Friday, January 21, 2011

Jenn, you need a new post. Slacker.

Yeah, so I'm a slacker. But my shrink would probably tell you that it's all due to a lack of confidence. I mean, I could blog something every single day, but that would mean I'd have to think of something witty to say every single day. And I can't do that. Some days I'm really bitchy and mean, like, I-want-to-drive-over-the-neighbor's-cat sort of mean. Other days, I'm still bitchy, but less mean; those are the days I want to kick the beagles. In fact, I tried to start a new holiday called National Kick A Beagle Day, for September 19 this year (also happens to be my birthday AND National Talk Like A Pirate Day!), but no one was interested in kicking beagles with me. In fact, some said I was downright mean. But that idea came to me on a day where I was just bitchy, and not mean. I'm so confused.

Anyway, back to the point: I can't write all the time because sometimes I just don't have anything interesting to say. Sometimes I sit down to write a post, and all I can think is, "Wow, Jenn, no one wants to read this shit," simply because there are a million blogs out there that can teach you HTML, how to make tiramisu, how to scrapbook, how to replace the transmission in your car, and how to get a better love life. This blog does none of those things. Sometimes, if I have a book or movie review I must share with you, I do post that. Or at least I did. But mostly, those things were originally intended for publication on other sites. Not this one.

The most important, viable of my excuses: I was sorta busy last year.

I spent the latter half of 2009 and all of 2010 writing. A lot. I finished my novel and started querying agents. The process led me to rewrite the damn thing four times, after eight different readers vetted and two NYC agents provided invaluable feedback. It's a better book than it was in April '10, but apparently not good enough in January '11 to get an agent. Or so that's how the story goes. I get a lot of this: "Thanks, but not right for me. Good luck." The book spent three months at Random House Canada with the director of publishing and her senior editor, and they provided some kick-ass praise any wannabe writer would kill to get about his/her first book. Alas, RHC didn't chase after me with offers of advance money and reams of savory contract jargon. No still means no, no matter how much glitter and chocolate you drizzle on it.

As I await the final few rejections to come in (and no, I'm not being a Negative Nelly -- I'm being Proactive Patricia with a little Antsy Annie and Let's-Get-On-With-This-Shit Shirley), I'm venturing into the unknown abyss of e-publishing. Doing lots of research, looking for authors who have had success taking this route (eg, Scott Nicholson ( seems to be burning up the charts). I mean, seriously -- we "unpubbeds" (my catchy new word for unpublished novelists) spend SO much time and energy and money and blood and sweat and buckets-full-o-tears to write these books. We sacrifice time with friends and family. We dream about it. We have nightmares about it. We obsess, make notes, and do research. COPIOUS amounts of research. We talk it over with our therapists and just about anyone we feel we might be able to trust to NOT steal our ideas. We sit in our cars, alone, at local coffee shops and drink peppermint tea until 1 and 2 in the morning in subzero temperatures, braving parking lots full of cops and schizophrenics and Mercedes-driving gang-bangers, just so we can write undisturbed. And for what? So these agents can tell me I suck? Thing is, none of them have said that. They've said that they like it. The editor and director of publishing assured me that I definitely have a future in publishing in this genre. Yeah...sure.

I'm an editor, too, so I know the grammar and syntax is squeaky clean. I know there is tension in every scene. I know the characters are interesting and that the plot is well structured and that nuance oozes from all the right places. I KNOW this. But the agents aren't loving me. The requests for fulls have come back without the Magic Call; the requests for partials have stopped at partials and haven't progressed to fulls. That SUCKS. The unpubbeds can't even send unsolicited manuscripts to publishers anymore, like they used to in the olden days. Thanks, digital age, environmentalists, and Unabomber for making cryptically labeled brown envelopes that contain manuscripts bound for the slush pile so un-PC.

I know my shit is better than some of the stuff that's out there on the store shelves, but then again, every unpubbed who is halfway down Bitter Street is singing the same tune. There are so many of us, we should start a damn choir. We could challenge the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to a sing-off. But they probably have Stephenie Meyer singing with them (she's allegedly Mormon though she only has THREE children--I'm a better Mormon than she is 'cuz I have FOUR, even though I'm totally not Mormon). Word on the street is, she can sing like a diva--and she'd crush us with her sparkly vampires and staggering sales records. (If I were her, I'd go on a crazy diet and have surgery to restore my honeymoon vagina so I could steal Robert Pattinson away from K-Stew. He's cute. And as I am technically eight months shy of being classified a "cougar," I'd be all over that delicious Brit like a fat kid on a box of M&Ms.)

There has to be a better way. I'll keep you posted if I figure it out.

In the meantime, go buy a Kindle, a Kobo, or an iPad so that when I do e-publish this flaming ball of volcanic sputum, you'll be ready to splurge on the $1.99 cover price and send me into publishing infamy.