Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bookfair on Friday

Chugging along through Mancation- where Mike and his friends have gone camping in VT while we all keep the kids at home. It has been a crazy weekend. Lots of fun, and I love having one on one time with the boys, but also exhausting. Mike and I just manage when we're both here, so doing it solo is an interesting experience. A couple of times this weekend I have instituted a why-questions-ban, just to survive.

On Friday James and Sadie had their final day of swimming, then we headed over to Macdonough School for an ice cream social. Because of the new redistricting they have a lot of programs planned this summer to help with the transitioning families. It was book fair time-- and WOW! what a treat. I always loved the bookfair. I remember as a child having to cut my list down from the 'wishlist' to the 'can afford' list. Truly a difficult process. I wanted to shop for myself, but it was difficult. Willy had a tendency to grab everything, and James saw a lot of things he wanted. I was able to pick up the book Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park-- I swear, I DO read books that do not involve insects in any way, but I saw the cover and I grabbed it. Now I want silkworms for our Mulberry tree. Seriously. I will review it when I am finished.

Reading more middle grade is part of my quest to clearly define my genre. Genre confusion is part of the reason I'm querying so widely-- I am not sure if I am YA or Upper Middle Grade. I know that if I am YA I am at the low end, because my main character is the opposite of edgy. At the same time, the crimes are real-- It's not some Scooby Doo version of events-- people die (though its not a gory thing, and the reader is not there for the killing and the body is never described) so I am not sure. My MC is 15, and I also know readers tend to read up, and I'm just not sure what cancels what out.

The other reason I am querying widely is that I am clueless about query strategy. People say you should find an agent that does projects like yours, but they also say you can be rejected by an agent because they already have a similar project. It boggles the mind. I thought on my initial foray into query-land I would just toss a wide net, and based on responses I can make a much more informed decision next time. I can easily remove about 50 from my initial list already, before I query my next book.

I am really getting excited about my second (and third) projects. I am working on a second book with Beatrice-- involving a box of old letters and a ghost. My new project is a mystery-solving boy-- and I like where he's going already (which is pretty much straight into the Okefenokee).

1 comment:

  1. Ok first off- I LOVE LOVE LOVE my school's book fairs. It's pretty much the high light of my year. I love walking around them and see what the kids gravate to. (Mostly it's non fiction Believe it or Not sort of books.)

    Queries-Once you send to an agent you can not query them again for the same project.

    Research the agents that do your genre.

    Make a list of agents who you would like to work with, for whatever reason.

    Prioritize your list.

    Pick like 2 out of your top 5, 3 from your top 10 and 5 from your top twenty-- so you're sending out no more then 10 queries at a time.

    If you get all form rejections, go back and rewrite your query letter.

    Try again but this time, you still haven't used up all the "good" agents on the first round.

    Go to a conference, meet up with an agent, and use that in the query letter.

    PERSONALIZE every letter.

    Let them know you care.

    This process really works- my first book I did this and I sent out 24 queries and got 6 requests for material... as it turned out my material sucked-- because I rushed it out. But the query was great.

    Lastly, go off and write something new.

    NEVER Stop writing.

    I'm a mom of a 2 and half year old. I started writing my second novel while I was pregnant with her. When she was 1 I wrote my third novel. Now I'm writing my fourth. I will start querying in the fall for my second novel.

    It takes time, practice and patience.

    Good news- the only one who is putting pressure on you, is you.

    Good luck and I hope this helped a little bit.


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