles and Nathan Bransford's blog. They introduce me to the literary world.
2. Sends first small round of terrible, horribly vague queries.
3. Rejection, rejection, rejection and ONE lovely, personalized rejection.
4. Sends out second round of newly revised queries. Receives first full request. ;)
5. Full request rejected. Enters first state of depression/realization that this will be hard.
6. Enters contests. Nothing.
7. Submits query for public critique. Query publicly RIPPED apart. Enters second state of depression/realization that sometimes this process sucks.
8. Pulls MS to revise, restructure, polish.
9. Enters contests, sends another newly revised query...rejection, rejection, rejection.
10. Starts blog!!
11. Enters The Writer's Voice competition. Gets some feedback and even a bit of encouragement.
12. Starts reading other blogs. Gets inspired.
13. Enters Sharon Bayliss's Editor competition. Gets more feedback and great advice.
14. Enters contests. Requests. ;)
15. Meets a few CPs through blog. Gets more feedback, more great advice.
16. Sends out newly polished MS and newly polished query. More requests. ;)
17. Still working.....

Hmm...not sure I adequately depicted the amount of depression and rejection in there...

I don't think my journey has by any means culminated. Clearly, I still have a long, long, long, long...long way to go. Nor do I think that simply by starting a blog, requests starting piling in my inbox. There's definitely been a learning curve, elbow grease...did I mention rejection? But I don't think I would have made the same progress without joining the blogosphere, visiting your blogs, being inspired by your journeys and learning from the tips you've all generously shared.

If I could do it all over again, my step #10 would have been step #2. I would have started my blog, met fabulous writerly people, entered several contests, collected as much feedback as possible and learned as much as I could before sending out that first batch of queries.

What about you all? Any blogs that you've found particularly or resourceful? Any contests that you think have led to you improving your writing, pitch or query?

19 comments:

  1. I didn't start blogging until after I'd signed a contract, so I was really behind!

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    1. I think it's really impressive you didn't need to start your blog first!

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  2. I think it's fantastic that you kept going... it takes a lot of courage to do that. And making mistakes is how we learn. Put your current query and your past query side by side and look at how far you've come! You're on your way, lady! :D

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    1. Thanks Julie! I have actually put the two queries side by side - the first one is laughable. I might post it next week as advice on "what doesn't work." Ha!

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  3. Luckily I started my blog right after I decided to be 'serious' about writing. Peggy Eddelman was one of the first I followed. I was SO happy for her when a few months later (I think it was only a few) she had an agent and then two weeks later (or something super fast) a publishing contract. Also found my CPs through the internet due to a plea on Cassie Mae's blog for a critique partner.

    So yeah, this writing community is amazing.

    And YAY for you with all your requests!!!

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    1. That is funny. It was a video on youtube with Peggy Eddelman that got me blogging just last month.

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    2. You've both convinced me to check her out! Welcome to the blogging world Brandon!

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  4. I started my blog not long after I began querying. But at that point, I hadn't really read a lot of them, and was more doing it for my friends/family/myself. Now that's changed. I wish I'd at least been reading through the blogs long before I queried, it would've save a ton of mistakes.

    But I won't be making them this 2nd time. Krista @ Mother.Write.Repeat was my first query contest, where I learned a ton too. And got ripped apart. :)

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    1. After the heartache, tears, and multiple drinks, it's amazing how much getting ripped apart actually helps. ;)

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  5. I started my blog at the time I started looking for and agent.
    As for contests that helped me the most, I entered a "Best First Line" Contest. You were allowed to enter as many first lines as you wanted. So entered FOUR. I won THREE places! The prize was a first page critique of my manuscript, plus two amazing books by the author:) The critique has been the most helpful. Ever. He pretty much took my first page, sentence by sentence, and told me what to do to improve it. I received the most helpful advice on "Show don't tell" that seriously explained what the concept meant. It was fantastic advice.
    Sorry I wrote a book here. I kinda got carried away!
    Loved your post. Is serves as a reminder that even when things get hard, you MUST keep moving forward, toward your dream.
    Congrats on the new requests!

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    1. 3 places? That's incredible! I'd love to know where you found these contests! Anything ongoing we can still benefit from? My favorite part about participating in contests is how much we can learn from them!

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  6. Hi Kimberly,
    I'm so happy to hear that you're getting requests. They'll love the manuscript! I'm still sitting here waiting...and waiting.

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    1. You are so sweet Carmen! I've been wondering how your process has been going. Keep me posted!!

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  7. You cracked me up with #5 and #7. Isn't that the truth! :) Yay for you, though, that you rolled up your sleeves and went back to work. that's a real writer, for you!

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  8. Thanks for sharing your journey so far. It's always encouraging to me to see how other people are progressing :)

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  9. One of the things that helped me the most from blogging and following other blogs has been realizing that indie publishing really is a viable option. Before I started blogging I still had a very narrow view of indie, and it's been tremendously exciting to get to know other writers pursuing that path, and to discover how much it can offer.

    Nice to meet you!

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  10. A few that I've found particularly helpful are YALITCHAT, WORDPLAY, and Janice Hardy. Thanks a mil for mention me and my blogs (unicornbell and mainewords). I really appreciate it :)

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  11. Nathan Bransford's site is so amazing :) It's what introduced me to everything else, and is one of the reasons I started blogging as well :D

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