My nine-month progress report so far

Sorry I haven’t been here in over nine months. Except for doing a contest entry here this winter and a mentee blog for another contest this past summer, I’ve been busy with a lot of stuff this past year–mainly writing and edits and querying. (And for those who’ve liked my Facebook author page, too, you know why as well.) Instead of last year, when I did 3 posts on my year in review, this time I’m going to break it down into a truncated version to catch you all up on contest entering, conferences, querying, and writing/editing, all in one post.  M

Once again, I’ve tried my best to give Venom a chance with contests and hoped I would get further than I did last year. My ratio was 50/50 with snubs and being short-listed by mentors/editors to advance to the agent round back then. Well, it all started with a new contest called Operation Awesome back in January. I submitted and gotten feedback from someone from it, though I didn’t get in. That was okay with me. From there, I’ve entered everything Twitter and non-Twitter-related contest, all the way up to Pitch Wars in August. Once again, I almost had the same ratio of 50/45/ of snubs and being short-listed, and had gotten feedback along the way. Except for one #adpit request for Venom’s partial to add 15 to the ratio. I’ve taken what advice to make it better and to get further, which let me closer and better, but not where I want to be. Even for Pitch Wars, I did win a chance to add two mentors to my top four list. I wasn’t picked. And only one mentor sent me feedback with a standard form with nothing personalized, since a lot of authors had subbed to her. With a year of putting my heart and soul to make it better with blood, sweat and tears, had stalled like a car on the road. And that’s what I decided to curb  Venom from entering contests for good and change course with one contest win for this year. I wasn’t getting anywhere with it anymore and hoped I would have better luck with plain old querying.

On that note, I’ve decided to throw Chain Reaction into the ring and get some luck. I’ve only entered it for #adpit, #darkpit and #pitmad for the past year, and only for p2p15. I did get some luck with last month’s #pitmad, when an enter of this Canadian pub company faved my 2nd Twitter pitch. Though I haven’t sent it out yet and hope to later this month after the first 3 chapters are polished by both of my two new betas, I’ll cross my fingers for good luck. I did enter it for Pitch Slam last month and received feedback to make my first 250 words and pitch better. Though I didn’t get picked. So I did score one small victory so far, which is better than nothing. I’ve only entered it, since my spring Camp Nano manuscript, a political thriller titled Diplomatic Immunity, wasn’t ready yet. But I’ll enter Diplomatic Immunity in Nightmare on Query Street next weekend and let’s see what happens. So keep your fingers crossed for me.

Onward to conferences, I did attend to new conferences this year, a total of four up to date. Though my local one was free and changed venue from a community college to a library in the same area, I’ve learned a lot since last spring from writing, editing, publishing, and everything in between. Last weekend, I went to that conference and met a new friend, my Twitter/Facebook friend, Julie Lindsay, who my local Nano ML had roped her into our local Nano region for the write-ins. She lives only a hour from me! She was also the first presenters in one of the first workshops I’ve attended. But before that, I went to another local conference with a live pitch event with agents. I  never been to those big conferences like Writer’s Digest/BEA, Boucheron or Thrillerfest, when you’ll be able to do it, if you sign up for it. But it’s too far and too much to pay for. Maybe in the future. I did sign up for one new agent to pitch to Venom and met one of the agents (Agent G) who had Venom’s partial R&R for a couple of months. (More on that later.) Live pitching is hard work, but with a lot of practice, I’ve managed to pull it off. I landed a 50-page partial from Agent K, which fell flat after two weeks I sent it out. So that was a bust. I had a blast and met two local Nano friends at the same conference, too. (Though Muse Online Writer’s Conference is returning after a 2-year hiatus, and it was my first conference I went to over the years, I’m not sure if it’ll be back. There’s nothing on the Facebook page or the blog about it. Not since last November’s past from last year. So we’ll see.)

