Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Writing Update

I may have mentioned at some point here that I'm not exactly "in the know" on what the kids are calling "technology." Pretty much every medium of social media scares and confuses me. And what's worse, I have not attempted in the slightest to keep up on electronic devices.

Currently I own an ipod, which I bought in 2007 and have not upgraded since. I have never put a single thing onto that ipod. My sister Krishelle takes it from me every six months or so and returns it with an updated collection of tunes. She tried to make me part of the process the first few times because of something about "if you teach a man to fish" but as it turns out I'm like an inanimate object, and you can't teach an inanimate object to fish.

The phone I had in the U.S. before I came to Palau is what the kids are calling a "smart" phone. But this was only because that same sister stole my very basic and incredibly unreliable phone and replaced it with her old phone after she upgraded to something that I was pretty sure mankind would not develop before the great and terrible day of the Lord's Second Coming.

And finally, I have a laptop, which I purchased before starting law school in 2008. This laptop has lived hard for five years now, as it was essentially attached to my body for three straight years and saw constant use, and has also traveled the world. This has caused some frustrations recently.

I mentioned a while ago that I am currently working on my first ever book, which recently has been coming together really nicely, in my humble opinion that you can't possible disagree with because you haven't seen the book. And when I found out that Daniel would be out of Palau for three weeks (which I'm referring to as "free daycare"), I thought that these three weeks would be perfect for me to lock myself up in my apartment and do the final writing and finishing touches on this thing.

As if it did it on purpose, less than twelve hours after Daniel left the great nation of Palau, the battery in my laptop completely gave up the ghost. What this means is that in order to keep the stupid thing functioning, I have to be plugged in at all times. And in a country where the power goes out or at least flickers with some unexplainable regularity, this has made writing a book feel a lot like a game of Russian Roulette.

But I was dealing with the battery issue and finding a way to just get by. And then a few days later, the number 9 key stopped working on the laptop's keyboard. Then the O quit. Then the L. And I was getting really freaked out because the disease was approaching the period and I knew I couldn't make it without the period because I. Love. Punctuation. And sure enough, the period then died.

So the other night I sat down at my computer to write for a while and I told myself that I would just type as though the keyboard was working and later I could go in and add all of the Ls, Os, and periods. As it turns out, we use L, O, and period WAY more than I had expected.

So off I went to the electronic store of Palau, where I was sold a new keyboard to attach to my laptop. I was also told that there are no laptop batteries in Palau but Ms. Thang promised that she would totally find out if she could order one and then text me. I haven't heard a word since. Reminds me of my last relationship.

The whole reason I'm telling you any of this has actually nothing to do with my broken laptop. I just wanted to let you know that as I've tarried on in the last couple of weeks THROUGH INSURMOUNTABLE OPPOSITION, I have made great progress and I am almost done writing!

For months I have been writing different chapters and then sending them to Jolyn and Jen for feedback and editing, which they have done, sometimes even inoffensively! Now I have started putting the thing together and editing for flow, etc., and I can't tell you how proud I am feeling about what I've been able to do here. Not to toot my own horn, but I can say that I have been able to more than accomplish what I hoped. AND no animals were harmed in the making of this book!

So I have a question for you all, and I hope I'm not being tacky or foolishly showing my hand in doing so, but I could use some direction on approaching the publishing world. This is a very new thing for me and you all have been so supportive of Stranger that I figure, why not ask the Strangers for their collective knowledge on this?

For a plethora of reasons, I have decided that I don't want to self-publish. And in the last eight months or so, I have had a couple of people from small publishing companies get in touch with me but we have talked no specifics whatsoever. I have only just begun to do my research and I am admittedly still in the dark on this. But I'm wondering if anyone out there has any helpful information on finding a good literary agent or publisher as I move on to the next phase of this process. If so, please shoot me an email (itjustgetsstranger@gmail.com) and I will be forever grateful. If not, just leave a comment about cats or something.

~It Just Gets Stranger

56 comments:

  1. "A common belief says that cats always land on their feet; well they usually do - but not always. A cat can reflexively twist its body and right itself using its acute sense of balance and flexibility. This is known as a cat 'righting reflex'. It always rights itself the same way, provided it has the time to do so during a fall. Certain Cats that don't have a tail are a notable exception, since a cat moves its tail and relies on conservation of angular momentum to set up for landing.

    Like dogs, cats are digitigrades, meaning they walk directly on their toes, the bones of their feet making up the lower part of the visible leg. Cats are capable of walking very precisely, because like all felines they directly register, that is, they place each hind paw (almost) directly in the print of the corresponding forepaw, minimizing noise and visible tracks. This also provides the cat sure footing for their hind paws when they navigate rough terrain."
    Quoted from catfacts.org

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  2. Kitties...

    http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m8esk0eqHr1rrkrxro1_500.jpg

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Pay a little more attention to the last sentence, he said if we did not have any advice/knowledge about publishers/agents then to "leave a comment about cats or something."

