Monday, February 1, 2010

Publishing Chronicles: Taking the Plunge

Here I am again, sitting in front of my keyboard and monitor, typing yet another redundant opening statement for a blog post. The same kind of statement I open almost every blog entry with. Is it laziness that drives me to reiterate the same opening statements each time, or am I trying to welcome the reader to each blog post with something comfortable and familiar? Something personal, perhaps. Maybe it's a little from column A and column B mashed together with a healthy dose of nitro-glycerin. I could just as well start each post with a random assertion that may or may not be true. Chocolate milk is the best kind of milk! Motion is only a state of mind, you're merely moving the rest of the world around yourself through intense delusion! The Teapot Dome Scandal has the best name of any political scandal in human history! FACTS!

I could do these things. But for some reason, I'm not.

What I am doing with this post, however, is kicking off what I'm hoping will make for an interesting ongoing post series up until I am finally published. I'm sure many - somehow - of the few of you regularly taking the time out of your busy daily schedules to read this have asked yourself this question many a time and yet opted not to pose the very question to me: "If you're some kinda aspiring author, why don't you spend more time talking about writerly things in this blog?" First of all, I am a multifaceted human being (Pretend I sound shockingly angry when I say that). Second, as a writer who's only been published once through a relatively small contest in a new literary publication, I feel like I lack the experience and authority as a writer to discuss the literary and publishing world on a professional level at this point. This is something I am changing this year - fact. Whatever it takes. And third, as a result of point two and the very gradual and meticulous process that is writing a novel in the first place, I've often felt that I don't have too much to write about as a writer just yet. And hey, let's bust out some platitudes while we're at it and take note of that whole variety being the spice of life thing. (Those who have claimed it's paprika are liars working as paprika industry sleeper cells. There are more of them than you might suspect.)

So to you, dear readers, I today present to you the first part in my latest post series of indeterminate links: Publishing Chronicles.

Naturally, while I am blogging about my experiences with the process, I've every intention of approaching this in an entirely professional manner. This entails, of course, that I will not be disclosing which agencies or specific agents I'm contacting, nor is this going to simply turn into an "I can't believe they rejected me!" bitchfest where I post rejection emails and tear them apart verbally. I've read that apparently some aspiring writers have thought that this was a good idea - you would think that common sense would make it clear that this is not the case. But then, many people do seem to lack basic common sense. And I'm not keen on writing anything about my adventures in hunting for an agent and publisher that could backfire on me professionally. As absurd and obviously unprofessional as most of my blog-writing is - and intentionally so, that's what blogging's about, after all  (That and ME ME ME ME ME LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME ARE YA LOOKING YET) - I intend to use my more serious writing about this aspect of my life and pursuit of a lifelong writing career as further practice, in a sense, at working within my newly-developing consciousness of professional courtesy and conduct within the publishing industry itself. While I am obviously one to celebrate the rough-around-the-edges, this is an opportunity to flesh out my more professional side in regard to my own career. (And it feels kind of strange saying that and looking at it in these terms, having that sort of bohemian drifter/freeloader personality when it comes to my aspirations, but this is part of what it means to become a writer - to devote one's life to storytelling and the refinement of one's craft. I've got to start exploiting what few connections I have soon and work on making more - hopefully through this query process - as well as really try to learn more about literary marketing and how to properly market myself and my work. I'm more or less at a loss as to where to begin on that as the huge introvert I am, so I've obviously got my work cut out for me.)

All that said, 99% of the above was written back around October 20th. The joy of but one of my numerous upcoming blog posts initially begun days/weeks/months ago. It's just after 1 PM on the 1st of February now, and the plunge is taken - I just sent off my first two query letters minutes ago. I don't have anything else to add to the rest of my babbling above, though the statements made there all remain true. Look forward to more writing and publishing posts from me this year. It's time to get professional. Aww yeah.

(Some really massive posts coming soon again, also - just the way you like them: so substantive most readers immediately turn and run for the hills.)


CrazyCris said...

good luck! :o)

*T-Abby* said...

Whooo!! Lets do it!

Lindsay Champion said...

Congratulations about the first two letters! They are the hardest, for sure. Make sure to catalog all your good feedback and remember that if they say anything, it's a good thing!

lindsay ||

Benjamin Fennell said...

Thanks, everybody! Both the agencies' sites say that if I get a response, it'll be within the next 4-8 weeks, so it's all a waiting game now while I work on my second novel, a boatload of additional blog posts here, and some renovations to this blog to hopefully make it more visually appealing and readable.

And thanks for the thoughts, Lindsay. I'll definitely keep that in mind - I'm expecting I'll get rejected by both these agents, though from the research they've done I think there's a chance I'll be able to catch their interest enough to give me some kind of feedback. I agonized over the first letters for about 3-4 months, so it feels good to have them done and out. Any advice I can get will be something to value and learn from - I'm keeping my fingers crossed on hopefully finding representation this year. With any luck, maybe I'll be able to get this book published by sometime in 2011 or 2012. It's really exciting just making it this far in pursuing my dream, having thought of it as likely no more than that for so long. :)

livenomad said...

Wishing you all the best with it. :)

Benjamin Fennell said...

Thanks! :) Gonna keep working on the next novel and writing more regular posts here - hopefully making this blog look a lot better in the meantime, too - while the waiting game continues. If I don't hear anything by late March, it'll be time to try another 2-3 agents. Whatever happens, whether I hear from anyone or not, I'll be doing another Publishing Chronicles series post to update then, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Never ever ever stop writing. :-)

Benjamin Fennell said...

Thank you! :) Comments like this are always encouraging and very, very appreciated.