As for querying, I’ve been hitting it hard for the past nine month with both Venom and Chain Reaction. Up to date, I had partial and full requests that I received and later fell flat since January, including from Agent G. She did graciously give me three chances with Venom’s partial R&R; though she did like the changes, it wasn’t a good fit for her. Though I still haven’t heard from Agent A, which has been considering Venom for 1.5 years, I did send it to her this summer, when edits were done. I did nudge her and haven’t heard back yet. So I don’t know what her status is on it. Both Agents C and E, in which I had full R&Rs, I sent out also this summer. Agent C passed, since she wanted me to hit the sweet spot of 90K, in which I won’t be able to do with my 109,000 words. Unless I get an editor to help me out or win a mentor contest like Pitch Wars, I’ve passed.As for Agent E, I haven’t heard from him on my nudge, too. I had partials from Agent H and J (from #adpit), who I had closed out as no response, especially from Agent J, when I nudged twice with nothing but crickets from them.

Then things turned out for Venom, just two weeks ago. I received two new full requests in the same week. Yeah! One was from a new agent I’ve queried this summer and nudged her, a little over three weeks ago. She forwarded my query over to the lead agent, who I call Agent M, and asked for a full and a chapter-by-chapter synopsis. I’ve found her from the #MSWL website. (A real good thing.) I also followed them on Twitter and both agents followed back. (Another good thing.) Then I got one a little over a week ago, from an agent  I’ve requeried and received a full from her as well on my nudge on the same day. Though Agent M gave me a two-week turnaround response and Agent P said ASAP, we’ll see if we hear anything from my new and pending outstanding full requests. Wait for it! Just last week, I received a 10-page partial request from Agent Q, an assistant to an agent at Agent E’s literary agency, just to give her a feel for her story. I don’t know the timeline for it and hope for a nibble at this rate.

For Chain Reaction, it haven’t received my traction since early this year. I had two partials from it, one 10-page and one 50-page, from Agent B and N, which fell flat. Since I’ve revising the first 3 chapters, I hope things do turn around for it. As for Diplomatic Immunity, I’ll be starting to query my new baby next Friday to query only agents and some with first chapter only. Maybe it’ll pick steam and burn rubber burn with requests out the wazoo, after my circle of betas give it a green light.

Last but not least, like I said earlier, I’ve been writing and editing. I revised Venom the best I could. I did the same for Chain Reaction and Double Exposure, and a little bit in another old eco-thriller titled Specimen out from the closet. I’ve lost betas earlier this year, but still had my constant beta Sandy for over 2 years. (And now she’s having her first book published in December by Wild Rose Press.) I have 2 betas for Chain Reaction, 1 for Double Exposure, my writing group for Diplomatic Immunity (as of this mid-summer) and my online crit group for Specimen (this spring and early summer.)

As for Diplomatic Immunity,(my first installment into a political thriller trilogy series), I wrote it in 10 weeks during spring Camp Nano and into early summer this year. A new world record for me by averaging 2K (or more) a day. And my first Camp Nano win, since I couldn’t do last year–maybe my muse and I wasn’t ready yet. Though I sent it in early and gotten 7 new betas this summer, including my main beta, I did get feedback from them, concerning plot holes and other issues. Though it took me about 4-5 months to do 3 passes to trim my 127,000 word manuscript down to 110,000, my main word count goal. I don’t think I can get it down to 90,000 or 100,000 words. It’s as good as it gets. Next week, it would go to my betas for final feedback, (plus my writing group to do the 2nd half of chapter one), and a new special beta to help me with plot holes. I hope it gets the green light with minor nit picks.

I plan to do the same for Nano this year with a romantic thriller titled The Scent of Evil. Nano Prep and research is underway. As of last year’s monstrous novel, Off the Grid, which ended up to be at 400,000 words when I finished this mid-summer, it’s going to take me 6 months or more to get it down to 100,000 or split it into 2-3 books, starting next month.

On final notes, while I still freelance for Hub Pages, (though not as much since mid-July), I’ve been making some great money with Upwork for the past three months when I joined. I’ve landed 7 fixed price assignments and one 3-month hourly job–I’m halfway through with this job and will finish in early November, just in time for Nano.

That’s a wrap up about what I’ve been doing lately. If I do get any new news from contests or querying, I promise to post up here or at my Facebook fan page–or maybe both–with a quick update. Cross your fingers and talk to you later this fall!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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