Where the Happily Ever Afters Are Always In Color

Tag Archives: query letters

 Emily Cale’s Day 605

02.01.2012

So I’m switching it up today. Author Emily Cale is swinging by to share her writing journey with us. Pull up a chair or a piece of couch and give it read. I think you’ll find Emily fits in just fine around here.
Wow! When Rebekah asked me to calculate the number of days since I sent my first query letter, I never imagined it would add up to that many. In some ways, it still feels like I wrote that first manuscript a few weeks ago. I sent that first query letter for my novella, Tamed, in June of 2010. Then I waited. And waited. And waited. I’d love to tell you I was patient, but I wasn’t. Fortunately, I was out of the country at the time and unable to stalk my email. The normal response time passed and I followed up one night before going to sleep. When I woke up the next morning I had two responses from the acquisition editor in my inbox. The first said she was sorry for getting behind and that she’d read my manuscript right that minute. The second was an acceptance letter with contract.
I wish I could tell you that it’s been all uphill. I’ve learned a lot of things in those roughly 600 days.
1. You can do everything right and still get a rejection letter.
2. You can royally screw stuff up and still get a contract.
3. Don’t submit partial manuscripts if you haven’t finished the book. No, seriously. Even if you think you’ll finish it in the three months it takes them to make a decision.
4. If you screw up #3, it is in fact possible to write 50,000 words in a week. You will hate yourself and 
everyone who comes near you.
5. Rejection letters are harder to get after you’ve gotten acceptances. I thought it would work the other way, but it turns out that knowing how good a contract feels makes the sting all that much worse.
6. Writing books doesn’t get easier. I actually think it gets harder. Now I know so much more and start hearing my editors telling me what’s wrong with a scene. I also worry about how I’m going to sell stuff. I know I shouldn’t, but I do. I have some weird ideas and I have no idea if they would ever be publishable.
7. Reviews are awesome and terrible all at the same time. I’ve had some really fantastic reviews and some that make me wonder if the reviewer read the blurb, let alone the book. I’ll tell you that my best rated book sells only half as well as my worst rated. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but clearly there is no correlation.
8. Waiting does not get easier. I panic after every submission I send out. I’ve waited as little as 3 hours for a response and as long as 5 months. I rarely know how long it will take and the email always comes through when I’m least expecting them and never when I’m stalking my inbox.
9. I have not started writing better. I have started editing better. With each book, I get better at finding the little things that need fixed and doing them before I submit.
10. I don’t know a damn thing. People ask me for advice and I know exactly how they feel. I still scour blogs and forums for that one gold nugget of wisdom that will make it all make sense. I’m starting to think it might not exist. If you find it, be sure to let me know.
Since that first query letter, I’ve had 1 rejection letter, 2 revise and resubmits, 11 books contracted, 8 published, and I have one thing out on submission. Public Display of Affection was my 10th contract and my 8thpublished piece. I’m just as happy each time one comes out and this piece has been especially exciting for me. I love both Lucy and Samantha and find that a lot of readers seem to relate will to them. 
Public Display of Affection Blurb:
After a heartbreaking end to her relationship with her girlfriend, Lucy Stark is looking to try something more adventurous. She turns to Madame Eve’s 1Night Stand service to help her find the perfect woman to push her boundaries and introduce her to the more daring side of a sexual encounter.
Samantha Taylor’s helped more than one woman explore her sexuality, but Lucy’s the first to really get to her. Keeping her walls up and the women she dates from getting inside is a skill she’s managed to master. After one night of unbridled passion, she has to decide whether to give up her hard exterior or let the woman of her dreams slip away.
Buy Links:
Decadent Publishing: http://www.decadentpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=448&osCsid;=fn8kmq8tlmb4opoa0mtloeeqf2
Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Public-Display-Affection-Night-ebook/dp/B006ZIHUBS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid;=1327972280&sr;=8-1
Author Bio:
Emily Cale spent the majority of her childhood as a visitor to the worlds of her favorite authors. With encouragement from her English teachers, she put pen to paper and began imagining her own stories. Preferring the fascinating lives of her characters, she majored in creative writing. When not lost in a manuscript or a good book, she enjoys crocheting, rock climbing, and playing board games. She currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband and a very spoiled cat. You can find her online on her blog (http://www.emilycale.blogspot.com) or Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/EmilyCale).
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 Day 74

09.16.2010

My bill paying job has been pretty busy this week so I haven’t had a lot of energy to blog in addition to my other writing adventures. I’ve had one partial requested and then rejected, but I press forward, spirits brightened by the fact that I came home to a dish-free sink and a happy boyfriend with a clean-shaven head. He looks super bald.

