Available on Amazon.
Upon completion of “Magpie in August,” my debut novel, I began submitting to the literary agents I had researched (authors who want to go for traditional publishing should always research literary agents and houses before sending query letters). Omitting all of the uninteresting details, I received four “close, but no cigar” responses, thirteen flat out passes, and additionally, a dozen or so no responses (it is not uncommon that an agent passes on a manuscript via no response).
So, doing the math, I only submitted to about 30 literary agents. I’ve heard of writers submitting to hundreds over a period of two or three years. That’s balls to the wall tenacity, folks—some hard core patience. Patience is not a virtue of mine. After I’d crossed out every agent that made up my list, I began submitting to small presses. Out of eleven, I received one request for my full manuscript.
Don’t tap the keg yet. This small press ended up closing shop. Thank fuck I hadn’t signed a contract with them. Imagine the shit storm…
Admittedly, in the beginning I was a fucking snob who never entertained the thought of settling for indie author status. But then, I discovered some incredible talent here on WordPress—writers who self-publish—and I was blown the fuck away by their craft. For real, in total awe of these people. So, I looked into self-publishing (authors who want to self-publish should always research the avenues, of which there are many, since self-publishing is BOOMING for tons of reasons that I see as obvious).
Two months after “Magpie in August” was released through Amazon, one of the literary agents I’d had a boner for sent me an email. She apologized for the late response, which had come a goddamned year after I’d queried her, and said that although she was interested in “Magpie,” she couldn’t represent me because I’d already self-published—but please do query her with any future manuscripts. I didn’t know whether to laugh, or cry.
I chose to suck it up, and keep on writing. I self-published a book of poems and prose recently, and I’m proud as fuck of the collection. I’m currently finishing up my second novel, which I fully intend to publish all by myself. I’m proud to be an indie author. And I am super fucking fortunate to have a partner in Allane, who takes such care and pride in designing my book covers.
Someday, I may shoot for traditional publishing again. But for now, I am beyond happy to have cover designs created by the designer I want, and to have the ultimate say regarding content editing. I never was one to follow the rules handed down by others anyway.
Peace out, my friends
Though fiction is my truest passion, I do love writing foul-mouthed social commentary–mostly because I love swear words and my (highly esteemed) opinions in equal measure. Ha!
But for realz, I love writing. Always have. I was the majorus dorkus in school who enjoyed crafting bodacious term papers after spending obscene hours researching the goddamn Encyclopedia Britannica in the school library. Yes, I’m that fucking old. I remember my freshman year in high school, in information technology class, setting up a free yahoo email account. That’s back when internet was ALL dial-up. Oh, the madness! It took forever for dick pics to download. Gawd!
So, most of you know I am proudly writing for an LGBT magazine out of Columbus, Ohio called The Bridge Magazine. The Bridge is unbiased. I am an open-minded person. An open-minded person with opinions. Sometimes I want to call a spade a motherfucking spade. You feel? But writing for this magazine has reigned in this bitch. Writing for this magazine is challenging. Writing for this magazine is a privilege. Being invited to join The Bridge has proven to be a great gift.
I put up a fight so brilliant, I won–I finished my first novel. Now I’m fighting for my second; only 25,000 words deep, and I’m already considering a pretty major reconstruction. This decision, I never make lightly, mostly because I have trouble letting go of the “perfect.” Perfect scenes, perfect dialogue, perfect character motivation. I know this struggle is not mine alone.
I have developed my own set of writing rules–four little rules that don’t leave a bitter taste in my mouth.
- Use my editor brain to make those difficult decisions.
- Never delete ANYTHING–save the cut-outs in separate folders.
- Listen to my characters, but show them who’s boss when they need a kick in the ass.
My destiny was revealed to me in the third grade when my short story entry, My Pet Dinosaur won the gold ribbon in the district wide writing contest. Lapeer County is a large district, with three rural elementary schools; at Elba, I was a celebrity, having beaten every single third grade competitor in my county. Imagine the blow to my ego when as a fourth grader, my entry earned me an ugly, generic red ribbon–third place. I was crushed. I cried all day, and my classmates laughed because I had gotten just what I deserved for being such a narcissistic bitch.
My tenth grade creative writing teacher didn’t like me. He thought my subject matter was “too adult” and my language was unnecessarily “Jane Austen-ish.” That son-of-a-bitch had probably never read one full page of an Austen novel. I choked on C grades all semester. For one project, I wrote a screenplay about a teenage girl contemplating suicide. I was called to his desk, and he explained that because it was technically well written, he wouldn’t give me an F. Fuuuhhh…
College comp was the best. Because I was the best again. Mr. Awesome Guy Who Knows A Thing Or Twelve told me so after the last day of class had ended. He was always boasting about how difficult it was to earn a final grade of A+ in his class. I was the only student who did that term.
In my early twenties, I was hot and heavy with a dude called Fantasy; my favorite author being Terry Brooks–gaahhh! Because of Brooks’ Shannara series, I’d decided I wanted to write a fantasy novel. I didn’t have a computer, so I began writing a manuscript old-school style. I filled three giant notebooks before I was given an outdated IBM ThinkPad. It was during the process of transferring my 100% unique fantasy manuscript to the computer that I realized my story was totally derivative of The Elfstones of Shannara. Damn it!
In my late twenties, a friend convinced me to join Myspace–I had a big girl computer by that point. First, I called myself Polythene Pam, then later Pammy Pamtastico! My blog was bangin’ with subscribers. I composed shitty poetry, ranted about everything under the sun, moon, and stars; comedy and satire were my M.O. Then Myspace became the loser on the playground, and I moved to Facebook with all of the mature, boring people.
I’m in my late thirties now, and writing is as awesome a bitch as ever. And I love her more than I ever have because every setback ultimately builds me up bigger and better. I have a completed novel currently being read by a publisher, about half of my next novel (which will be part of a series of three) finished, and Santa’s bag full of ideas for future manuscripts.
To all of you future novelists out there: believe in yourself, believe in your words, and never stop.