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  4. I think it's fairly common that successful bloggers are getting book deals. I suggest you, or a friend with solid internet connection, research from that direction - find some blogs where the writer has published a book; then get in touch with that person and ask them how they did it. Be sure to have your stats (that's how the kids say statistics) on hand - how many FB "likes" do you have; how many read your blog, any awards you've gotten, etc. Have a sample ready to send someone. And definetly follow up with the small publishers - RK Rowling (author of Harry Potter, now worth $900 BILLION) began with a small publishing house. Best of Luck!

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    1. If you don't already follow her, you should: http://thebloggess.com/ is a great blogger whose NON-self-published book, "Let's Pretend This Never Happened; A Mostly-True Memoir" went to the NY Times Bestseller list (and apparently, has taken up residence, refusing to leave). She's really awesome, and she may be able to connect you. You have my permission to tell her I sent you.

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    2. We like to call The Bloggess a friend of Stranger, even though I've never talked to her. I found her because she cited us once when we were sort of just getting started and I've never forgotten that. Her book is hysterical, too.

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    3. Yes, The Bloggess came to mind to me as well. And no pressure or anything Eli but her book was so incredibly funny I could not stop laughing. So I expect the same from YOUR book. Furthermore I will state publicly right here for all the editors/book agents/publisher people perusing these comments that I WILL PAY GOOD MONEY TO READ YOUR BOOK. Oh, yes I will.

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    4. Plus, I have the most beautiful cat in the world, named Napoleon.

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    5. I found you because of her! I would introduce you, but considering she has no idea who I am, it probably wouldn't do you much good. But she's so wonderful (in my mind) and you are so wonderful (I'm assuming) and the fact that your hair looks A-mazing, I would also suggest reaching out to her, if she's not under a table or hiding in a bathroom somewhere. I cannot wait to read the book!

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    6. I agree about the Bloggess. I also know that Samantha Irby, of the extremely profane and extremely funny blog Bitches Gotta Eat, just released a book, called Meaty...can't hurt to drop her a line, right? The problem is most of the bloggers turned published authors that I know are either writing about parenting or cooking, so I don't know if that would help you.

      I don't like cats. I feel like they are judgy.

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  5. Ahh! I can't wait to read! Can I pre-pre-order a copy?!

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    1. Yes. You have to look in the mirror and say "Trixy Meowman" three times. If it works, an image of the Queen of Colors will appear.

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    2. Oh crap that's scary, like bloody Mary to the extreme D: I'd just wait if I were you Lesley...

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  6. Meow, meow! Meow meow meow mewwww, meowmeow. Meow, mew mew. Meow!

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  7. We published a cookbook with Covenant Publishing in Utah, but they do everything. They have been great.

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  8. When I was a kid I had a friend that had a cat. Her cat thought he was a dog. I swear I heard it bark several times. Whenever I stayed the night at her house the cat had to be locked up in a room by itself at night. If you didn't lock it up it would jump from nowhere onto your head while you were sleeping. Most of the night was spent listening to the cat Meark (meow/bark) through the door and being fearful that it would somehow figure out how to open the door and claw my eyes out. I had to stop being her friend because the cat was just too scary. Now my six year old daughter likes to meow like a cat and scares the crap out of me in the middle of the night on a regular basis. I think she's the reincarnated cat.

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  9. More kittens! :)

    http://instagram.com/p/a_1AG4Sn4R/#

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  10. http://www.amazon.com/Literary-Agents-Essential-Writers-Revised/dp/0140268731

    can't wait to read it, eli!

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  11. My son's teacher's brother (wrap your head around that one) published a book and I'll email you the information he gave me. We are from a small little town in Utah about 40 miles from SLC. I was going to turn my sister's (RIP) journals into a book, but it got a little more complicated then I realized. I can't wait to read it!!!

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  12. I'm going to refer you to the movie "Airheads" for inspiration. Good luck!

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  13. Soft kitty,

    Warm kitty,

    Little ball of fur.

    Happy kitty,

    Sleepy kitty,

    Purr Purr Purr

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  14. I spilled a drink on my keyboard once and after a little bit the space bar quit working. Until I got a new keyboard (which I bought within a day or two) I could only type like this: "Guess.what?My.keyboard.spacebar.key.quit.working." Chatting with my sister was difficult.

    Oh and I had a cat once that I named Dum-dum. She was a dumb cat, but I liked her. She got hit by a car after about a year of having her. The name was fitting. :(

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  15. You should have seen my cat sleeping all curled up on the bed this morning before I went to work. So sweet and snuggly! (Not snuggie, just snuggly.) I've never published a book, but I read a lot of books and I'll definitely read yours as long as there's no swearing or sex.

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    Replies
    1. Well there goes chapters 4 through 17!

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    2. Not that he knows what that is, Cathie.

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  16. http://now.msn.com/giant-animals-and-other-things-that-can-be-scary-photos

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  17. I am sure you have that book backed up on an external hard drive? If not, you will be very sorry when that antique you are using to write it on turns into a pile of spare parts - and that can happen very quickly. :- Don't look at me like I have 7 heads....just be carefull! :) Love you, Cathie xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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  18. What's the book about?