Here are some things I’ve learned/thought of since my last post in no particular order. And a picture I like. The artist is Ben Newman.

- I’m confused by writers who become enraged with agents who reject them. They said no to your query. They didn’t call you ugly to your face, which hurts, trust me. I’ve learned A LOT from a couple agents who have rejected my query and they are actually pretty nice people. I hope to actually meet them some day.

- If you email people, more often than not, they email you back. 

- Not everyone should give advice (I knew this before, but it’s come up a lot this week)

- Playing with my characters in my head is a fantastic way to pass the time while sitting in traffic in Beverly Hills. Lil’ Wayne, Does It Offend You, Yeah?,  and Chromeo only add to the pleasure of it all.

- Patience does pay off.

- Even when you walk into a really awkward situation you will be able to pull something from it that you can use in your writing. An old man named Stewart weirded the hell out of me this week and he will show up somewhere in my work. I can guarantee it.

- You will get fired if you sit across from your boss and don’t do any work for two weeks. This has nothing to do with queries

-There are some really nice people out there internet land and I enjoy finding them. Some times they point you toward helpful things like agents to query, good books, home remedies and recipes. And some times they just offer a virtual hand to hold.

-Current TV has hilarious programming that makes me laugh, smile and think a little harder.

Hi new followers. ?

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 Day 59

09.01.2010

Here’s the thing I love about rejections, they give you a chance to step back and make improvements on your work. I’ve had some great beta readers, but I passed my book on to one more person who caught something that NONE of my pre-readers had seen. AND he caught it right before I submitted my manuscript to an agency who requests a full up front (which i think is just super, by the way. i hate query letters. period).

It wasn’t something that would make or break my book, but it was something that I think this particular agent would have noticed, which I suppose could make or break my book. His super catch gave me a chance to look a little closer at two more things that were bugging me a bit. Now I feel much better about submitting my manuscript and I’m patting myself on the back a little bit for being so patient.

In the meantime, I’ve been getting more great tips through blogs and chatting with agents and other writers on twitter. I’ve added agent Jennifer Laughran’s blog to the sidebar because she’s got some great pointers and a hilarious review of book that remains me of this –>
which I couldn’t quite finish.

I received another rejection this week and it didn’t even bother me because its all part of the process. I know I will find someone who is totally into my concept and loves the way I write and is tickled by the ideas I’ve put down.

 The waiting sucks, but its helping in more ways than one.

Also Katy Perry is haunting my days and nights. I’m pretty much in love with this song right now.

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 Day 51

08.25.2010

Still waiting. Daydreaming about cover art. Praying the JETS have a good season for my father’s sake. Reading, a lot. Writing some. Waiting some more…

It’s not for a book obviously, but this cover art has stuck in my head since I was a little kid.

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 Day 45: Confession #1

08.19.2010

I know I’ve promised to be positive and I know that keeping your mouth shut is the very best thing to do in certain situations, but if I don’t put this out there it will eat at me all weekend. And maybe next week.

I have few synopses to write for different agencies I would like to submit to, but it’s taking forever to get them done. At first I was lying to myself, blaming my ADHD, weddings, my boyfriend’s rugged good looks, my recent discovery of black diamond on my procrastination, but last night I realized the real issue. I’m holding out for a particular agent’s reply. I may be shooting myself in the foot for saying this, but its the truth. I found them and got the warm-fuzzies from their website, their blog, their agents tweets, even the nice way they explain their review process.

In general, I suck at cover letters. Applying for colleges was one of the most miserable experiences of my entire life, but I did it. I’m pretty sure I’ve lost plenty of jobs to my cover letters, but I always kill in the interview. Not to say that my query letters are terrible, but I just hate writing them.

I don’t have too long to wait to hear back from this particular agency, so I’ve decided to just wait on writing those synopses. I know myself and anything I force ends up sucking, hard. So I’ll wait and if I get a rejection from that agency I’ll be able to mourn properly and move on. If they request a partial…

I feel a lot better sharing this information with you and just like that the positivity has returned. 

