Surrey Writer’s Con (Epilogue)

Joe’s Post #68

A few final thoughts as I wait for Trick or treaters.

1) Best time to snag extra interviews with agents and editors – Friday. Saturday is as busy as a NY subway in rush hour and there were no spots available. Unless you’re better at stalking people than I was, book your favorite early then leap on any openings on Friday. Get it done fast so you can have fun on the other days (unless you like pitching.)

2) Research your agent and/or editor. Read their blogs, if they have them, (and most do), and look at not only what they say they’re looking for but what they’ve actually worked on or represented.

3) Something an editor said to me, “if you get a mean agent/editor, you don’t want them.”  Hey, you’ll be working with them for a very long time so why would you want to work with a blue-meanie?

4) Coffee is not always your friend. I know it looks like a friend, smells all nice and warm, but I tell you, after 6 cups in 2 hours, you run the risk of looking like you’re jacked up like a meth addict having scored a bucket-full of ‘blue sky’ from Walter White.

5)  Listen. Really listen. Come with an open mind. Come with the thoughts that some people may be farther down the road than you and others, well, not (but even they might have a nifty idea or two.) Come prepared to listen to the little conversations that happen in the cupcake lineup, in the workshop after the presentation (or before), at the lunch tables hosted by the presenters. You’ll be amazed what you pick up.

A few other tidbits, or perhaps some of the stranger things I heard.

“So, I’m like going to build my audience by social media so that by the time my book comes out, everyone will be excited to see it and rush out to buy it.”

“So you haven’t written the book, yet?”

“No, man, no, why would I?”

(Why indeed? I know I would buy a novel someone hadn’t actually written but blogged about a lot. Right? Right?)


“Do you think it’s important to have experienced what you’re writing about?”

Me: “Yes and no.”

“I’m writing a book about being on the inside of a mental institute. I’ve been in them. A lot. I just got out.”

Me: “Then I would say, yes, that would help you sell that book about as much as anything. Oh look, someone I know. Over there. Bye.”

Anyway, tomorrow I begin the “LAST” rewrite of my YA novel, taking into account some of the things I’ve learned. Next week, the queries begin. Again.

And look at a new project.

Dubbed The Secret Project of Secret Awesomeness




Reading the books for critique

Joe’s Post #35 — Well, the novels are in. 3 completed, 2 partial. But it’s time to read them and then, on June 15th, begin a critique process we’ve never tried – looking at a whole book. Here’s how we will likely manage our days … at least how I will manage one of mine.

7:00 am. Will have to wake up. Stoopid alarm clock. Hit alarm clock. Go back to sleep.

7:10: Get up. Scrub eye boogers out of eyes. Shower. Shave. Stare at wrinkles in mirror. Realize I’m not getting any younger. Make note to self. Work harder on clones who I can use to keep me young forever, especially since the one in the basement is running out of parts.

7:30 – 8:00: Take Vegas the dog for a walk. May realize I forgot to bring poo bags. Will hide poo under McDonald’s bag. Will look innocent on the walk back. May whistle.

8:00 – 9:00: Head to meeting room, eat cinnamon buns, drink coffee, form first coherent sentence. It may sound something like this. “Ug. Coffee. Errr. Mmmmm.” Gird loins for critique session to come. This is not my day. Nod a lot if someone talks to me. Hope coffee kicks in soon.

9:00 – 10:30: 1st Critique. Better not be me giving it. “Book. Ug. Good. Coffee. Errr. Mmmm.”

10:30 – 11:00: Coffee. Break. Outside. Fresh air. Mind beginning to work. I begin to realize where I am. I am thankful I remembered to put on pants.

11:00  – 12:30: 2nd Critique. Not me? Again? Sip more coffee. Could be my 6th by now. Hands start to shake. I get an eye twitch. Sentences are coming fast and furious now, “Sothatwasagreatcritiquesoawesomereallysoawesome.”

12:30 – 2:30: Lunch. Slightly longer break for lunch, recreation for some, eating for others, all of us probably composing our thoughts, processing. Critiquee retreats to lick wounds, phone home, hire hit men. We may or may not do lunch together. We may or may not be on speaking terms. I will definitely also go for a walk. Uphill. With the dog and a bulging pocket full of poo bags.

2:30 – 4:00: 3rd Critique: My turn. With more coffee in me, I manage to give a 90 min critique in 30 minutes. No one understands me. Maybe it’s better that way.

4:00 – 4:30: Tea time! Run downstairs. Run to get tea. Run to find more cinnamon buns.

4:30 – 6:00: 4th and final critique. Coffee could be wearing off. Critiquee not in tears? Good. Critiquee in tears, order wine and chocolate STAT!

6:00 – 7:30: Supper time. Alone or with the group. NO CRITIQUING TALK!  No one better talk about the Canucks either. I think we may limit the conversation to movies, the oddest looking person in the bar or why my twitch seems to be getting worse.

7:30 – ?: Socialize time. I’ll need to take some time to talk to the beautiful Corinne here, and likely others will walk to talk to their husbands, secret boyfriends and psychics. Later, a good game could be a lot of fun. Trivial pursuit (my mind is filled with useless information) or Scrabble (if I can misspell words) or we could just walk around and see the sights. Anyway, you get the idea, positive bonding activities. If someone wants to crawl into their cave after a day of too much “togetherness” or pound out 50 new pages because they now have a marvelous new idea of where to start their book, great.

11ish: In bed. The next day. Me. I preorder the wine and chocolates.

How come

Joe Update #12

thinkingHow come it’s always more exciting for me to think about the next project than that one I’m working on?

How come I write better with coffee than without?

How come I forget things that I’ve already written? (this week, I forgot a character in a scene, yup, completely forgot about her.)

How come I’ve become hyper critical of the writing in movies and books? I mean, what happened to just enjoying it and not being driven mad by poor character development or backstory in the wrong place?

How come I still get lead and led mixed up?

How come I love reading books more than watching TV?

How come there are 2 ways of counting words, the word count on WORD or the 250 words per page way of counting?

How come George Lucas is a zillionaire when he created Jar-Jar Binks?

How come I can’t write at all when I’m partially drunk? Hey, Hemingway did it, why can’t I?

How come I have panic attacks each time I send out a query?

romanceHow come I have an easier time writing action than romance? Is that a guy thing?

How come all the romance heroes have chests like this picture?

How come if I write 6 pages in a day, I feel down on myself, but if I write 10, I’m all whoohoo? The difference is only 4 pages!

How come I edit better when I print something out than when I look at it on the screen?

How come I love it so much when someone has actually read something I wrote? Am I really such a narcissist?


Pages to date: 250

Bottles of wine drunk: 1

Books finished this week: 1 (others’, not mine)

Number of christmas presents bought: 0

Number of queries sent out this week: 1