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  19. I've heard a lot of good advice on writing and publishing from Writing Excuses. It's a podcast done by a group of successful authors, and they've had some agents and editors on as guests sometimes. Here's a link to one of their agent related episodes:
    http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/01/31/writing-excuses-4-4-agents-do-you-need-one/

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  20. Hey! First off! That outfit! Wow that is fantastic! Second off if you find out anything about publishing can you share that vast and immeasurable knowldege because I am trying to publish stuff too and have absolutely no clue how!

    Also, your hairstyle today makes your eyes pop!

    -Emilie

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  21. I know that Kelle at Kellehampton.com is a published author who started with blogging. She seems like the kind of person who would answer questions/get back to you eventually. Just an idea.

    Good luck! Keep us updated. I've always been interested in this process. But nobody seems to want to share. It's like Fight Club, I think. I don't know. No one talks about it.

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  22. I don't really have anything to say about the whole publishing thing, except share your results please! I'm a writer, but since I'm also a student, I've never really even considered publishing anything yet.
    Also, you look fabulous today. Is that a new shirt, Eli?

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  23. Is the lady at the electronics store really Ms. Thang or are you being a sassypants?

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    1. In a way, isn't everyone Ms. Thang? Except for Sandra Day O'Connor. I thing she is clearly not Ms. Thang.

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    2. Ya, she's Mrs. Thang!! Boom! Born in Texas, grew up on a ranch AND the first female justice of the Supreme Court in 1981?!? How can you not be Mrs. Thang? At least that's what I surmised when I googled her... I'm going to play the Canadian Card. DON'T judge me Eli, who's my Prime Minister!! Hmm?? I'd also like to point out everyone from Texas is sassy. My pastor is from Texas and he is such a sassypants. That's science.

      Ms. Thang is my new favourite Palau..an..ese..ite?

      P.S. This is my recommendation for your book jacket. Trixie Meowman riding on a majestic sea turtle swimming triumphantly of an unconscious Leotrix. Queen of Colours would be flying on some kind of flying contraption. Maybe a paper airplane. I don't know...

      P.P.S You're hair looks nice... so... you should choose that as your book jacket.

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  24. Ann Voskamp at aholyexperience.com, Sarah Bessey at sarahbessey.com, and Glennon Doyle Melton at momastery.com/blog are all three bloggers who have published or are in the process of publishing a book.

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  25. How about Jen Yates from Cakewrecks.com a very funny and lovely lady and a twice published blogger.

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    1. Cakewrecks is the best thing ever! Um...besides Eli o-of course...

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  26. I have the best cat in the world. I may be a little biased but he really is cool. It's too bad that you live so far away because I have let people borrow him to kill rodents. Not even Leotrix would be able to stand up to his feline hunting skills.

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  27. As long as some of your conversations with Daniel are in this book, I will pay any price.

    Get published quick, and come back to the US with signed copies for all your Strangers! I'll be waiting at the airport for sure.

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  28. When LittleMiss is not sleeping she is I the worst trouble ever. I am thinking of changing her name to Pippa. I asked her what she thought and all she said was "Meorererow". What does that mean?

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  29. First of all, I love little ginger kitties. They are the best kind of kitties.
    Second of all, your hair looks great today, Eli. Not that it doesn't look great any other day, but still.
    Thirdly, I'm definitely going to be buying your book when it comes out! I'm looking forward to it :)

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  30. ai·lu·ro·phobe
    [ahy-loor-uh-fohb, ey-loor-]

    noun
    1.
    a person who has an abnormal fear of cats.

    2.
    a person who detests cats.

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  31. Nathan Bransford is a former literary agent who has a blog full of advice and resources on how to land an agent. You should check out his blog: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/

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  32. I always think of cats as girls. I don't know what it is, just all cats are female to me. I don't assume genders for dogs...maybe. Hello Kitty is what started this lie.

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  33. I have sought to publish my daughter's book of zombie quotes...she has a facebook page called "Zombie Attack: A Toddler's Advice". I just found a listing of publishing houses and generally their websites advise you on their submission policy. Some prefer print and others email.
    Still others advise you about literary agents. There is a Facebook page called Literary Underground, I believe, with a collection of authors that support, give advice, edit each other, illustrate for each other, etc. They are a good group...and have a lot of knowledge in the publishing world. Good luck. I think you are a great writer.

    Sincerely,

    Beckie Stroud

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  34. ...sounds like MOST of my relationships...
    I'M SO ALONE!!
    But at least you have your new keyboard to keep you company.

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  35. I am late to the party, but give LitReactor a try. They're full of resources, and highly entertaining. http://litreactor.com/discuss/categories/publishing

    They also do classes and such. Their fb: https://www.facebook.com/litreactor/info

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  36. I just googled 'Cat Facts' and the first thing that popped up was, "Every year, neraly four million cats are eatin in Asia."

    So, um, happy Wednesday...?

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