Also, I’ll confess that I wish my boyfriend still played football. His knees and back are glad that part of his life is over, but he looked really good in his jersey. Something like this –>

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 Day 43

08.17.2010

Just sent out another query. Sometime tomorrow I’ll stop worrying about it. Until then…

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 Day 42

08.16.2010

A particular agency states on their website that email queries are, from time to time, lost/bounced back if they are sent from a – we’ll call it a “sketchy”- email address. They recommend that you resend your query if you haven’t heard back from them in a certain amount of time, as it may have been lost/kicked back by their spam blocking system.

My fear on this Monday morning: I build up the proper level of anxiety waiting for this period of time to run out (exactly 3 weeks from today), resend and the very same day I receive a rejection for the initial query. Additional horror would come if they rejected the resend as I suspect they would.

In other news, wedding #2 was amazing even though Bridesmaid #4 fainted in the third quarter of the ceremony. She was quickly whisked to safety and the vows were completed. We all made it to the reception and the THREE after parties in one piece. My toast was well received even though my voice carries the silken tones of a very seductive man and then I was actually handed the bouquet by the bride in front of all the guests to eliminate any possible dance floor injuries (I didn’t want the bouquet, but a disabled woman was taken out last year during the bouquet toss at another friends wedding).

No one laughed in my face, I repeat, IN MY FACE, when I told them I was writing romance novels for the foreseeable future. The bride and Bridesmaid #2 actually gave me all sorts of fun bits on being in Alpha Delta Pi and offered to help me with my research for Book #2. Sleeping in SPANX isn’t as bad as it sounds and I will never fly United Airlines again. If you haven’t discovered the joys of SPANX, please visit their website.

The bride and groom danced their first dance to…

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 Day 37

08.11.2010
3 Quick Bits

Bits 1: I received another form rejection this morning. This one was extremely polite and a little bit inspirational, reminding me, the writer, that the literary world is very subjective and even though my work may not have been for them, there are still other agents out there who may be very excited to represent my work. And I believe it.

Bit 2: Some good news… M and I have officially decided to work on a screenplay together. She’s a pretty awesome person to be around in general and she’s an amazing writer. The idea of jumping into this project with her is keeping my spirits extra high as I pack for wedding #2. Overnight flight with a layover. YAY!

Bit 3: Here are a few pieces by the artist El Mac. His murals are all over the world, several spread around Southern California and a couple of which I pass daily in LA. He’s inspired a scene in my book (elmac.net). I would also give a solid lock of good hair to get cover art from this man.

Tally to Date — >4 Out in the Universe
                         7 No!

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 Day 3

07.08.2010

Like me and all of my personalities, every agent is different. Doing my best to bring my best work forward to find that special one..

After going through about 12 that were too inappropriate for any sort of bookseller that doesn’t also carry lube, I settled on a title today. Feel super about that.

Tally to Date —> 7 Out in the Universe
                         2 No!

                         

 I would like a Sam Summer before bed.

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 Day 2

07.07.2010

I woke up to a rejection in my inbox. Again, the turn around was pretty quick. This particular agent requested 2-4 weeks for an e-reply. They got back to me in 7 hours. I will be very honest, my query letter was too long and didn’t tell the right parts of the story. I lived, I learned, I went in search of help. For a few minutes the sensitive six year old in me wished they’d given it at least a whole day. The quick turn around made me think they skimmed a bunch of queries or simply didn’t read mine. In the end the mistake was mine.

Crappy Query = Rejection.

Anyway, I was over my own failing some time around 8:30 am. I need one agent, not all of the agents.  I sent my awesome bf off to work and got back on the query pony.

I resisted the urge to watch Say Yes To The Dress and did 4 things.

1: I went back in search of query letters that actually helped people land an agent. Book Ends LLC has a few sample query letters from their own clients and they are good. I hate mystery novels, but the two queries she posted from mystery writers were so good I’m going to read their books. (BELLC’s link is in the side bar –>)

2: I rewrote my query.

3: I had it critiqued.

4: I rewrote it again.

I ate lunch and folded towels in there somewhere. Then I drove across town listening to Passion Pit. All in, a good day. I’ve learned a ton in the past 12 hours and I’ll probably spend the rest of the night learning some more, while trying to stay away from conversations about Qhuinn and Blay and Manny and Payne. I always get sucked into those.

Tally to Date —> 2 No!
                         3 Out in the Universe 

Amateur Tip: Research query letters. Research ‘em hard.

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